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Thor is the Asgardian god of thunder, once worshipped by Vikings. Marvel turned him into a superhero, and his adventures – on earth, but even more in Asgard – led to some of artist Jack Kirby's most crazily inventive work. The film has Thor's devious half-brother Loki connive to have their father Odin, king of the gods, banish Thor to earth without the hammer that gives him his power. There he falls for a pretty astrophysicist, while back on Asgard his brother schemes with the ice giants, ancient enemies of the Asgardians.
It asks a lot of the audience in terms of suspension of disbelief, but it more or less gets away with it. The scenes in the various mythical realms are a bit CGI heavy. For the most part it recreates the Asgard of the comics, at least in terms of strangeness and scale, although the characters don't all look right (especially Volstagg, who should be much fatter). Especially good is the big clanky robot thing that Loki sends after Thor and his chums, which has a real Jack Kirby look to it.
The problem is that it's too much like all the other films in the Avengers franchise. An oafish hero learns the value of sacrifice, or something, and beats up the villains. The fights are feeling tired. The same things – cars flying around, people being knocked miles by a single punch etc – that seemed so great in Iron Man are becoming less interesting. The supernatural gloss is at least different to the science of other films. The hero's self-discovery doesn't come about by building a better suit of armour, but by accepting his limitations and redeeming himself – it can get semi-religious with some justification, although it's careful not to call Thor a god. (Sadly they also lose the hilarious faux Shakespearean dialogue Stan Lee always gave his godly characters in the comics.)
Chris Hemsworth is fine as Thor – like Robert Downey Jr in Iron Man, he makes his brattish character endearing in spite of being a moron. Also like Iron Man, the film wastes an Oscar-winning actress in a 'superhero's girlfriend' role; this time it's Natalie Portman. It throws away actors like Rene Russo and Idris Elba in nothing parts. Stellan Skarsgard is good as Portman's mentor.
Anthony Hopkins pretty much plays Odin in his sleep, doing all the things you'd expect Anthony Hopkins to do when playing a god who also happens to be a bad father. The film really belongs to Tom Hiddleston's Loki. He's fantastic – playing a trickster god must be fun anyway, but he looks like he's having the time of his life.
Weirdly, it's directed by Kenneth Branagh (in the director's commentary he invites us to call him 'Ken'. I will do, should I ever meet him). He was once touted as the new Laurence Olivier. If the original Olivier was still alive he'd no doubt have played Odin.
I have always enjoyed the works of Marvel, they are truly brilliant. All of Marvel creations have been made with passion and to a fine detail.
Thor is an excellent film, which is about the rise of Thor and his story.
Thor, god of thunder, is from a kingdom called Asgard, which is a place of greatness. He is Odin's son and next in line to be king of Asgard. Whilst being crowned king, the frost giants break into the weapons vault and try to steal the tesseract, which is a stone of unlimited power. They are stopped in there tracks, but Thor thinks they have destroyed their vow of peace. Betraying his father, Thor takes his friends to the city of the frost giants.
Odin banishes Thor to earth, taking away his powers and his hammer, to live in exile until he is worthy to posses his powers once more. Thor meets Jane, who is a scientist working on a project. Thor, betrayed by his brother, has to prove his worth whilst on Earth, but it is easier said than done.
This is a brilliant story of Thor's selflessness, which I think is a remarkable tale. It is different than most of the other Marvel films, which is why i think it is so good.
Thor also appears in the Avengers Assemble too, which he also plays a great part in that too. The film is worth a watch by everyone, especially those of you who enjoy the other Marvel films!
With Avenger Assemble now out on DVD/BluRay, I am continuing in my series of reviews looking at the movies that lead us to this excellent piece of all-star superhero action. In this review, it's time to ride the lightning. It's Thor.
Drawing heavily on elements of classical Norse mythology, Thor is by far the most bizarre offering from Marvel Studios to date, yet still easily accessible to new fans and certainly a pleasure to watch. Thor (Chris Hemsworth), proud warrior and son of the king of Asgard, is banished to Earth after a reckless attack on an ancient enemy breaks a truce that has kept the peace for years. Rendered a mere mortal and stranded far from his home, Thor, with the help of a few new friends, must contend with government agents and the machinations of his duplicitous brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in a bid to reclaim his power and prove himself a true hero.
Thor leaves the likes of Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk in the dust in terms of sheer spectacle. From the glittering golden cities of Asgard to the dark, frozen ruins of Jotunheim, Thor is packed with stunning visuals and set pieces, creating a truly awe-inspiring collection of worlds far removed from our own. The casting is excellent as well. Chris Hemsworth commands great respect as the eponymous hero, both as a brave demi-god warrior and as a confused deity suddenly faced with the humdrum everyday of mere mortal existence, while Tom Hiddleston is great in his role as the trickster, Loki. Everyone in this movie is fully committed and it shows (Antony Hopkins' Odin in particular positively steals the show), with even minor players giving memorable performances. The fights are hard-hitting, the emotional scenes are thoughtful and the gags will leave you chuckling for weeks to come. If I could level any criticism against this title it would be the unusual nature of the hero, but Thor embraces its premise wholeheartedly and sticks to it, delivering a memorable and striking superhero movie.
To say I liked Thor would be an understatement. Its unusual take on an otherwise well known legend makes this film a joy to watch for both comic fans and anyone looking for an over-the-top, full-bodied action romp.
This film is a film about Thor, not the norse god, but the hero out of marvel comics. This is the story about who thor is (i never really got what thor was all about before seeing this film). I must say they done a pretty good job. Pherhaps not as good as iron man 1, but a whole lot better than captain america in my opinion. Anyway, in this film Thor is banished from asguard (kinda like his home planet), for starting a war with these weird ice troll people). SPOILER ALERT, while his brother trys to take over the throne using deception.
Anyway, this film benefits from some things seen in all marvel films these days, stunning CGI, and hard hitting action, as well as a plot from the comics. One thing i noticed with this film however is that it seemed to have a bit more comedy laced in, due to the misunderstanding between him and the people of earth. Also i love the bits where he keeps saying to doctors, police etc how dare you do x y and z, i am Thor, son of (and by which point someone has traquilised/tasered/arrested him (he has his powers stripped from him).
