Directed By: Kenneth Branagh
Written by: Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Don Payne
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins
Studio: Marvel, Paramount
Written By: Thomas Braaksma
Marvel’s Thor has never quite seen the popularity or had such a creative force behind him since the Golden Age of comics with Stan Lee and Jack Kirby at the helm. Though it is safe to say after this year’s theatrical release of Thor, the Norse god might work his way into the hearts of a large number of new and rejuvenated fans. Thor starts off a summer blockbuster season with a bang, and leaves a pretty hard act to follow.
In recent years, Thor hasn’t really been as mainstream of a character as Spider-Man or the X-Men, but like Iron Man movie before Thor, the film should open up a huge following to this character.
The film follows as a type of origin story to how Thor (Chris Hemsworth) came to Earth, and how his brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), turns down a darker, less noble path. Thor is presented in 3D, but in no way does it add to the film. If anything, at times the 3D distracts from the action and comedy woven throughout the film.
The film’s comedic approach to the subject matter ends up being one of the strongest parts of the film. As Chris Hemsworth pointed out at Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo earlier this year, the humor was a huge part in the process of the film.
Hemsworth pulls off a flawlessly hilarious performance of how a god trapped on Earth might act in the general public. This scenario leads to a handful of goofy parts and great one-liners. Co-stars Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings hold their own comedic weight as the team of struggling scientists that find Thor, each adding their own touch to the film’s comedy.
The comedy definitely doesn’t overshadow what the film really is, though. Thor is a big-budget superhero movie. Half of the film takes place on Thor’s home realm of Asgard and the other half after he has been cast down to Earth by his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Asgard is beautifully depicted as a mix of a futuristic kingdom with a heavy Viking influence. It is a great interpretation and sets the scene for some of the best action scenes.
Thor’s enemies the Frost Giants were one of the only things that hurt the film a little bit. Though there is a great action scene involving them, their lackluster interpretation on the screen hurts their presence in the movie. Conversely, Thor’s armor and the rest of the costumes in the film are convincing and rarely come across silly.
Thor ends up being a great follow-up to the highly successful Iron Man franchise and a promising look at what the upcoming Avengers movie will yield. The Avengers is heavily promoted throughout the film, with S.H.I.E.L.D. playing a big part in the story. Clark Gregg once again reprises the role of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Coulson.
Thor can stand its own as one of the greats in the superhero genre. It is a perfect mix of action and comedy, and a great interpretation of an under-appreciated classic Marvel character. Just disregard the 3D glasses and see it in 2D this time around.
For more information, http://thor.marvel.com
Pads & Panels received entry into an early screening of the film courtesy of the studio for review purposes.