Movie Review: THOR (2011) – The Weak Link Of The Marvel Cinematic Universe
So I missed the boat with all the summer reviews of the comic book movies. I am aware. Regardless… let’s do this thang!!
The last couple of years, Marvel movies is applying the way characters and story lines converge and intersect in comics, to their movies. By introducing characters in solo hero movies like Iron Man & The Hulk, the trend continues this summer with THOR and CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER. Along with their intros, each movie contained other set ups and sub plots that will all connect in the final film of the franchise, with all the characters returning for THE AVENGERS in 2012.
To this end, THOR was crucial to the franchise. So I expected some awesome-ness from THOR, especially when it was being directed by Kenneth Branagh.
Rating: 2 Out Of 5 Stars
So, for filler, lemme do a quick background on Thor and the world in which he lives. He’s a God. (which makes other ‘superheroes’ that ally with him, look kinda pussy to be honest.) Thor is a brash and arrogant God of Thunder who is banished from his world (Asgard) by his Dad for being a dick. No, really. (In the comics Daddy does this by puting Thor into a human body, without his power or memories, and Thor eventually reclaims his power. But that’s way too complicated for the Hollywood machine.) So he’s banished to Earth where he meets and lives among humans for a while, learns humility and compassion. During his time on Earth, Thor changes and becomes a nicer guy, even redeeming himself in the eyes of his father, who lifts his banishment. However, going native, Thor decides to remain on Earth to protect its people as he admires their courage and determination.
(For more on Thor’s origins and recent Comic entanglements, see this:)
Pretty simple and routine and a great story to be adapted into the big screen. Add to the fact that he’s one of the founding members of The Avengers, and you’ve got a big part of Marvel’s shared movie-verse. However, things end up really different and very convoluted in the film itself.
I gotta warn everyone, this is a VERY Spoilerific review/rant. Proceed with caution.
In the beginning, the scenes of Thor in Asgard, were really nothing more than establishing sequences that set up the story, the character of Thor, where he comes from, etc. Essentially showing us the cocky Thor and his how impulsive-ness almost starts a war with some Ice creatures that his Dad had a truce with years ago. Due to this, Thor is stripped of his powers and banished to Earth, never realizing that it was all a massive plot by his younger brother Loki to inherit the throne himself. Not much of a twist though, it’s pretty apparent from the first act itself.
No shortage of Gold eh…
After his banishment is where the arrogant Thor learns humility and selfless-ness. In the film, that is shown by some intended-to-be funny scenes between Chris Hemsworth being the fish out of water on Earth, and the crew of scientists that find him. Thor’s experiences on Earth are limited to an awesome fight scene where he tries to reclaim his weapon, the hammer Mjolnir, a drunken bar scene and a supposedly romantic night under the stars with Natalie Portman and Bang!! Thor becomes a nice guy. That’s it.
There is little to no reasoning as to why Thor changes. Nothing of what he experiences that profoundly impacts him enough to decide to save and protect the people of Earth, seemingly out of nowhere. Even his acceptance of remaining on Earth isn’t out of choice, but more out of news from his brother, that he can never actually return to his own home. I think that completely ruins the redeeming nature of the protagonist, as his transformation isn’t out of true self realization, but helplessness.
To me that severely destroys the motivation for the character to be a vanguard of a world he appreciates, but rather a guy who’s just making the best of what was handed to him. Especially considering Thor takes off for Asgard as soon as he realizes he actually can return home. No, really.
For this movie, the aspects of Thor’s story that would’ve seemed extremely difficult to adapt into a live action, (Gods, other realms, Viking based outfits, ice creatures, etc) all were done very elegantly by director Kenneth Branagh and his team. Even the switching between Asgard and their almost Shakespearean speech and Earth with its crude and crass way of doing things were handled brilliantly. Unfortunately all things involving the transitions and special effects were very well done, however the thing of most importance, character development and story, fell completely flat.
What’s worse, is that the end of the film, (all of a sudden) focuses on the intense love between Portman’s Foster character and Thor, which again, was never developed properly throughout the film. There’s one cliche’d starry night by a fire scene, and that’s apparently enough to cause such love that it ‘transcends realms’. I call severe bullshit on that.
This one was a massive wreck. And not due any of the technical elements of the film, but more the standard stuff like the story and script. You know, the little things. A lot didn’t make sense. No development whatsoever on the titular character. As was expected if THOR sucked, my excitement for the two remaining Marvel films, have been somewhat dampened. Here’s hoping that CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER changes that, and from what I’ve heard, it just may. (Yea… I’m pretty behind…)
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