Anyway, this film is pretty good, not the best of marvel (that title goes to the avengers), but you kinda need to see this film before seeing avengers (although i didn't, and it still made sense to me, but its just preferable to watch this before avengers i guess, thats the order they intended it to be seen in).
This film is high on action, with a pretty good plot, strong CGI, and a likeable main hero who develops as the film goes on. At the beginning he was little more than a brute, but he ends up being a true hero, and saves the earth completely selflessly. Its truely awesome... plus that armour he gets to wear looks kinda cool!
Thor is the fifth preluding film that leads up to and paves the way for Marvels heavy hitter for the summer, Avengers Assemble; the Assemble tag-line having been added in this country allegedly so that British audiences don't get it confused with the T.V show, The Avengers that was shown in the sixties and seventies! Yeah cheers guys, like we can't tell the difference.....
Thor comes from the alternate dimension, Asguard; the Home of the Gods as depicted in Norse legend. For centuries, peace has reigned in Asguard due to an uneasy alliance with their enemies, The Frost Giants. But when two of their number invade Asguard and attempt to steal one of Asguards most precious relics, a casket that can be used as a weapon, Thor is all for going back to war with their old adversaries.
His father, Odin, tries to talk him out of it but, under the influence of his brother Loki, Thor refuses to listen and disobeys his father's wishes. When he has to come to his sons rescue, Odin is less than impressed and banishes Thor to Earth, bereft of his powers. Loki becomes the new favourite son and, like the saying goes, absolute power corrupts absolutely!
Can Thor regain his powers by proving that he once more deserves them and IS honourable or will Loki reign triumphant with his dastardly plans for Asguard ever daily coming closer to fruition? The answers to these questions and more, including how EXACTLY this film leads into The Avengers, can all be found here......
Thor is okay but I am afraid to say, it is not much more than that. Whereas Captain America really impressed with its Raiders Of The Lost Ark feel, this just all feels a bit too convenient like it has been made simply to fit into The Avengers preamble without much care and attention. Though Kenneth Branaugh directs, you can tell that he is not someone with much experience of Superhero movies as all the best bits happen at the beginning with Thors first descent to Earth. ("Sorry I tasered you Dude...!")
After this, everything just kind of runs on auto-pilot. Ray Stevenson, from Rome and Punisher:War Zone, just feels under-used, Sir Anthony Hopkins seems a bit out of his depth and though characters such as Hawkeye are cameoed, there is no real importance attributed to them meaning that they could pretty much be anyone.
Only Natalie Portman impresses, putting in a sterling performance as always. In fact, some of the best scenes in the movie are the ones featuring her!
I wanted to like this but felt a bit cheated and slightly underwhelmed! For me, it does not bode much hope for Avengers and, whilst Captain America made me want to see Avengers more, this actually goes the other way and makes me want to see it less....
Lets just hope Marvels big film of the summer lives up to the hype because this certainly didn't leave me very thrilled, quite the opposite in fact!
Not only does this film bring into it the original nature of the Thor story, bringing the amazing land of the clouds and the viking like styles of the upper kingdoms to the scree, it also takes into account the newer audience members, bringing in stars such as Jeremy Renner and Natalie Portman, two faces that will be recognizable to anyone watching films in the last five years.
The film mixes together the classic mythology of the Thor story and throws it into a modern setting. The two mix better than expected. With a great spike of comedy value and emotional thrills this film truly is a roller coaster ride. Throw into the mix some great special effects and a cast of incredible actors and you have yourself a film that cannot be missed.
A great mix of myth and modern this film thinks of all the audience not just the small amount that new of the Thor character. But don't let that put you off if your a die hard fan there is plenty of mythical action mixed in !
Star - Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth
Run- Time -115 minutes
Blockbusters - £2.99 per night
Genre - Superhero/Action
Country - USA
Certificate - 12a
So, the top ten most downloaded films (presumably a mix of legal and non legal) are out for 2011 and no real surprises, movies the young and computer savvy would like owning dominating it, and Hangover 2 that no one wanted to pay for. But there is a surprise appearance at number three, Thor, which the sniffy critics didn't really talk up this year when it should have been. I presume it's because enough of those broadsheet and media critics are comic book geeks and so not happy that it somehow doesn't adhere to the original comic book and so no room for sentimentality, regardless of the fact that tweaks and polish are applied so it makes actual money in the multiplex to get the punters in so the critics even have a job.
---The Top Ten---
1. Fast Five - 9.2m downloads (£405m)
2. The Hangover II - 8.8m downloads (£376m)
3. Thor - 8.3m downloads (£291m)
4. Source Code - 7.9m downloads (£79m)
5. I Am Number Four - 7.6m downloads (£93m)
6. Sucker Punch - 7.2m downloads (£58m)
7. 127 Hours - 6.9m downloads (£39m)
8. Rango - 6.4m downloads (£158m)
9. The King's Speech - 6.2m downloads (£268m)
10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 - 6m downloads (£860m)
The list does not match the top ten films on world-wide gross at the multiplexes; of course, as these films are clearly ones young people want to see on their laptops, all the more satisfying an experience if they see them for nothing. I personally think Thor is in that list as this is the type of superhero film we need to see more off, and family friendly too, a hunky Nordic lead with a big tool for mum (Chris Hemsworth), his hammer, and non violent action and big robots for the kids to be distracted by, alien worlds and a time portal to complete the cinematic experience. This type of movie tends to do well in recession and so get made because they target the widest audience demographic by keeping it simple and the 12a rating means mums and dads have to shell out to see it to accompany their kids. The agreed ratings are far cuter than they look.
Thor is, of course, one of Marvel Comics legendary 'Avengers', and the latest one to be in a contemporary movie in their own right, Hawkeye still pending, some hits, some not, the less said about The Hulk the better. This means the film ends up is a teaser for the much anticipated The Avengers (2012) movie which will feature the new Captain America played by Steve Evans, Rob Downey Junior's brilliant Iron Man; Jeremy Renner awarded Hawkeye and Scarlett Johansson back as Black Widow. I don't need to tell you how much the Sci-Fi Geeks are salivating over that line up! Scarlett Johansson in a cat suit alone is enough for me though.
