Proof Review: Thor (2011)

Release Date
May 6, 2011
Director
Kenneth Branagh
Screenplay
Ashley Edward Miller
Zack Stentz
Don Payne
J. Michael Straczynski (story by)
Mark Protosevich (story by)
Distributed By
Paramount Pictures
Marvel Studios
Budget
$150 million
Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Thriller
Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence
115 minutes

Thor

We were there last summer (2010) when the conclusion of “Iron Man 2” revealed the protagonist for this summer’s blockbuster, “Thor”. The nerdiest members of the audience whooped and hollered at the hammer of Thor, as it solidified the continued build up to “The Avengers” film compiling years of story and characters into one single, “mega-film”. I am a fan of the comic book adaptations of late, but Thor never really jumped off the page for me. Even the first trailers for “Thor” did not seem to translate well into an on-earth piece or as grounded as say “Iron Man” or “The Incredible Hulk”. I felt that “Clash of the Titans” would take its slimy tentacles and reign again as God of the bad B-title remakes. I am sitting here today, singing a different tune. “Thor” proved me wrong.

There are a few aspects that help keep “Thor” on my good side (my un-Hulk side, if you will). The first and most prevalent is the acting. Chris Hemsworth knocks the part of Thor out of the ballpark. He physically, psychologically, and even linguistically nails the part and makes it believable; a feat that few actors could accomplish from my perspective. Tom Hiddleston, as Loki, also sinks into the part splendidly, creating one of the most memorable conflicted villains to-date. Both the direction and the performance make Loki the true testament to the film that he is.

Without these two leading men, the film would have lacked immensely. Though Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, and Natalie Portman are basically veterans, none of them drove home their parts like the hero and the villain, and that is how a comic book adaptation should be.

The second major influence is garnering my appreciation for “Thor” was the ability to poke fun at itself. The film produced dozens upon dozens of laughs (more so in our theater, than most, I have a feeling, but laughs none-the-less), but not because of the incredulous nature of the situations or from being overdone (like “Clash of the Titans”). Instead, it produced humor in a natural occurring way and comic book buffs definitely appreciate that. “Iron Man” creates laughs simply by having the smart talking Robert Downey Jr. at the helm, but to have practically brand new actors/actresses stepping up and bringing constant laughs amongst serious, action filled, blockbuster sequences, it really helped to offset the downtime in the film.

For lack of another option, as this was a midnight showing in the Los Angeles area, the screening was in 3D. Not being a fan of 3D right off the bat, I was extra skeptical and again, I have seen yet another film that has absolutely no need for the amusement park medium. There is a disconnect from the film that takes the viewer out of the action, rather than keeping them immersed as it is meant to be. I would rather have an experience like “Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part One” where the film feels as though it is in 3D without actually being 3D with glasses (because isn’t that pretty much the next step anyways? Making films that you do not need to wear special eyewear to be immersed?).

Also, the use of canted angles was repetitious and flat out confusing. Were there a need for the skewed camera positions, I would be fully on board. I enjoy messing with perspective just as much as the next guy, but when it sticks out and leaves a bad taste after the film, there is something wrong.

“Thor” continues the ever-growing saga of the Avengers quite nicely, building upon the upcoming film much better than the past installments. The film blew my expectations so much so that “Captain America” even looks appealing now. I am starting to get high hopes for “The Avengers” film, especially with the well cast villain at its brink and if the film plays out anything like the “Ultimate Alliance” video games, I will be very satisfied.

As far as “Thor” goes, save yourself the extra money for glasses (unless of course you are taking kids or actually are at an amusement park/IMAX) and see the film straight up, connect with the leading characters, laugh at the well-placed jokes, and question the canted angles, all while experiencing a nice blend of superhero meets Greek mythology.

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