Monday, July 20, 2015

Summer of Marvel: Thor (2011)

By Kit

Sorry for the long wait, folks. Last week was rather hectic. Forgive me if I come late. If I run out of days in the summer I might continue it next year or continue it into the fall as Marvel Movie Mondays or something. We'll see.

Thank you to everyone for your support so far. This is my first time doing a series like this and I know my delays have tested your patience. So, thank you.

Anyway, on to Thor.

Plot

A long time ago, when Marvel still released movies via Paramount instead of Disney, the Frost Giants from Jotunnheim waged war upon mankind and threatened to unloose a second Ice Age. However, they were stopped by a race called the Asgardians, they are from Asgard, led by Odin (Anthony Hopkins). We flash forward to a ceremony where Thor is receiving his hammer, Mjolnir.

Meanwhile, a group of frost giants are sneaking into Asgard to steal an item that Odin took from Jotunnheim. They are stopped by Odin lickety-split, but, despite Thor’s insistence, he refuses to retaliate by starting a full-on war against the Frost Giants.

Thor meets up with his fellow young Asgardians; his brother Loki, Sif, Fandral, Hogun, and Volstug, and convinces them to join with him in going to Jotunnheim to seek retribution. Loki tries to talk him out of it but eventually agrees. They leave for Jotunnheim and start a brawl which goes well at first until things turn and they are nearly curb-stomped only for Odin to show up and save their hides.

Back at Asgard Thor is banished to Earth, deprived of his powers and his hammer, which is also thrown to Earth with Odin casting a King Arthur-esque spell on it that says only someone who is worthy may wield it. Thor arrives on Earth and is hit by a car driven by Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan SkarsgÄrd), and intern Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), who are studying some kind of vortex thing.

Thor is taken to a hospital where he is subdued pitifully (and comically) by a doctor with a sedative. The hammer, meanwhile, has landed in the desert, not far from where he landed, causing a massive crater. A huge crowd soon develops as a bunch of men try to wield it (none are worthy) until SHIELD rolls in led by Agent Coulson from Iron Man and Iron Man 2 and sets up a camp there.

After the agents seize Jane's equipment, Thor learns about the hammer and decides to go into the SHIELD compound to retrieve it. He beats up half the guards, which is observed by a by a sniper using a bow-and-arrow codenamed Hawkeye. Thor reaches the hammer to discover he can't wield it and sinks into despair. Foster and Selvig come to retrieve him and Coulson (for some reason) lets him go. Thor, Selvig, Foster, and Darcy start hanging out.

Meanwhile, Loki, who discovers something about his past, may be up to no good. Shocker.

Is it Good?

It’s fun.

Ok, that is not high praise. Saying “It’s fun” in reply to the question, “Is it Good” sounds a lot like saying “She has a nice personality” when asked “Is she pretty.” Re-watching this movie I found it was not as good as I remembered it, but it was still fun.

Let me explain the problem.

Unlike other movies which ramp up the tension in the main plot in every scene with bombastic action this movie took a different approach. We have a lot of action in the first and third acts but the Second Act, aside from the scene where he punches through a dozen SHIELD agents to retrieve Mjolnir, is mostly humor and character development —or, rather, attempts at the two.

The second act of Thor is basically one, long fish-out-of-water Rom-com about a Norse God.

Actually, come to think of it, the whole movie Thor is just that. You have the female lead, her female friend, her parent figure, and the handsome, dashing young man who occasionally appears shirtless. It’s Kate & Leopold but with a slightly more interesting ending (the very end). Someone should do one of those mash-up trailers, you know, like the one that guy did to make The Shining look like a family comedy, but instead make Thor look like some cheesy Romantic Comedy.

Which means that your enjoyment of this movie will be whether you enjoy a romantic comedy built around a Marvel comics character and whether you think there is any chemistry between Thor and Jane Foster. (I found them ok in this movie)

Now, why didn’t I like it this time?

When I first saw it, I loved it. Now? Eh. I enjoyed seeing the God of Thunder getting tased and hit with a car, among other injuries. But now, I think I have seen it so many times that the jokes, which are for the most part, ok, were just not as funny as they used to be. Or maybe I was not in the right mood.

But you may enjoy it, again, I did the first time I saw it.

Interestingly, I still prefer the middle section to the opening and the climax. The opening has always been rather boring for me. Heck, the fight scene in the middle when he storms the base is, not only the best fight scene in the movie, but by far the best scene in the movie, though that might largely be because of Hawkeye and Coulson. On second thought, it might be one of the best fight scenes in a Marvel movie. Period.

Anyway, that’s about it. The Cast is good. Idris Elba is awesome as Heimdall. Ditto with Anthony Hopkins as Odin and Hiddleston as Loki. Hemsworth is Thor. The girl from Two Broke Girls is good.

So, in sum, right now I’d rank it low on the list. Maybe at the bottom. Of course, the list won’t be finished until I finish the Summer of Marvel (and the clock is ticking).

The Summer of Marvel will return on Monday with Captain America: The First Avenger!

“We drank, we fought, he made his ancestors proud.”


8 comments:

Anthony said...

Rom com is the same labeled I'd put on the Iron Man movies (which like Thor don't really have their heart in the action scenes). Thor is even more boring than those movies because the Thor guy isn't as good as Robert Downey Jr.

tryanmax said...

It's funny, before I got into your review, the scene with Hawkeye popped into my head as the only truly memorable sequence. Everything else I remember (the tasing, the sedating) are just bits. Definitely it's a fish-out-of-water romcom featuring an action hero, but I'll give Marvel credit for tweaking the formula and keeping origin movies interesting. And lest we forget, back in the day, the same artists and writers who worked on superhero comics also did the romance comics. Marvel and Stan Lee were probably foremost in deliberately blending the genres to create more interesting stories and characters.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I actually did not like this movie at all for the same reasons you point out as problems. I thought it was a lifeless romcom with characters I didn't care about who occasionally got into uninteresting fight scenes.

To me, this was one of the weakest Marvel entries.

Kit said...

Andrew,

When I first saw it, I enjoyed the humor. But re-watching it just seemed "meh" to me. Which is harder to review than "awful" or "great".

Koshcat said...

This was probably the weakest of the Avenger movies but I liked what they tried to do: make a demigod seem more human. It also give us a reason why someone such as Thor would even bother coming to this planet. My wife likes the Thor movies but I think she may just have a thing for Chris Hemsworth. My daughter has a thing for Chris Evans and I get Scarlett so it's all good in our house when the Avengers are on.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, A "meh" movie is very hard to review indeed, especially one that is so basic and without anything particularly noteworthy.

Willow Viney said...

Director Kenneth Branagh had originally cast actor Brian Blessed in the role of Thor's father (Odin), but the part eventually went to Anthony Hopkins.

A pity really, as Brian Blessed was practically born to play the role.

Kit said...

"My wife likes the Thor movies but I think she may just have a thing for Chris Hemsworth. My daughter has a thing for Chris Evans and I get Scarlett so it's all good in our house when the Avengers are on."

Marvel: Fun for the Whole Family! :-)

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