Natalie Portman ... Jane Foster
Tom Hiddleston ... Loki
Anthony Hopkins ... Odin
Stellan Skarsgård ... Erik Selvig
Kat Dennings ... Darcy Lewis
Clark Gregg ... Agent Coulson
Idris Elba ... Heimdall
Colm Feore ... King Laufey
Ray Stevenson ... Volstagg
Tadanobu Asano ... Hogun
Josh Dallas ... Fandral (as Joshua Dallas)
Jaimie Alexander ... Sif
Rene Russo ... Frigga
A cute scientist, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), is out about in the desert at night, her team, assistant Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) and mentor Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård), investigating a strange anomaly they recorded on their instruments earlier in the day, only to be greeted by an intense dust twister that is fierce enough to drill a big whole in the desert. In the maelstrom they nearly run down a naked man (Chris Hemsworth) who has come out of nowhere, claiming to be the Nordic God Thor and is dismissive of his human helpers.
We then flash back/forward/across one thousand years into another dimension, Thor's planet of Azkabar, to see exactly why he is here on Earth with no kegs on a millennium later. Some stag night. It turns out he has been thrown into a time portal by his father, King Odin (Anthony Hopkins), for being too eager to go to war with their arch enemies, the Frost Giants of the planet Jotenhium, after they attempted to steel the 'Casket of Ancient Winters' from Azkabar, artifacts that open the doorway to the 'Nine Realms', breaking an age old truce and so war inevitable in the universe once again.
Thor ended up doing what he did to prove to his father that he is the best man to take the thrown over his more cerebral but less warrior like his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), when the time is right. Such is Odin's fury at his son's arrogance Thor is given a one-way ticket trough the Bilfost Bridge', a wormhole machine, protected by the keeper, Heimdall (Idris Elba), who only allows certain people to pass though the gate. Thor is also stripped of his powers, with the 'Mjolnir', the sacred hammer, forged inside "a dying star", hurled in soon after by his enraged father, which impacts on Earth not too far from were Thor did.
Back on Earth and once the team come around to the idea that Thor may just be who he says he is we discover that S.H.I.E.L.D - government men in black types - have found the hammer first, and like King Arthurs Sword, only the worthy can pull it from the ground, the still uncouth Thor's objective. If he can locate the hammer and do the deed he can get his power back and help to defend the earth from the coming invasion of the Nine Realms, which earth is part of through the Bilfrost Link. But there is the distraction of hot human totty and a giant robot and a mischievous brother to deal with first and so Thor has his hands full.
I really enjoyed this, which is saying something as I generally don't like superhero movies. I still think the Dark Knight is way over-rated and I can't understand how Daredevil even got made, Ben Affleck as a caped crusader with no super powers and stripped of his acting skills a ridiculous idea. To this day Sam Raimi's Spiderman series remains the best by far. Thor isn't quite up there with the second tear of films like Batman Begins and Kick Ass but its not that bad, far superior to most superhero films that kapow, kaboom and swoop their way through the multiplexes to relieve you of your hard earned. It's visually superb and an iridescent treat, the type of DVD that will look amazing on BluRay; those special effects not only creative and beautiful but authentic to the Nordic themed myth and legend comic book worlds of Azkar and Jotenhium.
The big surprise here was 'luvvie' Kenneth Branagh directing, his 12th film behind the camera no less, a big budget special effect movie to the sum of $150 million dollars not what you associate with the creator of the self-indulgent (employ your mates from university film) 'Peter Friends'. Most of Branagh's work is predictably Shakespeare related and so no surprise he builds in the themes of one here, Henry V, the trials and tribulations of the young king as he tries to prove himself to his beloved father, a small part of the Thor comic book legend, I'm told, but seems to work well here.
The punters loved the idea and simplicity of the cartoon like narrative and appeal, on and off-line, raking in a cool $500.000 million so far from that $150 million budget. Yes the acting is as clunky as his hammer striking a rusty Austin Allegro but gentle moments of humor and a cool soundtrack keep this buzzing along nicely, packed full of thrills and enjoyment for all the family, most importantly, not trying to be geeky and comic book.
The bow for the neatly wrapped present is the track 'Walk' by the Foo Fighter's, sending you out of the cinema, or living room, feeling rather upbeat from a rare superhero film success for all the family. I suspect one or two mums who watched this on DVD will still be fanning themselves with the Radio Times after seeing ex Neighbors actor Chris Hemmings with his shirt off. This guy is going to be a huge star and can seriously own a movie.
Imdb.com - 7.1/10.0 (129,245 votes)
Rottetomatos.com - 77% critic's approval rating
Metacritic.com - 57% critic's approval rating
Reel Magazine - "The story might perhaps be adequate for an animated film for children, with Thor, Odin and the others played by piglets. In the arena of movies about comic book superheroes, it is a desolate vastation".
Rolling Stone Magazine - "Hemsworth, an Aussie actor with a vocal command to match his heaving brawn, doesn't just play the role, he owns it."
The Guardian - "It does nothing to stand out from the other comic book adaptations of the past few years, but it's an adequate and enjoyable slice of hokum"
The Oklahoma -"It may not be strongest film to have made the transition from comic book to screen but it does whet the appetite for more from the hammer-wielding thoroughbred and his jealous sibling"
- - - -Special Features - - - -
-Directors Audio Commentary-
I had no idea Kenneth Branagh was directing these days, especially after the bomb 'Sleuth'. But this is his 12th film in 22 years to make it to the multiplexes. He waffles on here about the 'art of film' and the 'performance'.
-The Road to the Avengers-
A teaser trailer of the coming Avengers movie is featured here as the years most anticipated superhero action movie behind Batman takes shape.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is the heir to the realm of Asgard, following a bout of recklessness which threatens peace within the kingdom, Thor is cast out of Asgard by his father Odin (Antony Hopkins) for his arrogance and sent to Earth to live among humans. His brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) becoming the new heir, however secrets about Loki's past emerge and it becomes apparent that Thor must return to Asgard and save his kingdom and family from the trap created by his Machiavellian brother.
