Hal Jordan Revisits: THOR
Does the God Of Thunder live up to the hype? The answer just might surprise you. If you are worthy, click to read my take on the 2011 CBM: Thor.
In 2011, Marvel had released their last two films in the Avengers lineup: Captain America and Thor. Out of all the movie that many thought would be difficult, Thor seemed to take the top spot. A Norse god who wields a hammer and controls lightning, while living in outer space, which is split into nine realms, and he travels through a rainbow bridge? That is a lot to handle! However, when the film came out, many were very pleased with it and it proved that even something as far-fetched as that plot can work on the big screen.
The film was a box-office success, like most Marvel films, and it received mixed to positive reviews from critics and fans alike. I was unfamiliar with the back-story of many of the characters, so, when the movie came out, I was glad that I left feeling informed on the history and happy that I had seen the movie. However, almost one year later, and with the Avenger’s five days from release, does it still hold up? Lets find out.
Story: The story involves Thor trying to impress his father and taking his rightful place as king of Asgard. However, Thor is banished to earth from Asgard for causing war and his powers are taken away from him. Throughout the film, Thor has to deal with many obstacles that stand between him and getting back to Asgard, which include S.H.I.E.L.D, his brother trying to kill him, and getting his hammer back. He also forms a relationship with a human scientist named Jane Foster. After being informed that Loki has forcefully taken control of the throne and that Odin still lives, he regains his powers after sacrificing himself to save Earth. He then defeats the destroyer and goes to stop Loki. After returning to Asgard, Loki reveals that he staged everything, including killing the Frost Giant, King Laufey, who is Loki’s real father. After destroying the rainbow bridge and Loki falling off into space, Thor looks off into the galaxy wondering when he will see Jane again.
The film did a good job with informing the audience on a back-story and this is coming from a DC fan. However, there were a few problems I had, one in particular, but I will get to that later. The incorporation of different themes such as father issues, abandonment, deceit, love, and responsibility works out great. Now, many of you may be saying, “Every movie has almost half of those! Especially comic book movies.” Well, although that is true, Thor does it differently because this deals with gods. An almighty being, who can dominate the entire planet, is essentially just a little kid who wants to impress his parents. He is greedy and selfish and takes things too lightly, even in serious times, yet he is a powerful being? I know it seems simple, but it is done in a way that makes the audience connect to the character and feel for him. That is pretty note-worthy considering how “redundant” that problem is. The movie also turned out a good balance of action, comedy, romance, and sophistication, which made the plot a stand out aspect.
Director: Kenneth Branagh was a newcomer in the CBM genre. Some of his more famous works in directing were Hamlet and Henry V. However, although he had a lot to handle, he still managed to pull it off and make it entertaining. Were there a few problems that I believe could have been fixed? Yes, but he still gave the fans and the audience a good movie and I applaud him for his first time in this genre. Job well-done Mr. Branagh.
Writing: The writing team for Thor on paper is very promising. Some of them even worked on other popular titles like X-Men: First Class, Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles, and Fringe. However, like Kenneth Branagh, they had a lot to handle when it came to this film and they did it really well. For the most part, the writing was another aspect of the film that stands out. The portrayal for most the characters personalities were great and the dialogue, for most scenes, was good too. I loved how they brought out the Viking-like dialect that the Asgardian’s speak. Some of you may be wondering why I am saying the word “most” a lot. Well, the answer my friends is Kat Dennings. I am not fully aware of Thor’s history, so I don’t know if she was like this in the comics or even important in the comics, but she was not needed. She contributed nothing to the film, her character made fangirl comments about Thor’s body and used hindsight a few times in the film. Other than that, she didn’t do anything and her character didn’t seem to be needed much. She was an annoyance in the film, so I was upset when the writers couldn’t make her character more interesting. However, if you can’t make a character interesting, don’t include them. In the end, the writing was really good.
Acting: Once again, besides Kat Dennings, another stand out aspect of the film. The casting, however, was really good. Chris Hemsworth made a phenomenal Thor and really stole the show. Tom Hiddleston was also great as Loki, but I didn’t find the character too menacing. He was still great though. Natalie Portman was surprisingly good as Jane Foster and I liked how the relationship she had between Thor played out well. Idris Elba and Anthony Hopkins were also great and added more depth than I expected, since their characters were “main-side” characters. Speaking of supporting casts, Ladsy Sif and Warriors Three were great too. Once again, I liked the interactions between them. They really were like a little family. Plus, tell me this-
-doesn’t look incredibly awesome? Amazing.
Editing: Here is where things start to go wrong. The whole idea of editing can be overlooked in movies as nothing more than camera work. Some may think it is a horrible aspect to analyze in a film. However, that is completely false as bad editing can “turn-off” and audience. In Thor, this happens quite a bit. About 30-50% of the movie is shot in what is known as a Dutch Angle (or a titled angle). It works for some scenes, but, after a while, it gets annoying and it focuses my attention to the tilt rather than the movie. Don’t believe me? Check this out:
The last still is form Battlefield: Earth, a horrible abomination in the history of cinema. However, although Thor does not do it as much or as bad as Battlefield: Earth, it is still overused and at pointless times.
Action: This is another aspect that, in the end, under whelmed me. The first fight scene was fantastic. An epic battle between a group of gods and an army of frost giants! That is awesome. We were treated to some awesome hammer shots like this one:
Oh yea! However, while the first fight seemed to raise my expectations, it ended up being the peak of all the battles. The Destroyer fight, which I thought was going to be even better than the Frost Giants, turned out to be this 2 minute “fight” which consisted of a tornado and the Destroyer having his light beam shoved into him. Yet, there was even more disappointment to come! The ultimate showdown between brother and brother, god of thunder vs. King of Asgard, Mjolnir vs. Odin’s staff, and it ends with Thor putting his hammer on Loki so he can’t move. Seriously? I enjoyed the special effects and the parts that Thor was hit were cool, but there was as much action in this scene as there was in the Destroyer scene and even more disappointing. Like I said though, I loved the CGI and the look of everything from the armor in battle to the special effects. Just look at the marvelous depiction of Asgard:
It was great to see these effects used in battles, even though the battles weren’t all worthy. I just felt like the movie had been building up from the beginning, but found out it was only going to build down, which in theory and reality doesn’t work.
Plot Holes: There was only one that I found, but it was pretty big. As I said before, I am not fully aware of many Thor character’s background. However, the one that they focused on, but ended up not answering the biggest question, was Loki’s Frost Giant history. In the movie, it was explained that when Asgard had won against the Frost Giants in the last Great War, Odin had found a boy in the chambers of King Laufey. Odin then raised the child as his own son along with Thor. However, if Loki is technically 100% Frost Giant, than how does he have the powers of a god? Loki is the god of mischief, but if he isn’t a god, then how does he have those powers or appear white rather than blue? It doesn’t make any sense. Although it was the only hole I found, it was still a big one for me and it once again takes my focus off of the movie.
Overall, Thor was a good film and very entertaining the second time around. However, with mediocre editing, disappointing battles, and a big plot hole that is never explained, the movie is ultimately disappointing when compared to expectations. As a movie alone, I give it 7.5/10
On the Avengers lineup, Thor takes 4th place. The last revisit will be Captain America: The First Avenger.
Check out the other Avenger’s lineup revisits in the article box, or at my fansite HERE.
Until next time, this is Hal Jordan signing off!
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