Howdy ladies and gentlemen, its film review time once again and with the release of Thor: The Dark World just around the corner I thought I’d give you my thoughts on its predecessor, Thor. Now I’m just gonna say this upfront, I love this film, I saw it 5 times in the cinema! If that doesn’t say enough about my love for this film, then let me elaborate in this review. So here we go!
So story-wise the film is about our main character Thor, god of thunder who happens to defy the rule of his father, Odin and because of his defiance Odin strips him of his powers and banishes him to Earth. While banished, his evil brother Loki takes over their home and has some questionable dealings with the enemy known as the Frost Giants. Over the course of the movie Thor has to learn the lesson of humility to gain his powers back through his interaction with humans and stop Loki from causing havoc to the world of Asgard.
The story is pretty good overall, though it has problems. The film deals with cause and effect, redemption and change, honour and family, and these issues are tackled in a thoughtful and spectacular fashion. I loved the focus on the relationships between Thor and Loki, and Thor and Odin, at the end of the day this is a film about family ties and how important they are. In addition to that I really liked the dialogue too, how it had a very Shakespearean vibe and there were some really beautiful, humourous and memorable lines. Obviously there were a great deal of aspects from the comics that were changed and for better or worse they’re now part of in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I believe most of the updates feels realistic, fresh and approachable for by both comic and casual audiences. That being said there are problems with the story in terms of pacing, uninteresting scenes on Earth when related to Asgard and obviously the not so believable relationship between Thor and Jane, which was materialized over a few days rather than a longer period of time. But other than those issues its impressive how the filmmakers crammed several years of comic book history is into this film.
As for the cast who’re all really great and add a lot of realism to this sci-fi/god-like story. Let’s start with the Asgardians. Firstly Chris Hemsworth is fantastic as Thor, he does a great balancing act between being larger than life, arrogant and aggressive, but also adds subtly, charm and drama to his performance.And then there’s Tom Hiddleston who does an equally great performance a Loki. This adaptation is more reletable because he is misunderstood and misguided, that in turn makes us feel for him and come to terms with his transition into darkness and evil. Hiddleston added some more remorseful aspects to the character and his transition to evil is portrayed well, though I wish he’d been a bit more sinister, but otherwise he was fabulous. Anthony Hopkins as Odin was as expected really cool, Odin was such a strong, imposing, yet caring character and I loved his speeches and aura. Hopkins already had the tools to portray the character effectively and he was so cool. The Warriors Three (Volstagg, Fandral and Hogun) played by Ray Stevenson, Joshua Dallas and Tadanobu Asano were delightful, they were all interesting, quirky and pretty awesome on and off of the battlefield. While I primarily know about them from Hulk Vs. Thor and my Wikipedia research, overall they seemed to be depicted pretty well though I wish they had more screen time.
Jaimie Alexander as Lady Sif was great too, she was gorgeous and knew how to handle herself in battle, again like The Warriors Three I wish she had more screen time but she was still fun to watch. Idris Elba as Heimdall was very good too, I really wasn’t sure what to expect because this was very far removed from Elba’s standard line of work, but he did well, though some of his words were a bit hard to comprehend at times. Rene Russo as Frigga did a nice job well in the film too, although she was severely underused and I wish she’d had more screen time. Okay, now let’s talke about the human characters. Natalie Portman as Jane Foster was decent, Jane was good for the first half of the film and had nice chemistry between her and Thor, however I didn’t buy into her like her relationship with Thor. Firstly I find it hard to believe that someone as pretty as her would find it so hard to find love, and secondly I the time that she and Thor spent together was FAR too short for her to go from an infuation to all out love, more time wasneeded for that relationship to grow as it kind of felt forced towards the end of the film. Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig was pretty good too, can’t really fault him. And Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis was good too, she had some funny dialogue and was also very beautiful. 😀 And finally it was so great to see Clark Gregg back as Agent Coulson, he had some great scenes and dialogue and by that point he’d definitely become more of an interesting character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
When it comes to the presentation of Thor it is pretty good. Visually the film was very pretty with lovey art direction,good CGI, great costume design and nice cinematography. The visual effects were handled by BUF and Digital Domain, and they crafted some great gorgeous stuff, from the space worlds of Asgard and Jotunheim to the Frost Giants, Destroyer Armour and battle sequences, it was pretty awesome. The travelling sections via the Bifrost Bridge is some of the coolest stuff I’ve seen on-screen for some time (the first time it’s like, “Wow! FRIGGING AWESOME!!”). That being said the world of Asgard seemed a tad empty outside of the main hall and one had to wonder where all of the residents were haha. There also seemed to be a lack of sharpness and clarity in certain sections and I feel a studio like Industrial Light & Magic would have been a better choice for tackling the VFX, but still overall the film looked good.
The action sequences in the film was handled in an effective manner too, with most characters getting decent screen time. The action was shot wonderfully with lots of quick cuts and a variety of camera shots. I loved how Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir was depicted as it demonstrated a lot of different techniques especially with the spinning attacks which I wasn’t expecting to make it into the movie at all. The lightning effects were good and even Thor’s flying ability looked well portrayed too. Loki’s action on-screen was pretty good with a lot more physical combat with a staff, though I wish he had done more magic-based attacks. Everybody else have good fight scenes from the Warriors Three to Sif, from their battle with the Frost Giants to the attack on the Destroyer Armour. One thing that does bug me is the fact the first battle with the Frost Giants is the best one and everything that follows afterwards never quite reach that same level of greatness. Also the soundtrack crafted by Patrick Doyle was pretty great, it epic, dramatic and can go from being really powerful to being quite small and emotional. It really elevates whatever is happening on-screen and hits all the right notes for all the key scenes
So in conclusion I liked Thor a lot, it was a grand film with a good story, great characters, good action and a decent soundtrack. While there are some notable problems with the story, pacing and action, the film laid out the groundwork for these characters and other comic aspects to be incorporated into the sequel. Kenneth Branagh must be commended for taking what seemed to be an impossible task and making it feesable for comic book fans and casual audiences. A lot of people hate on Thor but I reckon its one of the better Phase 1 films, I recommend it and I can’t wait to be blown away by The Dark World (hopefully)!
Rating: 8/10 (It really was one of my favourite superhero films of recent years)
So what did you think of Thor? Whatever your thoughts, drop in the comments below and come back to this blog in the next few days for my review of Thor: The Dark World! Laters yo! 😀