On earth, Thor meets and falls for Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) who helps him learn some human qualities, such as humility and selflessness which help the man learn to become a true hero and not simply a legend associated with a mythical hammer.
Chris Hemsworth - Thor:
Following on from his excellent performance as James Kirk's father in the Star Trek movie, Hemsworth is spot on as Thor, he looks like a Norse God, rock solid and apparently spent months building a physique for this part, but he also plays the role of hot-headed young warrior about town and strange alien in New Mexico equally well.
Natalie Portman - Jane Foster
I have to admit I did find Portman as Jane Foster one of the less convincing parts in the film, the spark between her and Thor builds during the film, but never fully ignites and some of her comedic lines feel more awkward than funny, however, she plays the nerdy scientist with the right levels of humanity and is a decent foil alongside Skarsgard and Dennings for Thor on his visit to earth.
Tom Hiddleston - Loki
I really enjoyed Hiddleston as Loki, he described his role as a nastier version of Edmund from King Lear, and he does a perfect job here, he builds the character up to comic book villain status and apparently didn't eat properly to build the gaunt, wiry look which works so well, he is clearly a much stronger actor than Hemsworth and never hams it up too much but has a lot of fun with his character and the difficult family issues he has to confront.
Anthony Hopkins - Odin
Hopkins enjoys himself as Odin and brings the right elements of passion, knowledge and love for his sons to the part, I haven't been convinced by Hopkins in a number of recent roles but he has a small but developed role in the plot of this film and follows the Shakespearian edge laid out by the director. My only minus on his performance was a report that Brian Blessed had been considered for the role and if that was the case, he should have been a shoo-in with his beard and incredibly loud voice!
Stellan Skarsgard - Erik Selvig
Skarsgard has little to do as the scientist Erik Selvig, although his Scandinavian roots allow the director and writers to show more earthly understanding of the Thor legend than most New Mexicans would generally have, bar a couple of funny lines and a drinking scene, Skarsgard has little to do during the film.
Kat Dennings - Darcy Lewis
Kat Dennings starts the film with some great one liners and for a few moments you think she is the female lead in the film, as always though this wise cracking young star plays a wise cracking young back up to the main star, her performance is amusing and well maintained and in my view probably a tad stronger than Portman in the lead role.
Idris Elba - Heimdall
Elba, plays a gatekeeper with a strong sense of honour, he is solid and workman like throughout the film and has a strong sense of gravitas and purpose, the occasional one liner adds to a cracking performance from one of Britain's fastest developing screen talents.
I wasn't looking forward to seeing this at all, while I am a big fan of Marvel Comics, I do think there have been a number of hit and miss films from this stable, after Captain America another film so soon seemed churlish, but this is a superhero film directed by Kenneth Branagh, which shouldn't work but it really does.
Branagh viewed the films main events in a very Shakespearian way, looking at a hero cast out to understand his failings a doomed love affair between people from divided cultures and a villain torn by family issues.
What he then did was got an actor who looks like Thor and has the persona to match and surrounded him with a mixture of Hollywood stars and classic British actors, by doing so we can differentiate between the classic Asgard and earth easily.
The direction is excellent mixing visual effects and action seamlessly in a way which never detracts from the film, the actors are given time to develop their characters and the dialogue has a number of very good one liners whilst also being reasonably melodramatic. Stand out performers are Hemsworth as Thor and Tom Hiddleston as his tormented brother, but they are ably supported by Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Kat Dennings, Idris Elba and Rene Russo.
The film has enough nods and winks to other Marvel films, helping to build the plot for next years Avengers film with mentions of Tony Stark, an appearance from Hawkeye and a teaser for the film after the final credits, there are also cameos from famous comic book writers and Stan Lee (as always).
While this isn't one of the best superhero films, it is very enjoyable, the plot is well thought through and the cast and director clearly had fun making it, the story picks elements from the comic book without really building on them and there is an opening for future films in this franchise.
Thor: I need a horse!
Pet Store Clerk: We don't have horses. Just dogs, cats, birds.
Thor: Then give me one of those large enough to ride.
With a few exceptions, I love everything Marvel, although Thor was one character I never really got into until recently, when I read the original comic books featuring him. Later on in his comic existence, he became part of the Avengers, an elite group of superheroes united to defend our planet. To start with, though, he's just another Norse God from Asgard.
Thor, the Norse God of Thunder, was taken by Marvel and turned into a comic book character, complete with storylines. Living in Asgard, beyond our planet's boundaries, he's one of two sons of reigning God Odin, who chooses Thor as his heir despite his foolish and headstrong tendencies. No one can doubt Thor as a warrior, but he doesn't think things through and isn't very responsible. When he and some friends visit the Ice Giants to exact revenge for an attack on Asgard, they put into jeopardy an ages old agreement and truce between the two races. Banished from Asgard, Thor finds himself on earth, oblivious to the manipulating forces that have engineered his banishment for their own causes.
There are sinister goings on here, particularly with Thor's brother, Loki. He doesn't have Thor's brawn, but he has the brains to engineer his way onto the throne in Asgard. What I liked was the way that the characters were introduced as developed, Asgard and Nose mythology explained very well throughout the story. What I wasn't so fond of was the element of the film that took place on Earth. Thor's famous Hammer, which wields enormous power, is left stranded on Earth with only a worthy man able to pick it up, giving Thor the chance to prove his worth in the film. This is quite telegraphed, and there are no real surprises in the character development.
What is a surprise though is some of the little plot secrets that edge in before the end, and I thought these were done quite well. The scenes flick between Earth and Asgard, and for the most part the flow is kept going. The problem comes for the die hard fans who will notice some glaring errors in the characters. Natalie Portman's Jane Foster is good as the love interest, although her character and that of Chris Hemsworth's Thor don't meet like they're supposed to. There's no hidden identity like the comics do, although there is scope for this to come later, I suppose, and the involvement of the authorities serves more to help with the development of the imminent Avengers film and how Thor can interlink with all the other characters they've been developing of late.
