Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Already Craving More Thor
I was excited to see Thor in the sense that I hadn't been to the theater in about 14 days, which for me is an extremely long time; however, after witnessing the trailers, I wasn't sure how great the movie would be. But what happened is the best thing that can happen when one pays $9.50 to see a film: pleasant surprise. It's all a bit confusing at first if you are not familiar with the mythology of Thor. The film starts out on Earth, where Thor is discovered after he is transported by some sort of Terminator-style portal. Fortunately without Arnold's naked ass. Thor switches gears quickly, after just a few minutes, to show us a long sequence of events that lead to him landing on Earth. You see, Thor is from another realm called Asgard (a porn film title parody in the making), where the Asgardians have been waging war with the Frost Giants for centuries. The Frost Giants are scary, big, badass creatures who can freeze people and things in place and then shatter them, which makes for some extremely cool special effects. Thor's dad, Odin (acted beautifully by Anthony Hopkins), is the king of this realm, and basically sends Thor to Earth in an act of humility (Thor had recently attacked the ice creatures in an act of aggression), to show him that being cocky and aggressive isn't the right way to be King, which Thor is first-in-line to become. He also strips Thor of his legendary weapon, a hammer, as it is also sent to Earth, and Thor must earn the right to wield it again. Rereading this paragraph, I know it sounds kind of lame and corny. But with the Shakespearean themes of love, humility and troubled families, the incredibly cool, loud and original special effects, and the interesting direction of Kenneth Branagh, Thor's quality rises above the poo wave of previous below-average superhero incarnations.
I haven't even explored the family drama between Thor and his brother that is the essence of much of the plot, and I won't here. To watch the drama is better than to explain it. Thor is just the fourth movie that Marvel has produced on their own (after the two Iron Man films and the lesser The Incredible Hulk). They have clearly hit their stride. Thor hits you like the blunt head of a hammer: it's interesting, original, and the special effects are unlike anything I have seen recently. Branagh's direction, specifically the friction of family that echoes his previous Shakespeare efforts, works much better than expected in the superhero genre. Above all, it's entertaining, which is the key to creating successful summer blockbusters. (B+)