CliqueClack Flicks

Thor – Not mighty, but above-average

Thor - Theater Review
Release Date: 05/06/2011 - MPAA Rating: PG-13
Clacker Rating: 4 Clacks

'Thor', Marvel Comics' God of Thunder, gets his own movie and adds another piece to 'The Avengers" puzzle.

Thor and Loki

Who’s ready for a new superhero movie? Unless you’ve been living in a mansion somewhere in Pakistan with no phone or internet, you’re probably well aware of the latest Marvel superhero to get his own movie – The Mighty Thor. Having seen the movie, and read our Guest Clacker’s thoughts on the film, I have to say I beg to differ on his conclusion that the movie is merely average.

I am no devotee of the comics on which this film (or any of the other superhero movies) is based, but I’ve seen all of them and can appreciate what Marvel is doing as far as building up this roster of superheroes for next year’s The Avengers movie. This whole thing really started with the Iron Man movies (we’ll just ignore the first Hulk), followed by The Incredible Hulk, Thor and later this summer, Captain America: The First Avenger. The average viewer may have no clue as to the relationships of these characters, so while the films work together as pieces of a larger puzzle, they do stand on their own with enough little tidbits sprinkled here and there to really geek out the true fans (I usually have to be told what those little pieces are).

Thor may not be the greatest of the Marvel superheroes to have his own movie, but it had to be done so that he – and cameo hero Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) – can be introduced to audiences properly. I enjoyed Thor immensely. Our Guest Clacker enjoyed the Earth-set part of the movie, but I enjoyed the Asgard scenes, particularly those with the Frost Giants of Jotunheim, a warrior race bent on the destruction of Asgard. There are some very cool – no pun intended – moments during the fight scenes, but director Kenneth Branagh has fallen into that same trap as so many other directors who can’t handle action scenes: most of it is shot in such extreme close-up that you can’t tell what the heck is going on. That is a huge pet peeve of mine. If the scenes here are too dark, well, it’s a cold, dark world and the 3D glasses don’t help if the theater’s projection system isn’t putting out enough wattage to compensate (and yes, this is a 3D conversion so save yourself the extra bucks and just see the 2D version). The Asgardian scenes are washed in golden sunlight and are very colorful – again, minus the 3D glasses.

Thor on Earth is a fish-out-of-water for only a short time, but he and his people have been to Earth before (they are protectors of the nine worlds). He may not be up on our modern technology, but he is a god, so he learns fast (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). There are a couple of very funny moments (yes, Branagh doesn’t seem to understand the rule of threes in comedy), but if Thor got hit by a car more than twice, it would have been overkill. Thor’s main goal on Earth is to retrieve the hammer that his father stripped from him once he was banished from Asgard for starting a war with the Frost Giants against his orders. I don’t think it’s fair to say that Thor becomes less interesting when he gets to Earth and finds his softer side when he meets Jane Foster, because only then does he learn how to become a great ruler – one who uses his head and his heart. Who can root for a hero that is nothing but brash and arrogant, one who is just driven by a lust for war?

I do agree that Loki is the most intriguing character in the movie, and that’s a good thing, because he is the main bad guy in The Avengers (make sure to stick around after the credits for a scene that sets up that movie and also references Captain America). In these movies, the bad guy is always the more interesting character unless you have a great actor playing the hero (i.e. Robert Downey Jr.). Chris Hemsworth (Captain Kirk’s ill-fated dad in Star Trek) certainly looks the part of the God of Thunder and bellows when it’s appropriate. He has some nice chemistry with Natalie Portman, who is totally endearing; it’s really too bad that her character is not going to be in The Avengers (although Stellan Skarsgard‘s Professor Selvig will). Thor’s friends are merely supporting players who are never really fleshed out, but they do all get to have their moments, however brief.

Does Thor reach the level of entertainment of the first Iron Man movie? No, but it never falls into the depths of boredom that was the saggy middle of Iron Man 2. I enjoyed the movie on its own terms and as a piece of a larger story. This Thor may not exactly be mighty, but he is well-above just average.

Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal / Marvel Studios

9 Responses to “Thor – Not mighty, but above-average”

May 5, 2011 at 8:39 AM

Everything I’ve been reading, which obviously is all fifth hand rumor-y type stuff, is that while Loki is in Avengers, he’s not the only threat, nor the eventual main threat.

May 6, 2011 at 12:54 AM

I just saw an interview with the actor who plays Loki and he pretty much said that it’s Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor and Captain America against Loki in The Avengers.

May 6, 2011 at 2:49 AM

I have two problems with that:

A) The character couldn’t carry this film by himself, against only one hero. They needed a big weapon, and what was the films most underrated (and likely missed by most) performance by Colm Feore as Laufey, to complete the story. Loki, by his nature, is not suited to be the primary, “scary” big bad.

B) The fact that he was in the coda indicates that he’ll be around, i’m sure, and very relevant to the story, but MUCH more important, I believe, was (the age old Seven question) “What’s in the box?” If it is what I think it is, and I’m sure the speculation will begin in earnest tomorrow, then the scope of what The Avengers COULD/should be about got much, much larger. As I’ve suspected (and rumors, hints, and such have been pointing to), we all need to learn the word Skrulls.

Just this guy’s opinion.

May 6, 2011 at 3:35 AM

I’m not saying Loki is the only villain, I’m just relaying what Tom Hiddleston said in the video. There is no other casting thus far listed on IMDB that shows another villain, but we do know that the Cosmic Cube will play an important part in the film (and that is also an important part of the Captain America movie as well — from what I’m told). But if Loki is in possession of the Cube, that would pretty much make him the main big bad, no? Honestly, I’m not up on any of this mythology with The Avengers. I enjoy the movies, but I don’t know how any of it relates to the comics.

And, you know, I sat through the entire movie thinking “that sure looks like Colm Feore” and I was pleased to know I was right when I saw his name in the credits.

May 6, 2011 at 9:10 AM

You’re better than me … I spent the whole movie going: “I can’t figure it out … I can’t figure it out!” It was a major facepalm moment when the credits rolled.

May 5, 2011 at 9:10 AM

You know what’s weird? The Thor movie fruit snacks have Captain America shapes thrown in, too, for no reason other than they couldn’t think of enough shapes for Thor.

May 7, 2011 at 1:44 AM

. . . . .

Hokay … just saw the flick.

And I agree with just about everything you say, Chuck.

It was above average. I wasn’t disappointed, but I wasn’t on my feet and cheering. There were “moments” … there was some comedy (people around me were laughing at every little thing while I was concentrating on what was going on) … the action was, for the most parts, smart and efficient. And Thor was play with that cocky-son-of-a-bitch attitude I was hoping for.

But you’re right: What in the world was the deal with the Frost Giant war so freakin’ close up? Dark I didn’t have a problem with. (But, to be fair, it was too, too dark … what was up with that?) But the close up action sequences during the confrontation with the Giants was so frantic and unseeable it was off-putting. Hated that.

I will disagree with you on one point: Natalie Portman. She wasn’t endearing to me; she appeared to be trying too hard … over acting in many instances. Her character didn’t do anything for me. If, indeed, she’s not in The Avengers, there won’t be any love lost from me about that fact.

Thor wasn’t Iron Man, but it definitely wasn’t anything near the first Hulk flick either. It was an above average piece of the puzzle.

Oh. And … didn’t see it in 3D. I chose not to and don’t think I missed anything by depriving myself of that, either.

Bring on Captain America

May 7, 2011 at 2:56 AM

Interesting that you say the Frost Giants scenes were too dark — although not a problem. I had read about the dark issue before seeing the movie (in 3D) and checked it out without the glasses for a moment and it was fine. Dark, but not inordinately so. I just assumed the glasses were the problem.

And maybe Natalie was trying too hard to be endearing, but I liked her. I wouldn’t mind her in The Avengers but I’m just happy that Gwyneth Paltrow isn’t going to be in it.

I do share your sentiment about Captain America!

May 9, 2011 at 3:42 PM

I hear Gwyneth might make a short appearance in the Avengers

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