It's perhaps the humour that keeps this going in terms of entertainment. Things are tongue in cheek, with Hemsworth's ye olde speak once on Earth providing the spark for a lot of it. A solid cast that knows how to poke humour into a film, such as Anthony Hopkins and Stellan Skarsgard, also helps along, with leads Hemsworth and Portman staying reliably solid. Perhaps the winner out of all of it though is Tom Hiddleston as Loki. He plays the mischievous God excellently, with the perfect balance of sinister and devious, keeping everyone on his good side while manipulating everything behind the scenes. I look forward to his involvement in the Avengers.
Is it worth a watch? Yes, definitely. There are a lot of impressive scenes when it comes to the action and special effects, and I loved the clear way the characters and Asgard were explained. It would have been easy to stick to a solely fan based film and launch in true to the comic book from the start, but introducing it like this has meant that they'll probably gain a wider audience and also stir things up a bit for the Avengers. I'm certainly looking forward to it. In the meantime, I'd be glad to watch this another couple of times while I'm waiting. Quick tip: hang around until after the credits for an extra short scene.
Now that Joss Whedon's "The Avengers" is official, has a cast, director and is well into production, it's about time we met some of the new Marvel superheroes. First up is "Thor," the Norse God of Thunder who wields his trademark hammer to fight evil. Unlike the many superheroes we've seen who originate from Earth, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is an actual God from a wholly different world, and has a lot of background information that needs to be explained to the audience. This is the first time he has ever been portrayed on screen in live-action, not a lot is known about him, so everyone needs to be up to speed before he can start kicking ass. And the director, Kenneth Branagh, is not afraid to jump straight in there, and show the magnificently designed universe of Asgard. There we see Thor's father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) the ruler of Asgard, his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and some lavish gold-painted set that truly raises the bar on what is now possible with modern day computer graphics.
Thor is an arrogant but talented warrior who enjoys nothing more than charging into battle with his trusty weapon. For years the people of Asgard have been in conflict the Frozen Giants and after a long period of war an uneasy truce was called by their leader Laufey (Colm Feore) and Odin. As is common for any film plot that involves two gifted siblings, Thor's problems stem from his jealous brother. Manipulated into betraying his father's orders by the cunning Loki who is an expert when it comes to twisting words, Thor's reckless behaviour threatens to destroy the unstable peace between the two races, and for this he is banished from the pretty Asgard to Earth (or New Mexico, U.S. to be more precise). With Thor gone Loki keeps himself busy trying to fulfill his master evil plan whilst Thor must adjust to life on Earth all the while trying to repent for his past mistakes and selfishness.
Scenes leading up to Thor's exile is comprehensively compact with some smooth voiceover work from Hopkins, and despite the hardship of having to sell and appeal some difficult names and childish sounding terminology, the first half-hour or so has an admirably focused tone that throws in some great action too. The choreography is excellent, demonstrating just how a single hammer can be used for all sorts of creative fantasy fighting skills. Side-kicks worth rooting for also appear - although their developments are kept to a bare minimum (we'll just have to settle for being told that they have been Thor's friends for years and are utterly loyal to him) when they are all thrown into action together, the pace and energy that surround them are hard to resist. The Warriors Three (Ray Stevenson, Joshua Dallas, Tadanobu Asano) and Sif (Jaimie Alexander) are their names and they form one heck of a team, taking on an army of Frost Giants just because Thor asks them to. An unexpected and surprisingly decent plot twist also creeps up early on in the film, something that puts more friction in the already volatile relationship between the two brothers.
It's on Earth where events take a sudden shift in tone and disappointingly, a drastic change in pace. Thor meets Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) a smart astrophysicist who instantly becomes a love interest for Thor. She takes keen interest in portals, stars and the existence of parallel worlds. Her team consists of Erik (Stellan Skarsgård) and Darcy (Kat Dennings) who provide some priceless comic relief (Dennings in particular) that was lacking in the more serious first section of the film. Thor obviously has trouble finding his way around the mysterious network of Planet Earth and his overtly confident attitude declaring to everyone that he is the great son of Odin (as if that is supposed to mean anything to the citizens of New Mexico) works well to loosen the reins a little and give our protagonist a breather from all the heavy action. We also learn that even a Nordic God cannot resist the effects of a tranquiliser or a taser gun. Hemsworth, who has no trouble convincing us that he is a well-trained mystical soldier of unimaginable strength (an aspect highlighted by his well-built physique) also shows he has the acting chops to handle comedy as well as to charm Portman.
Problems arise as Thor's journey for redemption and self-discovery begins and as we constantly go backwards and forwards between Earth and Asgard. It's an indisputable fact that Asgard is much better to look at, and it is filled with far more interesting characters and sinister events. Hopkins has many memorable scenes as he speaks his lines with conviction but also with warmth and heartfelt plea when necessary, a standout scene involving a heated argument between Odin and Loki, with the son questioning his true origins. It takes time for Hiddleston's character to build but when it does, the actor's portrayal of insecurity, vulnerability and instability combine to produce one engaging, complex villain. Even Rene Russo of the "Lethal Weapon 3/4" fame, playing the wife of Odin, is given the chance to pick up a sword and take a massive swing at a Frost Giant. Things down on Earth seem a lot more tepid than that: Thor's intentions and travels are not so clearly mapped out, and despite the actors' chemistry, the romance between Foster and Thor seems to develop based on hardly anything.
When it comes to the film's final act, when all is revealed and the fate of Asgard rests solely on Thor's ability to stop his brother from putting his crazy plan into action, given the amount of time that was put into explaining so many different concepts and everyone's hidden motives, the showdown between the two brothers is underwhelming, and it's a shame to see how so few people are involved in what must be the spotless kingdom's greatest threat. The graphics of course go overboard but in all the wrong places. It's a loud and often head-spinning sequence, with sharp colours and bright beams shooting out from everywhere (and remember, this is shown in 3D so the headache-inducing factor doubles), leading to a slightly chaotic finale that leaves some questions hanging.
