There’s a whole slew of Comic Book adaptations this summer and it begins with Thor. Directed by Kenneth Branagh and in 3D it’s the origin story of the Marvel superhero Thor. Of course based on the Norse God Thor. Along with Iron Man, Hulk and Captain America it’s part of the whole set up for the Avengers movie that’s coming along next year and with Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgård and Anthony Hopkins it also has some star power behind it.
The film starts off with Jane and her fellow researchers, Erik and Darcy, in their car in the desert looking for electromagnetic disturbances to prove something they’ve been chasing for a long time, when an aurora forms behind them. Jane takes the wheel and races towards it only for some sort of dust storm to kick up, and in the chaos they hit someone who came out of no where.
Then we flashback to Asgard, the home of the Norse Gods for a prologue about how Odin and his people helped bring peace to the Earth by helping the humans fight off the Frost Giants and in a massive war laid waste to their homeworld and took the source of their power to hold them at bay. Then coming forward we see Thor about to be crowned King of Asgard and take Odin’s throne, but during the ceremony Frost Giants break in to the castle and try to steal back the source of their power, only to be killed by The Destroyer.
In defiance of his father’s ruling Thor decides he and his friends, The Lady Sif and the Warriors Three, along with his brother Loki should take the fight to the Frost Giants for daring to enter Asgard. But when they get there, despite taking out many of the Frost Giants, they’re outnumbered and have to retreat and be saved by Odin, while the King of the Frost Giants declares that this will bring another war. Once back in Asgard Thor accuses Odin of being an old fool and for that is stripped of his powers and his hammer and banished to Earth, and Odin sends the hammer with the instruction that only he who is worthy can wield it and the power of Thor.
That’s when we return to the scene which started the film, and at this point we’re 15-20 minutes in and I’m already bored. We’ve had a couple of big action scenes and those bored me. Some of the ideas there are interesting but not enough to overwhelm the over-riding sense of “Meh” that’s descended on me by this point. As the film continues I can’t really shake that feeling of meh either. Now don’t get me wrong, the direction is good and there’s some interesting shots, but really the film doesn’t benefit because I’m really not interested by this point.
The acting, well Chris Hemsworth is good, Anthony Hopkins is Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgård does OK but doesn’t really have an outstanding role anyway. Kat Dennings does a pretty good job with what she has, but really Natalie Portman doesn’t really convince me with any of it. Loki, well he has a couple of good scenes but otherwise I think he over does it a little and leaves you feeling the role could have been done more subtly and better. The other supporting characters do well with what they have but are rather broadly drawn and it could be anyone in those roles really.
The effects work is well done but at this point would you expect any less from the film starting the summer blockbuster period? The one thing I’d gripe about is The Destroyer but I’m not sure you could make what is essentially a big suit of armour with no one in it and has a beam of fire coming out of it’s face look realistic.
The 3D is really rather pointless, there’s no reason for it at all and to be honest the lighting is rather dark in a lot of scenes and that’s not at all helped by wearing dark glasses, so I’d recommend seeing it in 2D if you see it at all.
So overall, it’s an over-long film, that has some laughs, decent directing, some interesting ideas and some good scenes, but it’s boring, the fight scenes can be hard to track, has at least one major role that doesn’t quite work, and leaves you bored even when there’s action on screen. So basically it’s all over the place. I can’t say I’d recommend it as a must see film, or even a good way to kill 2 hours, but there’s certainly much worse films out there and if you see it see it in 2D and wait right until the end of the credits for an extra scene.