(Other possible names for this post from Twitter: “Asgard as it Gets”, “Fear and Loki in Las Vegas”, and “How Stella Götterdämmerung Back”.)
As anyone who’s been paying attention can see, we’ve got a slew of comic book movies this year. From the obvious (X-Men: First Class, Captain America, Green Lantern) to the less obvious (Dylan Dog, Priest), to the debatable (Green Hornet, Conan the Barbarian). And we can’t tackle everything worth saying about them in the comic, so we turn to our often forgotten blog section! More thoughts (but no spoilers) behind the jump.
“Thor” was always going to be the toughest sell for the Marvel movies, but they went at the property with balls wide open (that’s the expression, right?) and sell it they did. With a script that seamlessly connects the Earth and Asgard scenes, a cast that nails each and every role, and truly epic action scenes, Branagh takes a concept that could have looked ridiculous if half-assed (the FF movies spring to mind) and turns in a movie with the perfect mix of reality and the fantastic.
Speaking of the cast, Chris Hemsworth has a helluva career ahead of him. His Thor runs the gamut from arrogant to charming to heartbreakingly devastated, without it ever feeling like he’s bending to the will of the plot. Tom Hiddleston made me care about Loki for the first time in…well, ever, with a truly nuanced performance that had me constantly guessing what his real intentions were. At the core of all his lies and schemes in this movie is the tiniest presence of a legitimately good point, making the character more compelling and more dangerous. Anthony Hopkins…who, let’s face it, can be a little overly “Anthony Hopkins” at times…pulls back just the right amount.
Natalie Portman is…well, she’s very pretty. But characterwise, I actually felt myself liking Stellan Skarsgård more. Frankly, they could have easily nixed Kat Denning (I’m sorry, Kat, I still love you!) and given her best lines to Portman, rounding out the Jane Foster character a bit.
Idris Elba nearly steals the whole damn show as Heimdall, and will leave you despairing at the thought of how many people didn’t want him to get the part. Sif and the Warriors Three are great as well. (I’m tired of looking up real names and I’m running out of adjectives) If I had to nitpick, Volstagg and Hogun weren’t quite as voluminous and grim as I’d like, respectively. Fandral was sufficiently dashing.
Every movie has a couple of negatives, even the good ones, and this was no exception. The love story feels a little rushed. There was definite chemistry between Thor and Jane, I just didn’t believe it’d get that far that fast. In fact, the entire third act felt a bit rushed, like they’d been taking their time and having fun and suddenly realized, “Oh shit, we need to end!” So the love story, the fate of the SHIELD agents, and the battles against the Destroyer and Loki all seem a BIT truncated for time. In retrospect, though, I’ve decided that last one is forgivable. Without going into too much detail, the climax of the movie rests less on the power of Thor’s fists and more on a moral choice he has to make, which I actually think is pretty cool.
“Thor” is a more than worthy entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or whatever they’re calling it. Better than “Incredible Hulk” and “Iron Man 2” for sure (not that I disliked either of them, but they had more problems). I’d give the top spot to “Iron Man”, but it’s close. And the franchise potential is incredibly strong. Now that most of the high concepts of Thor’s universe have been carefully fed to the mainstream audience, a foundation has been laid that will allow the sequels to go batshit crazy with the otherworldly stuff without making them tune out.
As always, stay through the credits for the obligatory easter egg scene. This one gives us the clearest idea yet of what “The Avengers” is going to be about. And if you’ve been following the “Captain America” spoilers, it gives a little hint about that one, too.
But enough of me babbling. What did you all think? Feel free to go into detail; just cause I left spoilers out of the review doesn’t mean they need to be left out of the comments.