But as a way of introducing a superhero we have never met before, Branagh has a respectable stab at the material. He involves all the right characters, sets the film up in the most gorgeous landscapes, and most important of all, has found the right leading man for a challenging part. At the end of the credits, a caption reading "Thor will return in The Avengers" pops up. And we can't wait to see Hemsworth standing alongside of Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner (who incidentally has a noticeable cameo in this film) in May 2012.
"Thor" is a 2011 American superhero movie based on the Marvel comics character of the same name and is the fourth film released as part of the "Marvel Cinematic Universe", it is directed by Kenneth Branagh and stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston and Anthony Hopkins.
The movie begins with a retrospective from 965AD where Odin ( Anthony Hopkins ) King of Asgard wages war against the frost giants of Jotunheim and their leader Laufey ( Colm Feore ), the warriors of Asgard defeat the frost giants and prevent them from taking over the 9 realms, including earth, while defeating them Odin takes the source of their power, the Casket of Ancient Winters.
Over a 1000 years later in the present day, Odin's son Thor ( Chris Hemsworth ) is preparing to ascend to the throne of Asgard and succeed his father, but his crowning moment is interrupted when the frost giants attempt to steal the casket, while unsuccessful Thor believes they should be punished and petitions for him and his companions to travel to Jotunheim and make the frost giants pay, Odin denies Thor's request but Thor disobeys him and travels to Jotunheim with his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), childhood friend Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and the Warriors Three; Volstagg (Ray Stevenson), Fandral (Joshua Dallas) and Hogun (Tadanobu Asano).
A battle ensues until Odin intervenes and saves the warriors, furious that he was disobeyed and realising that Thor isn't ready for the throne, he strips Thor of his powers and banishes him to Earth, sending seperately the "Hammer of Thor" which is the source of incredible power.
Thor lands on Earth and comes across astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), her assistant Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) and mentor Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård), and finds it difficult to adjust to earth's ways and having a lack of power, however when he learns that the Hammer has been discovered and is being guarded by the US Government he attempts to recover it, all the while back on Asgard things are changing for the worse and a power struggle is underway, Thor must try and regain his powers, along with defeating an enemy thats very close to home, and simultaneously protect his new home and new love interest.
I'm a huge fan of the Marvel Comics universe and loved the previous outings ( Ironman 1 and 2 and the Incredible Hulk ) and love what they're doing with each individual movie, leading onto an eventual Avengers movie, however as a Kid while I did read Ironman etc, I was never into the Thor comics and only glanced at them occasionally, and as such am not as familiar with the mythos as I am with other Marvel superheroes.
However it seems as though Kenneth Branagh has done a fine job directing and the scriptwriters seemed to have done a good job keeping the source material somewhat faithful from what i've heard, really what makes the movie is each individual Actor doing their job, Natalie Portman is great in her role and the supporting cast of Asgardians are all great in their roles, however Chris Hemsworth is extra special in his role as Thor and seemed to enjoy taking on the norse legend, ( even putting on a slight norse accent, unlike Tom Hiddleston who kept his English accent while portraying Loki ), and boy is Hemsworth in shape, there is no need for CGI here folks as he looks like a Norse god and seems to have been carved from granite.
I'm looking forward to the culmination of all the marvel universe movies when the Avengers comes out in a few years time, and while not my favourite character, its certainly an entertaining movie and will keep you watching right until the end
Thor I would say is the best superhero movie since The Dark Knight. I absolutely loved it! I wasn't expecting much when I went to see it because it hasn't been heavily publicised here in the UK unlike most big action blockbusters, I hadn't even seen the trailer. The film is based upon the comic, which tells the story of Thor, a God who is banished (for reasons I wont give away) from Asgard (a world of Gods) to Earth.
The visual effects in Thor are epic, particularly the scenes in Asgard, they help to express this magical and powerful world in all its glory. It is obvious there was a big budget to play with. The way in which the film frequently jumps from Earth to Asgard just exaggerates these great effects and manages to grasp the atmosphere and story in both worlds.
Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman give wonderful performances as the two lead characters. Hemsworth is an ideal choice as Thor, he is able to play the characters change in temperament quite easily, at the beginning of the film he is perceived as a strong, angry, hot headed and powerful God but throughout the movie we see his sensitive and vulnerable side as he settles in on Earth. He is also quite easy on the eye. Natalie Portman is her loveable self as she plays heroine.
There is also a little humour, which is always good. When Thor is first cast from Asgard and is living on Earth his language and Godlike exterior is quite funny as the characters on Earth just think he is drunk or just a crazy man.
I'm not a fan of the film in 3D though, my belief is just that it is an unnecessary money making scam. To be honest nothing in this film came out of the screen towards you, it is just a waste of money and resources! This however was the only disappointment. Thor combines a big budget action film with comedy and romance, I would definitely recommend it as an all round family film! Kids will love it too.
Writing a review for a film based on a comic scares me, as there are so many comic fans out there. There are countless ways I could offend, but I'm giving it a go anyway, the review solely based on the movie, because I just loved it!
'Thor' begins with telling us of a battle in 900AD between the Frost giants and the Asgardians. The Asgardians, led by King Odin (Anthony Hopkins), win the battle and take the Frost giant power casket storing it in a secure room in their realm among other important objects guarded by the 'Destroyer.' (A large robot)
King Odin has two sons, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) only one of whom can become King.
Many years after the battle, Thor, proved a successful and ambitious warrior, is set to take the throne and on the night of celebrations in the realm of Asgard, the secure room is breached by their old enemies before Odin can make the proclamation. The Destroyer proves effective and the enemies don't succeed, leaving Odin satisfied that no action would be necessary, protecting his people of the devastation of war.
Thor however is severely angered. Arrogant and always eager to fight he sets about asking his brother, his close friends and fellow warriors to accompany him to the frozen and crumbling planet of the Frost giants, Jotunheim.
Once there, they are goaded by King Laufrey (Colm Feore) of the Frost giants and a battle breaks out. It's a great scene which ends with King odin coming to save the day as Thor and the others become out-numbered despite their excellent fighting. Odin apologies to King Laufrey and takes the warriors home to Asgard.
