Thor (2011)

Marvel films have become a staple for any movie fan’s diet over the past few years. We’ve had some bloody fantastic ones; Spiderman 2, Iron Man and the second X-Men to name a few; and we’ve had some pretty rubbish ones, Hulk, The Fantastic Four and Spiderman 3 are ones that spring to mind.

Here we stand, two years before the release of the much anticipated Avengers movie and the latest offering from Marvel blasts onto our screens: Thor, but is it a success?

Kenneth ‘Thespian’ Brannagh helms this more unknown superhero flick and surprisingly with his track record of Shakespearean cinema, makes one hell of a film.

Chris Hemsworth from Home & Away stars as the Viking god himself and is the perfect choice for the role; I can’t think of anyone better suited to playing him. 6 foot 6 with blonde hair and blue eyes, come on; it can’t just be a coincidence surely? Natalie Portman (Black Swan) and Stellen Skarsgard (Mamma Mia) also star but are unfortunately largely forgettable; Portman certainly won’t be receiving an Oscar for her performance here.

Thor takes place in the fictional realm of Asgard, ruled by an ill looking, but perfect as usual Anthony Hopkins as King Odin. Of course Asgard is created via special effects and these are flawless; from the rainbow bridge that connects that world to Earth, to the sweeping shots of the enemy Frost Giant’s home. It is here, in this beautiful place that Thor really shines, the story is dense and succinct with beautiful performances from all
the actors. The sheer scope of the film is literally immense and this could’ve dwarfed the characters, but thankfully it doesn’t.

Unfortunately, Thor’s banishment to Earth for reckless behaviour isn’t as exciting and these portions of the film feel a little flat in comparison to the bright lights of Asgard. Thankfully, Hemsworth makes sure that the usual Marvel humour is included which stops these scenes from being a complete failure. Portman and Skarsgard feel lost next to Hemsworth’s fantastic characterisation which is unfortunate as they have both proved themselves to be brilliant actors.

The constant tie-in’s with the upcoming Avengers film are shameless and an obvious marketing probe but they do little to detract from the film itself, the inclusion of S.H.I.E.L.D doesn’t feel as laboured as it could have done and thankfully they play a good part in the film – even if it is in the less interesting Earth scenes.

Thor is a film as mighty as the legendary hammer its title character uses; it’s loud, occasionally obnoxious and unashamedly reliant on special effects, more-so than any other Marvel film, but this time, it works.

Kenneth Brannagh’s influence is apparent from the off, with the Shakespearean narrative at the beginning being a real highlight of the film. Thankfully, the highlights don’t stop there and apart from a few lapses in judgement, the film steamrolls itself to a decent, if little underwhelming climax.

Overall, Thor is fabulous, a really good attempt at creating a brilliant film from a rather unknown superhero. If Iron Man hadn’t been released, it would most definitely be the best of the Marvel films to date, as a result, it comes a really close second. A real treat!


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