“Thor”, Marvel Entertainment’s latest chapter in their big “Avengers” movie build-up, opens in theaters today with much of the buzz and hype one has come to expect from these Marvel movies in recent years, but will it be able to live up to that hype?
For those not familiar with the character, Thor and his cast of supporting Asgardian characters are loosely based on the gods from Norse Mythology and more specifically characters featured in Marvel’s comic book universe. Thor, considered the god of Thunder, is the son of the All-Father Odin and one of the founding members of the Avengers. In this particular movie, Thor is a fairly young man (young at least in terms of immortal gods) who is impulsive and eager to do battle with anyone who might threaten his father’s kingdom Asgard, a mythical realm located somewhere in the distant heavens and home to all Norse gods. As the movie opens, events transpire that prompt Thor to go on the offensive against a race of Frost Giants, another race of beings who at one time were at war with Odin and the Asgardians but now enjoy a somewhat uneasy and often contentious truce (mainly because Odin defeated them and took their source of power during the great war). Thor’s actions bring Asgard back to the brink of war and anger Odin who banishes Thor to Earth without any powers as punishment. Of course not everything is as it seems as Thor’s half-brother Loki, the god of Mischief, is behind the scenes manipulating things for his own ends.
Marvel’s first movie to be released in 3D takes us from the majestic halls of Asgard to the deserts of New Mexico and is filled with both hits and misses. If you are a fan of the Thor comic books and the characters in them, I think you will find a lot to like about this movie. The casting is near perfect and the actors do a wonderful job of bringing these comic-based mythological characters to the big screen. When watching Anthony Hopkins play Odin on the big screen, I almost forget I am watching a movie and not reading the comics. Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Tom Hiddleston (Loki) also do great jobs with their characters. The costumes and overall look and feel of Asgard were pretty dead-on to that which you see in the comics. Though some of the special effects come off a little flat (especially in the opening battle scene with the Asgardians and Frost Giants), I thought others were truly breathtaking, like those of Asgard and the scenes on the Rainbow Bridge.
Where I think the movie falls a little flat is during Thor’s time on Earth. I understand the need for this portion of the movie when you consider that the writers are trying to establish new characters, tell a compelling story, and continue to lay the groundwork for the upcoming Avengers movie first foreshadowed in the Iron Man and Hulk movies. Unfortunately, I think portions of this movie have fallen into the same trap as Iron Man 2: trying to do too many things with too little time. For instance, I felt the relationship between the Jane Foster character (Natalie Portman) and Thor came off very rushed as did the whole appearance of S.H.I.E.L.D. In fact, the movie seems to make the assumption that you have seen the Iron Man movies and already know who Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) and these guys are, because there is very little explanation in this movie about them and what they are about. Some of the fight scenes on Earth also came off a bit rushed, especially the big battle between Thor and The Destroyer.
All that said, I still enjoyed the movie even though Thor is probably my least favorite of the main Avenger characters. If I was a huge Thor fan, I probably would have come out thinking this was the best Marvel movie I ever saw. If you haven’t seen Iron Man 2, you may want to rent that one before going to see Thor, but if you are a Thor fan or just want to see the next chapter building up to the Avengers then you will definitely want to go check this one out.
Oh and like with all these Marvel movies, make sure you stay through till the end of the credits for a bonus scene.