Furious that Thor disobeyed his orders, Odin casts him out of the realm down to Earth, stripping him of his powers and of his 'Mjolnir' (his powerful hammer) announcing that only the worthy will be able to use it. Thor immediately lands in a desert on Earth followed closely behind by his hammer which he has no time to see or try and retrieve as he's ran over -repeatedly- and tazored by three scientists in fear, then rushed to a human hospital.
The hammer remains in the desert in a large crater, attracting the locals as they all try to remove it unsuccessfully, and then the Agents who immediately set up a perimeter around it.
Meanwhile on Asgard a turn of events see's King Odin fall into a coma and the Asgardians in danger not just from the Frost giants but from a betrayal as well.
I feel I shouldn't go on with the plot...
The ancient scenes of Asgard and Jotunheim shouldn't flow well into the modern scenes on Earth, but they do and it creates quite a bit of humour into the movie. When Thor is in the hospital, and obviously agitated he bellows that the nurses are no match for the mighty Thor, then is immediately struck with an anaesthetic needle. In another scene, Thor walks into a pet shop demanding a horse, this seems quite foolish but I found it hilarious. Hemsworth's on-screen charisma proved the actions believable and not too corney or cringe worthy to watch had it maybe have been with another actor.
There's no real written depth in the script of the character Thor maturing from the arrogant power hungry warrior that was cast out, to a man who is capable of becoming King of the Asgardians and claiming back his hammer. Chris Hemsworth's performance achieved this alone. From his loud and obnoxious manner in the beginning to his toned down sincere approach to events as he battles to save Asgard, words weren't needed but might have added more to the film.
I enjoyed everybody's performance but it was Thor and Loki that seemed to have the most character building roles. The two had enough depth they were believable and enjoyable, others such as 'The three warriors' Volstagg, Hogan and Fandral and the female warrior Sif, I would have liked to have seen more of them and know their stories and backgrounds more. Anthony Hopkins was obviously great, the man can do no wrong, I read or heard somewhere he'd improvised on a scene in this movie and had cast members and crew crying. No solid evidence, but I can believe it!
I also enjoyed Natalie Portman's portrayal of Dr Jane, Thor's love interest, who evidently helped him in his quest to mature and look at the bigger picture. Instead of the usual eye candy that accompanies the heroes, Natalie was eye candy and could act.
The sole villain, besides the Frost giants, in the story was played brilliantly, you follow their journey and kind of sympathise with the burst of hatred that is unleashed having discovered a secret. That added to the already brewing jealousy that was developed over time. I actually found myself feeling sorry for the person!
I really did enjoy 'Thor' and will be adding it to my DVD collection; I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys watching a variation of movies. It's not all action, nor all romance.
The superhero spectacular The Avengers has just began filming much to the joy of comic book fans everywhere. The team which consists of Earth's mightiest heroes includes the likes of Ironman and the Incredible Hulk who we have already seen on the big screen. Remaining members include Captain America, whose feature film is due out this year, and Thor the god of thunder which I am covering today. Out of the line-up I would have to say that Thor is my least favourite as I have always preferred superheroes with origins based on science over fantasy (even if the science is as implausible as getting powers from an irradiated spider's bite.)
My concerns that Thor would be the weakest of the superhero flicks mentioned above increased when I saw pictures prior to its release. The costumes the characters wore looked silly and I feared that the project would be one of those failures based on a property that works well on the comic book page, but doesn't transfer well into live action. After watching the film I am however pleased to report that there was nothing to fear. The outfits worn by the cast work in the context of the film and the finished product proved to be a fun start to the summer blockbuster season.
When the movie begins Thor, son of Odin, is about to be crowned king of Asguard (whose warriors are tasked with protecting the nine realms from Jotunheim's Frost Giants.) The coronation is disrupted when a small band of Front Giants infiltrates the palace and attempts to steal an artefact called "the casket of ancient winters." The theft is stopped, but Thor is not amused. He demands retribution for the attack, but his father decides to let it slide to preserve a truce between Asguard and Jotunheim. The arrogant Thor defies his father's wishes and travels to Jotunheim to teach the giants a lesson.
The attack doesn't go well for Thor and his companions (the warriors three and Sif) who after a spectacular battle are forced to retreat. Odin eventually rescues the group, but is furious with Thor's actions which have plunged the kingdom into war. He strips Thor of his powers and banishes him to Earth (harsh, this place is a dump.) Loki, Thor's brother, eventually takes over the throne which could spell trouble (he is the god of mischief after all.) When Thor discovers what is going on in Asguard he sets off to look for his hammer Mjolnir which can restore his powers. Will he prove himself worthy to wield it, return to Asguard and save the day? I'll leave that to you to find out should you choose to watch the film (which I think you should.)
You get around two hours of entertainment for your money and rarely a dull moment thanks to some good pacing. As you would expect from a superhero film you get treated to plenty of action particularly in the beginning and end (although there is some fighting at the mid-point when a powerless Thor tries to retrieve Mjolnir from the covert group SHIELD who those of you who have watched Ironman 2 should recognise.) The opening battle at Jotunheim was probably my favourite sequence in the film as it showcased some good effects displaying Thor's powers.
The finale's fights were also entertaining, but suffered from ending all too quickly and not living up to the standard of the Jotunheim opener. When Thor is on Earth we get a break from the action and get treated to a good dose of comedy. On an alien world and without his powers Thor comes across as a fish out of water which sets up some funny moments. During his time on our world Thor teams up with a group of scientists which include Jane Forster who develops into the love interest. I guess if the guys have macho action to enjoy we have to give the ladies some mushy stuff to get their teeth into (although I am sure they would be sufficiently entertained by Thor's impressive physique.)
Credit must go to the entire cast who all did a great job pulling off material which in lesser hands may have come across as silly. Anthony Hopkins is great as you would expect as Odin. He comes across as a no nonsense wise ruler who cares for his family and subjects. Australian Chris Hemsworth proved to be a good choice for the role of Thor. The film's hero is charming and likable despite being overconfident in his ability to resolve problems with brute force. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) on the other hand prefers to use brains over brawn. He plays a sneaky villain who manipulates others to achieve his aims. Although Loki does some evil things throughout the film he doesn't come across as a two dimensional bad guy. When his back story is revealed you can appreciate why he does the things he does.
