Monday, May 09, 2011


The second film of the Summer is upon us and it looks like it's on it's way to a strong 66 million for Mother's Day weekend. I did try ever so valiantly to take my lady for Mother's Day to see Thor, but she would have none of it. Chris Hemsworth's pecks were not enough to get her to the cineplex, I had to see it by myself late on Friday. But no worries on that score, I've been eagerly anticipating this one as well as Captain America: The First Avenger which comes out July 22nd. Being a fan of comics and Marvel specifically, the hiring of Shakespeare obsessed Kenneth Branagh to direct was a very smart move, and even before I saw any footage, I had a feeling that this was going to hit all the right notes. Once I finally saw the trailers though I was hooked, it looked great and it seemed like they fixed the problem of blending a mythical magical storyline into the hyper-reality of the Marvel Universe. Ever since I saw Chris Hemsworth in his brief but memorable role as Captain Kirk's daddy in Star Trek I was intrigued about this guy that made me believe he was the leading man in a film I absolutely knew he wasn't. I kept saying to my wife, "who the hell is this guy, I want to see what happens when this guy is given his opportunity at the center stage?" Looks like I got my answer, and given the strong showing at the box office it seems to be holding true.
The Norse God of Thunder, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) are tasked by their father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) to guard the 9 Realms of the Universe and keep the peace with their mortal enemy the Frost Giants and their evil King Laufey (voice: Colm Feore), who had attempted to take over the other realms especially Midgard or Earth. But his forces were defeated by Odin and the bad King's power cube was taken away from him so that he may never use it for evil again. Thor, because of his vein and arrogant nature provokes another war with the Frost Giants putting the 9 Realms in danger once more. Odin is of course pissed and banishes his son to Earth and strips him of his Godlike power which resides in his mighty Hammer Mjolnir. Thor and his hammer crash land in New Mexico where he meets a team of researchers (Stellan Skarsgard & Kat Dennings) led by Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) who try to understand how Thor got here. He has to put his vanity and pride away in order to save Earth from his spiteful and manipulative brother, Loki, who now has sights on Odin's throne. Thor will need the help of everyone on Earth and on Asgard, especially his closest confidantes: Volstagg, played by the great Ray Stevenson, who unfortunately gets a little lost in the shuffle of so many characters, Hogun (Tadanobu Asano), Fandral (Josh Dallas) & Sif (Jamie Alexander), who really showed what a bad ass Sif could be on the big screen. Not to mention smoking hot too.
The movie is well put together, honestly, even after seeing it I still don't know how that worked. You have this crazy fantasy world with on top of the bizarre buildings and a Rainbow Bridge for Christ sake, a bunch Gods wearing outfits from the Middle Ages and speaking in Olde English. Then you have modern day New Mexico, where the slightest tweak could make the whole movie unintentionally funny and ruin the whole thing. It's the same problem they worried about before the Avengers was put into action. How do you put Iron Man in the same room with the God of Thunder and have it not be goofy and weird. Chris Hemsworth pretty much put that argument to bed himself in this film. He continued to talk funny for great comic effect but it worked. It didn't feel as out of place as it should have and he fucking sold it man. He kicked S.H.I.E.L.D's ass all over town and as Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) put it made them look like a bunch of Mall rent-a-cops. I as always enjoyed the little Easter Eggs from other Marvel U alumni, see how many you can find. For instance I heard the Infinity Gauntlet was to make an appearance in Odin's vault but I didn't see it. They make references to Bruce Banner, Tony Stark and you get to see a certain purple clad archer make his big movie debut before the Avengers. (Thankfully they didn't have him wear that Purple spandex.) This was a truly great cast and I thought they all complimented each other well. I really liked Idris Elba as Heimdall, I know a lot of people were bitching about a Black man playing a Norse God but you know what it really worked. You needed somebody big and commanding with a sense of nobility in that role and I think he fit the role nicely. It's not a huge role but it's pivotal to the overall story.
Now the only real downside was the 3D, not that it wasn't good, it was, it's just that the 3D makes everything darker and harder to see. Also it just didn't feel like it needed the upgrade. I actually want to see it again in 2D, I have a feeling I'd enjoy it more. Watching Asgard in 3D was absolutely stunning but it just didn't make sense for the rest of the film. My suggestion, if you see the movie you should see it in 2D if you have the choice. Honestly it really isn't worth the extra dough to see it in 3D. But I do recommend you see it. Especially if you enjoyed the other Marvel films like Iron Man or the Hulk, they are really starting to hit their stride.
Grade: 4 Buckets

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