daniel cohen reviews the No. 1 movie in america …
Plot: After disobeying his father (Anthony Hopkins), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is cast out of the powerful realm of Asgard, losing his power and throne, forever exiled to Earth. Thor befriends a group of scientists as he tries to take back his hammer and retrieve his power while his mischievous brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) takes over the throne on Asgard.
Thor is indeed the God of Thunder. This movie rocks! Why does it rock? Director Kenneth Branagh managed to take potentially silly and ridiculous material and translate it into something pretty damn cool. Think about it: We’ve got a film where there’s a giant portal to other realms, dimensions, and all kinds of other crazy crap going on. It sounds like a terrible Saturday morning cartoon, but Branagh really takes this seriously, and the fact that we buy it is the true brilliance of the film. This is like Lord Of The Rings meets Star Trek. If that doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will.
It also helps that the sets of these fantastical worlds look fricking gorgeous. You may think I’m off my rocker, but these buildings and set pieces looked more impressive than the settings in Avatar. Yea, I said it. Avatar is a big forest with some waterfalls. This is a vast and spectacular kingdom of awesomeness. It was mesmerizing to watch the portals open up at the gate with all these realms. The bridge that leads to that room is probably the most interesting set piece in the movie. It looked like a bad ass and darker version of Rainbow Road in Mario Kart.
Branagh also gets great performances out of all these actors. The language and tone of the scenes in Asgard are Shakespearean-esque, and Branagh is the king when it comes to not making that sound dry and boring. He’s also blessed with some really good actors.
The supporting characters are all superb, which is an element that is missing from a lot of these Marvel films like Iron Man and Incredible Hulk. Anthony Hopkins as King Odin … it’s Anthony Hopkins. What else is there to say? All of Thor’s battle buddies on Asgard are fun and likable. Tom Hiddleston is really interesting as Loki, Thor’s brother. You have no idea what he’s thinking, but his facial expressions are always compelling. He possesses a lot of weird powers that could have been explained better, but they are still cool nonetheless.
I’m very happy Natalie Portman was in this, because I think the Jane Foster character, Thor’s human love interest, was written really weak, but she elevates the material. It’s not the most well developed character in the world, but she’s likable, driven, and funny. You buy the chemistry between her and Thor.
Speaking of Thor, as good as everyone is in this film, Chris Hemsworth absolutely steals the show. There’s an early scene where he’s arguing with Odin, and he out acts Anthony Hopkins! He has total command of this character. His charisma is dripping out of the screen. They didn’t just hit a home run with this casting … it was a game-winning grand slam.
Hemsworth is funny when he needs to be, too, and the humor in general is enjoyable, never getting campy. The comic relief of Kat Dennings’ character Darcy hits every joke she delivers.
The action sequences are damn good, which is most apparent the first time we see Thor battle. Thor just goes nuts. He does everything you could possibly think of with that hammer. And when he gets it back again later, it’s a pretty heart pounding moment.
Unfortunately ,the movie could have used more action. It’s never boring or anything, but the middle is lacking in just pure action. I’ll say this, though: The movie is almost two hours, but it flies by. The climax does not disappoint.
Thor is a great kick off to the summer. The only weird thing about it is that even though it’s a stand alone film, because its part of this Avengers build up, it almost feels like a sequel to something. The Avenger stuff is definitely not as forced here though like it is in Iron Man 2. And as always with these movies, remember kids: Stay after the credits.
One other little warning I want to put out there: Do not see this in 3D. It makes the movie look darker and the action harder to follow. I’m not the first person to rant about this. I can’t wait to see this again in normal 2D. I am officially done with 3D.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10 (Really Great)