Thor is yet another Marvel comic adaptation, as you will almost undoubtedly know there have been plenty of films being adapted from the comic book form in the past five years from Batman to Jonah Hex, some famous and some that can be found at the bottom of the barrel, even Spiderman is getting another reboot. Thor is the latest marvel comic adaptation that is quite good fun
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is an arrogant, loud, tough and rather stupid future king whose actions almost plummet Asgard into a state of war with the Frost Giants (the arch enemy of the Asgard natives). Thor's slaughter of many Frost Giants results in Thor being banished from the kingdom of Asgard by his father Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins) and sent to planet Earth. While lots of stuff is happening on Asgard, Thor is stuck on earth seemingly with no way back but a few helpful earthlings attempt to help him in the shape of Natalie Portman and Stellan Skarsgård.
Superhero/comic book movies do not need to be intelligent, in fact not all films have to be intelligent, and neither do superhero/comic book movies have to be dark, moody and serious as the rebooted Batman films are but it does help as the rebooted Batman franchise ranks as the two bests movies of the superhero genre (that I have seen). However they do have to be entertaining and luckily Thor is just that. Thor strides along at a brisk, leisurely pace that is almost over before you know it. Director Kenneth Branagh makes a change from directing Shakespeare's works and delivers a film in which the action is actually entertaining (though it has to be said that the best moments are not the GCI heavy action scenes but the first few scenes that Thor is on Earth). Branagh also delivers a film that has an entertaining main character and some generally good laughs.
Aussie Chris Hemsworth leads an impressive cast consisting of Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman (who gives a far better, more entertaining and comic performance than the one she gave in Your Highness). Hemsworth makes for a far more engaging superhero than Chris Evans (who starred in Captain America: The First Avenger which was released during the summer of 2011) and Ryan Reynolds (The Green Lantern) because has a personality, his arrogance in the first third of the movie may be slightly annoying but first impressions can change as he evolves into a likeable character. Anthony Hopkins hams it up ever so slightly as Odin and Stellan Skarsgård (who signed up for Thor as he said he would be bored if he did the same thing over and over again) gets a tad drunk when he has a drinking competition. No prizes for guessing who with and who won. Tom Hiddleston (who played Thor's brother Loki) rounds off the impressive cast list with a fine performance of his own.
Appropriately Chris Hemsworth has a big, booming, thunderous voice (he is playing the God of Thunder) and also appropriately for a film that involves the God of Thunder the movie is loud and full of some entertaining action sequences and emphatic set pieces which, without a doubt, will entertain the mainstream segments of the audience. Yet amongst the mostly enjoyable action sequences (of which there is plenty) is some humour, wit and a likeable factor that makes Thor an exciting film. Granted plotwise Thor is insane, all over the place and makes very little sense and there is by far too much reliance on GCI infested action sequences (which are entertaining but sometimes repetitive and tend to because less entertaining as more and more GCI is used). The first few scenes that Thor spends on Earth are the highlights and mark the moment when the movie kicks into gear. The scenes in which Thor is demanding a horse in a pet shop full of kittens and puppies, shouting about gods and Frost Giants in the middle of the street and having a few drinks are highly amusing.
Like Captain America, Thor maybe a starting block for a movie franchise that is going to bring in the dosh as Thor was both a critical and financial success. There are good performances from Hiddleston, Hemsworth and Portman who improves on her dreadful performance in Your Highness. A good balance of wit and humour and action scenes that are not the usual bland mess we are accustomed to seeing make Thor an enjoy romp and a genuine surprise as I was not expecting to be quite so entertained. It may take ten or twenty minutes to really have the hammer slammed down hard on enough to hit the bell on the top but when the bell dings the pace never slackens and the viewer is in for a ludicrous, camp, enjoyable romp
Thor out of five stars.