Sr Gregor brings the hammer (and no, the hammer is not his ....)
Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence.
Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston
Mark Protosevich, Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz
Two Worlds, One Hero
The Marvel franchise has had mixed success in getting their iconic characters out into the big screen in the past decade or so. Spiderman 1 and 2, Ed Norton's Incredible Hulk, and the X-Men franchise are examples of solid representations of the comic book material brought to life. Elektra, Ang Lee's Hulk, and Spiderman 3 are definitely on the opposite side of the spectrum. So it was with a bit of trepidation that I bought my ticket for this flick.
With the big red cape and otherworldly strongman-made-defender-of-the-Earth mythos having long been the bastion of Superman and DC Comics, I had more than a little curiosity at how they would distinguish the Norse God of Thunder. At the heart of the comic book origin story lay a story of a fall from pride and redemption of the human spirit. It is good grist to make a lovely two-hour entertainment meal out of. What Marvel Studios delivers, unfortunately, falls just short of that.
Don't get me wrong, it's not a complete waste. Chris Hemsworth is surprisingly charming and affable. And he certainly plays the prideful warrior youth that the role calls for at the start of the story. If the fault lies anywhere, I'd have to say its with the writing and/or editing. Thor's transformation from headstrong musclejock to compassionate guardian of the people comes more or less from no where. The audience is expected to follow along as he discovers he's unworthy of picking up his hammer (which shouldn't really have come as a surprise to him) and a day later his Asgardian adventuring companions (the Warriors Three and Lady Sif, played admirably by Ray Stevenson, Josh Dalls, Tadanobu Asano, and the lovely Jaimie Alexander) inform him that he's been betrayed and lied to by his brother. Where the comics track a discovery of the nobility of the human spirit to fight on in spite the challenges of their mortal frailties, the movie seems to suggest that Thor thinks a chick is kinda nice to him, and kinda cute, so to heck with it, let's save the world. Too short, too fast, and so too stilted.
The performances by all of the players ranged from phoning it in (Hopkins as Odin is largely wasted, in my opinion) to surprising (Hiddleston as Loki was superb). The story wasn't terrible, just much more linear and rushed than I wanted. And surprisingly, the bright spots in my mind are the showcasing of talents I wasn't familiar with: Hemsworth, the Warriors, Alexander, Hiddleston. The "studio stars" (Hopkins, Portman, Rene Russo as Frigga) didn't add anything to the mix that suggested those roles needed
to be filled by their star power. Overall, worth seeing in the theater in 2D (between Avatar and Tron, I've definitely decided 3D is highly overrated) as a matinee, probably not worth paying a premium ticket for, but overall entertaining.