Director: Kenneth Branagh
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Idris Elba with Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins
Plot: Heir to the throne of Asgard, Thor (Hemsworth) is tricked by his half-brother, Loki (Hiddleston) and thrown to Earth, where he tries to get back home to stop his evil sibling.
Thor is pretty much Marvel’s answer to Superman. For one, he is a God, heir to the throne of Asgard, armed with a mighty hammer that can only be wielded by him. This movie tracks his origin story, as Asgard turns on him, through a political conspiracy started by his devious half-brother, Loki. Thor is thrown to Earth, where he needs the help of astrophysicists, Foster and Selvig, to get him back to Asgard to stop his brother’s plan. However, he doesn’t count for falling in love with Jane Foster, which makes him ask himself what he needs to do to become worthy for the throne of Asgard.
Thor’s problem is that there is too much in it. We open up to Thor’s life as a Asgard prince, thrown itno a beautiful Sci-Fi universe. This is Marvel as we have never seen it before and we are glad for the change of pace. We are given Anthony Hopkin’s fantastic performance as Odin, Lord of Asgard, and his sons as they wage a war against Colm Feore’s dangerous Frost Giant lord. It plays out like the dream movie for Fantasy movie fans with a twinge of Sci-Fi. We have all of these interesting Norse heroes, like Sif and Heimdall, and the political behind-the-scenes backstabbing from Tom Hiddleston’s show-stealing villain, Loki. However, while we would like the entire movie to spend time here, Marvel need to add the human element and we are thrown out of the beautiful world of Asgard and into a more traditional superhero setting.
Saying that, these sequences are also not bad. We have the stock character of the love interest, Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster. Thrown into the mix are Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings to add the comic relief, although Thor himself wins several laughs, as a Norse God trying to adapt to the 21st century culture. S.H.I.E.L.D show up for the tie-in to the Avengers Assemble and then Loki returns with Asgard’s killing machine the Destroyer for an epic movie finale. There isn’t really much to complain about, other than the fact that there are so many characters that we only feel like we get to know a handful of them. The Asgardians really should have squeezed in more screen-time and character development, making me happy that it seems like the sequel will take this direction.
I suppose Thor did its job in the sense that I really disliked the character in the comic books, but the movie won me over to his cause. I saw him as a copy of Superman and I don’t really like Superman, as a character. This movie shows us the character, making him flawed as a hero and charming as a character. What Thor understands that Man of Steel kind of dropped the ball with is that when your hero cannot be killed, you need to threaten those close to him. Thor’s real fears come out of the fact he needs to become a leader for his people and the worry that his love, Jane Foster, could be killed, as Thor brings these dangerous, supernatural elements into her life.
It seems amusing that Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston were unknown actors when this came out, as they are pretty much the most successful stars in the Marvel universe right now. They understand the tone of the movie completely and how they should approach it. Anywhere else and you would accuse the two of them of over-acting, hamming up the Shakespeare and milking the Britishness of the piece (because there is so much British about Norse gods in America). But their voices have become iconic. Loki was soon launched into the top five Marvel villain list (maybe even the top), his haunting voice leaving chills down your spine every time.
When I first saw this movie, I liked it, but I saw it as just another jigsaw piece in the grand Marvel scheme. Looking back, Thor is more than that. It is sleek, beautiful to look at and takes a few risks with the Marvel universe. Sure, I would have liked more with spending the film’s entire running time in Asgard, but I understand why that could not happen. It has the humour, it has the spectacle and it has the action. In conclusion, yet another success for Marvel.
Final Verdict: This could be the only origin story we have ever wanted slowed down. However, it is hard to deny the beauty and power of the original Thor film.