Director: Kenneth Branagh
Producer: Kevin Feige
Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy
Release Date: May 6, 2011
Format: IMAX 3D
Runtime: 115 Minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Jaimie Alexander, and Anthony Hopkins
Synopsis (Product Description):
Exiled to Earth after his arrogance fans the flames of an ancient conflict, The Mighty Thor of Asgard discovers the meaning of humility when a powerful old foe dispatches a destructive force to crush humanity. Only when the banished prince has defeated an opponent capable of crushing him in battle will he learn what it takes to be a true leader.
The last several years have seen a renaissance of the superhero movie and there’s never been a better time to be a comic book fanboy. This is in no small part due to Marvel Studios pulling out all the stops in its efforts to bring its stellar list of heroes and rogues to the big screen. Now it’s Thor’s turn and it lives up to the hype. It brings a cosmic element to the Marvel films and conitinues setting the stage for next year’s Avengers movie. Thor is action packed, and has stellar performances that showcase a tremendously talented cast.
Directed by Kenneth Brannaugh and starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston and Sir Anthony Hopkins, Thor overcame a lot of naysayers who questioned how Thor would fare on the big screen. Marvel has tweeked and updated Thor’s origins to better suit the 21st centrury audience. In the comics Thor is the Norse god of thunder who wields the magical hammer called Mjolnir. In his movie incarnation, Thor and his fellow “gods” are actually super advanced beings, who as Thor explains, come from, Asgard, a place where science and magic are one and the same. We mortals dwell in the realm of Midgard, one of the nine known realms. The frost giants of Jutenheim have been at war with Asgard for a millenium. That war occasionally spilled out to Midgard and the Asgardians led by Odin defended our primitive ancestors, who perceived the Asgardians as gods.
In our time Thor Odinson is a brash young god, hier to the throne of Asgard. He’s Asgard’s greatest warrior, but he is also arrogant and headstrong. Thor’s rash actions result in his banishment to Midgard, where he is powerless, but not helpless, while back home Thor’s dysfunctional family is engaged in cosmic political intrigue with consequences on an interplanetary scale. Fantastic special effects and art direction bring the story to life. Besides its amazing action sequences, Thor succeeds in bringing Asgard, home of the gods to gleaming life. Part of the set was on on display at the San Diego 2010 Comicon, which was impressive, but on the big screen it’s truly unique and awesome. When you see the halls of Asgard for the first time you will be suitably impressed.
The film is split equally between the more cosmic settings of Asgard and Jutenheim and the more mundane Midgard. I’ve seen some reviews that have taken issue with the lack of action in the more earthbound parts of the movie, and I could not disagree more as much of this is devoted to genuine character development. Thor is not an ideal hero, and in true Marvel tradition he has his faults, which in his case, are arrogance and rushing into things with a disregard for the consequences of his actions. Thor’s actions while he’s grounded on earth are some of the most entertaining parts of the movie. It provides for some comic relief and genuinely funny moments as a six and a half foot god used to flying from place to place has to cope with hitching a ride like us mere mortals.
Finally, the performances are worth a special mention. The actors here all brought their A-game. Chris Hemsworth owns the role of Thor and is now as synonymous with this character as Robert Downey Jr. is with Tony Stark. Anthony Hopkins’ rendition of Odin is brilliant and he steals scenes like a master thief. Tom Hiddleston, who plays Loki, also does a tremendous job. As with all modern Marvel movies, stick around until after the credits roll. There’s always an important scene that sets the stage for the next movie.
Thor is a winner and has set a thunderous pace for the summer movie season. Fortunately, Marvel will mostly be competing against itself with the impending release of X-men First Class and Captain America.
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