Sunday, April 26, 2015

Movie Review: "Thor" (2011)

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Director: Kenneth Branagh
Year: 2011
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is from a race of superhumans that live in a realm called Asgard and serve as protectors of the Nine Realms. The Asgardians were worshiped by early Scandinavians as Gods. Thor is the heir to the throne of Asgard, but when a group of Frost Giants break into their vault, Thor is quick to want revenge, even at the risk of all out war. Thor launches an assault on the Ice Giant planet, and as punishment, Thor's father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) strips Thor of his powers and banishes him to Earth. In Thor's absence, Odin is stricken ill and his adopted son Loki (Tom Hiddleston) takes the throne. Loki makes a deal with the Frost Giants to take Odin out permanently, and he decides to try and attack and kill Thor on Earth while he's mortal to secure his permanent place on the throne. Thor must regain his powers to defeat Loki, save Earth and save his father. 

"Thor" is the 4th film in the Marvel Expanded Cinematic Universe. Though all the films in this series are fantastical, Thor is the first character to be extraterrestrial, as well as the first one to naturally have superhuman powers. This movie is all about the origin story and character development of Thor himself, with a couple of cameos thrown in here and there. It also serves to introduce fans to the concept of the Nine Realms and Asgard, which will come up again and be revisited, as well as tie into other Marvel films yet to come in the series. Thor, while he is on Earth, is a comedic fish out of water. He begins the movie as a massively arrogant god who is used to having powers with no restraints on them. Once on Earth, he doesn't understand the social customs of our planet, which creates some awkward but funny moments. He must come to terms with his new mortality, and this also leads to some comedic moments where he overestimates his abilities as a mortal and ends up flopping at whatever he's doing. This is a good way for Thor to learn some humility and will hopefully aid him in his new-found quest to earn redemption in the eyes of his father, who wants to put his trust and faith into him, but can't unless he learns to control himself.

Chris Hemsworth, keeping on track with Marvel's excellent casting record, was the perfect choice for Thor and it seems like he was born to play the part. Hemsworth has it all: the physical looks of a deity, the sultry, luscious voice which can be both puny and intimidatingly verbose, and the ability to be both arrogant and charming when he wants to be. Loki is also introduced in this movie as a slightly sympathetic villain. Tom Hiddleston steals the show as he displays a large acting range from jealousy and envy to empathy and heartache. He has the desire to be loved and he is also quite the charmer, too, which works well with his deceptive nature. Thor and Loki have some awesome scenes together and these two gentlemen make this flick all the more fun. Natalie Portman also stars in this movie and plays the part of Thor's love interest, scientist Dr. Jane Foster. It's not that she isn't right for the role, but Portman just seems like someone who thinks she is above doing a Marvel movie, like she is only in this role for a quick, expensive pay day. Her and Chris Hemsworth have a decent enough story together, but it's nothing short of what Disney has pandered to kids for decades. Stellan Skarsgard makes his series debut with his reoccurring character Dr. Eric Selvig, who pops up many times from here on out and serves as a brainiac and another source of comedic relief. Jeremy Renner does has a brief cameo, too, introducing his Avenger, Agent Clint "Hawkeye" Barton. Idris Elba, Kat Dennings and Anthony Hopkins are also in this movie and do fine in their parts, though Dennings serves a more useless assistant role compared to the other two, who have much great positions of power.

"Thor" winds up being a good mix of action, sci-fi and comedy with just the right sprinkling of drama and emotion. The special effects are amazing, the story is compelling, and the tie-in with Thor to the Avengers is set early on. We really, really like this movie and find it a fun, entertaining and easy film to watch.

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 9/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 77%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!
For our "Iron Man" review, click here.

For our "The Incredible Hulk" review, click here.

For our "Iron Man 2" review, click here.

For our "Captain America: The First Avenger" review, click here.

For our "The Avengers" review, click here.

For our "Iron Man 3" review, click here.

For our "Thor: The Dark World" review, click here.

For our "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" review, click here.

For our "Guardians of the Galaxy" review, click here.

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