Thor

Amidst a torrent  of  electrical sparks and the U.S.S. Kelso crumbling around him,

George Kirk was the captain of a starship for twelve minutes and managed to name his

son Jim just before sacrificing himself to save 800 lives. He was blonde, had short hair

and the movie was J.J. Abrams reboot of Star Trek. This incredibly brave crewmember

was played by Chris Hemsworth – the mighty Thor.

Unlike his relatively transient role as captain James Kirk’s father, Hemsworth gets

to exercise more of his dramatic skills as Marvel’s Norse god of thunder. Thor may not

be as well known as Spiderman, Captain America or the Hulk, but the Melbourne na-

tive’s rugged good looks coupled with a six pack that Tobey Maguire had to acquire for

the webslinger, is more than sufficient to introduce a hero some of our younger genera-

tion may never had heard of.

“Smilin’” Stan Lee (who once again has a brief cameo) and Marvel partners  Larry

Leiber and Jack Kirby, created Thor in 1962. The character enjoyed basic merchandising

as well as a 1966 animated series I remember watching. Notwithstanding , he seems to

have faded into obscurity. Until now.

Before we see Thor in  all of his armored regalia sans hammer, he’s dressed in

“earthly” attire,  thundering (no pun intended) down a tornadic worm hole, landing ,or

really crashing in the middle of the New Mexico desert. He staggers to his feet a bit

confused. But no more baffled than the three scientists who nearly run him over.

They include Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster, a beautiful, intrepid astrophysicist de-

termined to prove that other worlds exist beyond our own; her slightly impatient assis-

tant Darcy played by Kat Dennings; and the skeptical Dr. Eric Selvig rendered by Mama

Mia’s Stellan Skarsgard. They were simply waiting for an aurora to show up and got

more in return.  As the trio rush to Thor’s aid, Darcy’s query “Where did he come

from?”, immediately catapults us into flashback and the incredible world of Asgard,

past and present.

In the present, a formal celebration akin to William and Kate’s royal wedding is

taking place as Thor is about to succeed his father Odin as king. Unfortunately the past

catches up with them when the ceremony is rudely interrupted by an invasion from their

old “friends”, the frost giants.

Despite his father’s express wishes to keep the peace, the impetuous Thor, along with

loyal compardres Hogun, Volstagg, Fandral and Lady Sif, retaliates, reignites a war,

incurs the wrath of the king and is cast out (or should I say down)to our planet for some

humility training. Like the fifth commandment, he should have honored his father.

Any fan (including yours’ truly ) of the Marvel movie franchises would’ve expected

mainstay directors like Bryan Singer or Jon Favreau to be chosen for a 150 million dollar

production. The choice of Kenneth Branagh was not only different, but apparently right.

Drawing from his Shakespearian roots, he was able to segue a classic, epic Norse history

into the present and still preserve all the traditions that make Thor so unique.

Story and script were a tremendous help. Too many writers spoiling the screenplay

thankfully does not apply here. All five, including Babylon Five alum J. Michael Stra-

zynski, make a gallant, although not perfect ,effort to ensure that there’s drama , comedy

and romance amongst the characters. The latter especially when earthlings and Asgardi-

ans meet for the first time.

Obligatory use of state of the art f/x is a must, but nothing without a great cast to

grant justification. Natalie Portman achieves a hilarious chemistry with Dennings, Skars-

gard and Chris Hemsworth in a comic relief that will have you laughing out loud. Tom

Hiddleston is perfectly duplicitous as brother Loki, Rene Russo, whom we have not seen

in awhile, is a decidedly good mom, although I would’ve like to have seen a little more

of her, and anything the inimitable Sir Anthony Hopkins is cast in is naturally elevated to

A status.

I’m not sure exactly, where this god of thunder is going (we will see him again in

The Avengers next year), as an ongoing franchise. They did leave an opening for a sequel,

so if Marvel has their act in place, they could bring Thor out of the depths of haziness

and into the ranks of their most popular heroes.

2 thoughts on “Thor”

  1. I do appreciate the short yet effective piece from the movie Star Trek to give us a little insight in the actor that does play Thor. As parts that actors have played in the past can often be reflected on parts they do in the present. But from that opening it dips in your review as you are rushing through actors, events and emotions in the text. It’s hard to keep up and even harder understanding what the movie is about exactly. Some more structure and more emphasis on the intro of the film would help a lot.

    Also I would like to see a reference to the Norse mythology and if the movie or the Thor franchise take that into consideration. I personally hate what they have turned the Norse mythology into and how the disrespect the mythology as a whole. Also as this movie was shown in 3D at some at most theaters you could mention if the 3D was used at all or if the glasses was just in the way. I didn’t appreciate the movie as much as you do but we all have our own opinions right. But you have some great ideas with this review, keep it up.

  2. I also think this movie is overrated. Not at all to discourage you from writing reviews as I found your review to be very good and well thought out. I somehow kept waiting for something to happen throughout the movie. Meaning, I did not think the movie was very well finished. There should have been more meaningful filler scenes, perhaps showing more ways that Thor became more humble. I don’t know, that’s just what I thought. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion as Kindh said…

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