To describe myself as cautiously optimistic when walking into Thor would be technically accurate, but it would also disregard the nuances of my feelings towards the idea of a Thor movie. I’ve never been a big fan of Thor. Not that I ever disliked him, it’s just that he never appealed me. After Iron Man 1&2 proved that Marvel Studios could make good movies, I was looking forward to whatever they had to offer, until I found out Thor was next. I cringed at the thought. While I could see Iron Man and Captain America translating well to the big screen, Thor seemed to be a rather large risk. We’re talking about a blond Norse god gallivanting across the screen, talking Old English and sporting wings on his helmet. I mean, the guy’s driveway is a rainbow. Yeah, I could see this idea going very wrong. As casting and pictures trickled into the media, I slowly became more and more interested in what they were doing, but not quite enough to assuage all of my fears. I was dubious from announcement until I walked into theaters, but I was convinced to see it.
At this point I’m going to throw out a spoiler alert. If you haven’t seen the movie yet and want to know my overall impressions, skip to the bottom of the post.
First thing I want to talk about is the plot. It’s simple and straightforward; almost a carbon copy of every Hercules story. Thor is cocky and self sure, he goes to the frost giant’s world and starts a war. His Dad isn’t keen on wars, (considering he lost his eye in the last one, who can blame him?) so he banishes Thor to earth to learn a lesson. Loki, Thor’s brother and the villain of the tale takes Asgard over while Thor’s away. Despite the fact that the plot was a carbon copy The only issue in regards to plot occurs in the scenes where Thor is sent to earth. While the scenes in Asgard had events where lives and worlds we’re on the line, the scenes in New Mexico were underwhelming in comparison. The only concern on earth is the S.H.I.E.L.D. has Thor’s hammer. On earth is where the majority of the “fish out of water” comedic relief comes to pass, and while some of it is funny, at times it seems like they’re trying too hard. Also: Hawkeye!
All in all, I give the plot a 7/10. Simple, but very well done Also: Hawkeye needs a movie.
You can’t have a discussion about the characters of Thor without first talking about the casting. It seems like every character had the best actor for their character. Even the minor characters like the Warriors Three and Sif seem to be very well cast. Unfortunately, even though their acting is good the only roles that get attention are Thor, Loki and Jane Foster. Luckily, these are also some of the best cast in the movie. I nevertheless found the secondary characters to be a huge source of wasted potential. Thor, played by Kirk’s father from the new Star Trek, is able to convey both the brashness and the heart of the character without making him too unlikable or melodramatic. Portman’s role as Foster is also well performed, but Loki is the character that steals the show. Tom Hiddleston’s performance conveys all of the subtleties of Loki’s trickery and his envy of Thor without going over the top. We’re able to see the reasons behind what he did, making him the most sympathetic comic-movie villain I’ve seen.
Characters/Acting 7/10: Well done on all accounts, but the amount of wasted potential is a little disheartening.
The movie’s action scenes are probably my biggest gripe about the film. As a superhero movie featuring the god of thunder, you’d think we’d see some pretty spectacular fight scenes. Instead, we see Hemsworth fighting in the mud. The beginning fight of the movie is good, both showing us the abilities of Thor, Loki and the others, while letting us see them plaster the walls with frost giants. The middle fight scene was boring save for the moment that Hawkeye pops up. It’s main purpose is, if you ask me, to advertise for the Avengers movie. I wasn’t a fan. The fights at the end between Thor and the Destroyer and Thor and Loki are mostly anti climactic once Thor gets his hammer back. Once again, the final fights did have a redeeming moment. I almost died of laughter when Thor put Mjolnir on Loki’s chest.
All in all, the first scene was good, but they ended up jumping the shark with the action scenes: 3/10
Lastly, the environments and soundtrack of the movie. The movie did a good job of contrasting the two worlds visually. Asgard has an almost steampunk feel to it, lending to the subtle theme of magic=science that prevails in the Foster-Thor parts of the movie. The earth scenes take place in a small New Mexican town, one that looks like it was built for the movie. Even though Asgard was CGI, it actually felt more real than the Earth setting.
The music is very orchestral, contrasting Iron Man’s score drastically, as well it should. The advantage to the more traditional soundtrack gives the movie more opportunities to use the music to impact the audience.
Aside from the problems with the Earth setting, I loved the overall feeling of epicness the movie gave. 8/10
My overall impressions: I think the makers of this movie knew it would be easy to mess this movie up. I think they played it very cautiously, giving us a decent movie. If I were them, I probably would have played it the same way. In retrospect, however, They could have taken a few more risks, put a little more effort into the movie, and we would have had a movie on par with the first Iron Man.
Overall score: 8.3/10