I recently went and saw the new Thor movie from Marvel Entertainment and I have to say that I liked it. I liked it quite a lot actually. I won’t say that I was expecting Thor to disappoint, but I was kind of expecting it to be a film that wouldn’t engage me on the same level as something like, say, the first Iron Man movie, but it did come pretty darn close. Actually, I think it is in large part due to the parameters established by the first two Iron Man movies and their way of tying the various characters of the Marvel universe into the Marvel movie-verse in an effective and engaging way, that gave Thor the chance to be as enjoyable a movie as it turned out to be. For example, one of the stars cast for next Summers Avengers movie as a member of the super hero team makes an early surprise appearance here and it really works because we have already been conditioned to accept (and almost to expect) this kind of cross pollination in the overall Marvel movie franchise.
So how does Thor stand based on its own merits?
The movie is pretty decent as far as comic book adaptions go. It toes the line between being faithful to the core source material and being original and fresh enough to not seem too weighed down by ideas and concepts that might not translate very well to film. For every Jack Kirby inspired Asgard moment we get we are also given an equal balance of modern jaded or cynical views of society to remind us of how far removed we have become from the Nordic Gods and their ideals.
The Direction of the film works for me. Kenneth Branagh has delivered some very dramatic work both in front of and behind the camera in the past and brings that experience to bear here. I did not feel that there were too many times when the scenery and special effects threatened to overwhelm the storyline and storytelling. I also appreciated that Branagh gave most of his characters fair – if not equal – time in front of the camera. Of course Chis Hemsworth as Thor, Tom Hiddleston as Loki and Natalie Portman as Jane Foster are going to be front and center, but supporting characters such as Anthony Hopkins as Thor and Loki’s All-Father Odin as well as the Warriors three and even some of Jane Foster’s companions were given ample time to shine throughout the story. And of course, Clark Gregg reprises his role as SHIELD Agent Coulson and shows that he can be entertaining even without Samuel Jackason or Robert Downey Jr. to bounce scenes off of.
The story was a success for me because it got from point A to point B in an entertaining manner without relying stoo heavily on CGI to do it and also because it did so without making me look at my watch every once and awhile (such time checks are often a sure sign that a movie is moving too slowly for my liking and likely for most of the audience).
Of course since this is amovie about the god of Thunder, you have to expect a liberal amount of CGI throughout and that way I was not disappointed. I made conscious decision going in to see the ‘2-D’ version of the film because it was originally planned and shot as such and so I wanted to see it that way and be able to judge it on its own merits without any headache inducing distractions being present. Honestly, except for a few scenes early on, I don’t believe that I missed much in that regard.
As with all self produced Marvel movies so far, we are given the obligatory post credits scene that is intended to help build buzz and anticipation for the next Marvel movie effort, however this time around, I could not help but feel that the scene was laying some more ground work for next Summer’s Marvel Avengers movie than it was helping to set up the upcoming Captain America movie that comes out late in July.