The film's weakest area may have been the romance between Thor and Jane. Natalie Portman plays the role of Jane and does a good job (as you would expect from an Oscar winning actress) but she wasn't given much to do. There was certainly chemistry between Thor and Jane, but with everything that was happening there wasn't enough time to develop the relationship. It felt like a crush between two attractive people although at times the film tried to present the love as something deeper which I just couldn't buy.
Marvel Studios continue to impress me with their ability to adapt their comic book stars into watchable movies. I just wish they would avoid using their films to promote The Avengers. Although Thor is a self contained story they couldn't resist adding "Thor will return in The Avengers" at the very end which came across as tacky. Kenneth Branagh did a good job behind the camera telling a story that has elements Shakespeare which he is known for (such as the feud between Thor his father and brother.) To sum up, I was "shocked" by how much I enjoyed Thor the god of "lightning.*"
*Yeah he is the god of thunder so what? There's no need to be critical about a corny joke.
Review also posted on Ciao
It's Ironic, really. When Brit "luvvie" Kenneth Branagh was announced as the surprise choice to direct Thor a few eyebrows were raised. Given his immersion in the theatre and bringing Shakespeare to the masses, no-one doubted his ability to tell a tale. There were perhaps more question marks over his ability to direct a big budget, special-effects heavy blockbuster.
It's Ironic because in Marvel's Thor, it's actually the story element which Branagh fluffs slightly, whilst he handles the action and special effects like a veteran blockbuster creator. The story is a bit of a confused mess, derivative in parts and the constant switching of the action between Asgard and Earth a little disorientating. However, for the most part, it's also imbued with a tremendous sense of knowing fun, over the top theatricals and plenty of action which make up for any plot shortcomings.
The plot does make some assumptions that you are either familiar with Norse mythology generally, or know something about the Thor Marvel character and if you don't, you might find yourself scratching your head at the arts. In fairness, this balance is handled reasonably well. There is enough plot development to allow your average film-goer to enjoy things without having to concentrate too much, whilst there are sufficient similarities with the comics to keep fanboys vaguely happy (although, as with any comic adaptations, liberties have been taken).
In truth, the plot is not exactly tricky to understand: Following a long, uneasy truce, Thor's impetuous nature sees him re-start the war with Asgard's ancient enemy, the Frost Giants. His father Odin banishes him to Earth, stripping him of his powers and forcing him to live as a mortal in a strange realm. Inevitably, his friends both on Earth and in Asgard help him to fight back against his half-brother Loki, who has usurped the throne in Asgard.
As I said earlier, this is not exactly the most imaginative plot in the world. The idea of heroes stranded in a strange land, stripped of their powers is certainly nothing new. Indeed, at times, Thor seems to be on a mission to ape pretty much every comic book adaptation that has gone before it - but again, it is saved by the fact that it is all played out with a tremendous sense of fun and doesn't take itself seriously.
Thor was always going to be tricky to pull off, as it's not a property which will be immediately familiar to non-comic readers; indeed, even among comic readers, it's a niche character - the slightly cheesy tones and sometimes naff plotting has always put me off. On celluloid, though, Thor actually works quite well. From the trailer, it looked so cheesy I thought it should have been sponsored by Primula. And whilst it certainly has its moments, most (though not all) are deliberate. Thor never takes itself too seriously, but neither does it collapse into ridicule or self-parody. Instead, it maintains a nice blend of well-judged humour with some more "serious" moments and plenty of action. Like its hero, Thor is big, dumb and stupid... and great fun to be with.
Although a little slow to start (due to the inevitable need to set up the back-story) once the action kicks in, the film really takes off and Branagh shows an aptitude for delivering some impressive set pieces, making good (but not over the top) use of special effects. Asgard is highly impressive, looking sufficiently different to convince as another world, and some of the set-piece battles are well-handled. For a mid-range budget blockbuster, Thor punches well above its weight when it comes to causing jaws to drop and Thor has a very strong visual identity.
I watched Thor in 3D (a 2D version is also available) and was quietly impressed with the way it was used. As with Avatar, the 3D is used to give a sense of depth, something that immerses the viewer and puts them in the centre of the action.
True, the acting is not much to speak about. Chris Hemsworth (as the titular God of Thunder) is never going to set the Serious Hollywood alight. Then again, I suspect he wasn't really employed for his acting ability as he certainly looks the part. Hunky enough to get the ladies swooning, he's sufficiently muscular to pass muster as an action hero. Antony Hopkins is enjoying hamming things up as Odin and there's a nice mini cameo from Idris Elba as Heimdall, keeper of Asgard.
The human characters fare less well. Natalie Portman is rather blank and dull (and the world's least convincing scientist), whilst not enough is made of the far more promising Erik (Stellan Skarsgard). Still, there is some nice banter between them initially, although this does quickly fade as the characters slip into stereotypes that disappear under the shadow of the more interesting Asgardians.
Easily the best of the bunch, though, is Tom Hiddleston's Loki. He's not going to be everyone's taste as lead bad guy, since he's not the usual snarling, drooling monster. Indeed, Hiddleston's performance is so good that you find yourself feeling quite sympathetic towards him at times. His blank-eyed stare, calm demeanour and emotionless acting is arguably much too good a performance for a for a film like this and very much reminded me of Brad Dourif's creepy turn as Grima Wormtongue in The Two Towers.
Against the odds, Thor actually works surprisingly well. Sure, it's big, dumb and stupid, lacking the darkness and complexity of a Dark Knight or Spider-Man 2. But then most previous Marvel films have been about fun and it's a formula that seems to have worked for them so far. Thor continues this fine tradition churning out a crowd-pleaser that deserves its current place at the top of the Box Office charts. It's might not be Shakespeare, it might not even be the best superhero film ever produced, but it is fun.
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Running time: approx. 114 minutes
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