Unreal Movie Review: Thor

3.5 out of 5 stars

Which one of these things is not like the other?

Even in a world full of fantastical comic creations, there’s a vast difference between, “oh this guy’s really good at building power armor, this guy got mutated by radiation, this guy got injected with super steroids” and “HOLY SHIT ALIENS EXIST AND THEY’RE VIKINGS!”

Thor was always going to be the odd duck of the Avengers, and many worried that the mythology was too crazy and his story too over the top for his tale to work on screen.

It does, to a certain extent, but the film is about a thousand times more epic than any Marvel film before it. It’s not just a human building or stumbling upon a way to become powerful, it’s an epic ballad about multiple intergalactic civilizations, huge scale wars and the destruction of entire planets. In a superhero film, I can’t remember the stakes being higher.

“What’s up bitches? I’m Thor.”

Unlike most origin films, here Thor (Chris Hemsworth) starts at the top of his game. He’s the cocky young heir to the throne of Asgard, the mythical floating city-planet that resembles what human society might look like fast forwarded 10,000 years in the future. It’s described as a place where “science and magic are one in the same,” and outside of that, we don’t really need a detailed explanation of why exactly a hammer can make you fly, or any of the other technological wonderments that appear in the society. They’re just a really advanced race, and they happen to all look like attractive humans. Deal with it, OK?

Thor is about to be appointed future king by his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins), when an old enemy emerges in the vault of Asgard, attempting to steal a relic won in a battle long ago. The Frost Giants are rather tall, rather mean beings from yet another planet, and they seek an item taken from them in order to restore their lost society. The security system decimates them as they get close, but Thor takes their invasion as an actor of war, and against his father’s orders, teleports his way to their planet with a few friends and starts kicking ass and taking names.

In an incredibly epic battle, and the only one in the film where Thor actually gets to use his hammer convincingly. In the aftermath, the long-standing peace treaty with the Frost Giants is shattered, and Odin banishes Thor to earth, stripped of his powers. There he meets a young physicist named Jane (Natalie Portman) investigating the celestial event that led to his arrival, and back at home, Thor’s brother, the deceitful Loki (Tom Hiddleston), does what he can to secure the throne for himself. Meanwhile, his mighty hammer Mjolnir has also fallen to earth, and a SHIELD team led by the familiar Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) fail to extract it from the earth. Thor must prove himself worthy to wield it once again.

If he was standing in front of you in real life, you’d be an ice cube.

The film feels like two different movies the majority of the time. Asgard is a wonderment of CGI, in an age where I’m supposed to stop being impressed by those sorts of things. It’s a futuristic society that isn’t dystopian for a change, and simply put, it’s stunningly beautiful.

Earth is well, Earth. After Thor’s arrival, there are a host of gags showcasing what sort of trouble a “god on earth” might get himself into. He spikes down a coffee cup on the floor to ask for another, he tries to be a horse from a pet store to ride out to find his hammer. These are genuinely funny moments, but after the initial humor of it, the Earth sequences start to get a bit boring.

It doesn’t help that Natalie Portman’s character is unfortunately one of the most useless love interests in superhero history. She spends her scenes alternating between being upset with SHIELD for taking all her equipment used to track Thor’s arrival, and ogling at the newly arrived man-god’s gorgeous form. Even BEFORE his unlikely story is proven true, there’s not a scene with the two of them where she’s not grinning like an idiot at his mere presence. Somehow her unrelenting adoration turns the cocky asshole into a decent guy by the end, but her role is very one dimensional for the duration.

“Oh Thor, you so dreamy!”

That’s actually the problem with every character in the film. They all feel flat, even Thor. Similar to Jane, he has only two modes, arrogant and heroic, and there’s not much more to him than that. The transformation from one to the other is expected, and there’s no real depth to his character. Hemsworth is fine in the part, and clearly looks it, but he’s not given terribly much to work with.

The same was ALMOST not true for his brother Loki, who comes dangerously close to having dimension in the film. At first he seems like a loyal son and brother who just loses his way , but eventually it becomes clear he’s just a really evil SOB, and has been the entire time. His plotline has about three too many twists and reveals, and by the end, I barely understood the motivation for his actions at all.

Jumping from Asgard to the Ice Planet to Earth and back again, Thor feels like a very schizophrenic film populated by very flat characters. The visuals are great, the jokes are funny, the action is epic, but there’s just something missing here to give it that “Iron Man” touch that makes it a truly memorable entry in the overcrowded superhero genre. I also think it’s a negative that these movies are being so obviously set up for The Avengers, and the forced cliffhanger at the end feels unsatisfying.

It could have gone a lot worse, as this is probably Marvel’s toughest big hero to tackle due to his crazy mythology. They’ve done their best here, and it makes for an enjoyable feature, but the end result is far from godlike, and must be content with being a flawed mortal production.

3.5 out of 5 stars


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  1. I agree with you about the lack of depth, but I didn’t mind at all. The movie is light and fun and I really enjoyed it. Especially the Asgard scenes were stunning.

    Btw, Hawkeye also makes an appearance in the movie.

  2. We’re getting so many hero movies lately that my barometer of “good” superhero movie goes something like this: “well, it was better than Ironman 2.”

    I did like Thor even though there isn’t anything particularly memorable. I did really like the Asgard scenes too.

  3. Why are we looking for depth in a superhero movie? When come from a generation of comic readers who’s only comicbook movie was Dolf Lundren’s Punisher, you tend to not bee so critical of these movies and enjoy them for what they are…freaking superheroes on the movie screen.

  4. Allright, enough of the nerdy stuff.

    What I want to know: how does the song ‘Walk’ of the Foo Fighters work in this movie? The song is absolutely awesome, and I heard that the Foo’s got asked to use it in Thor (apparently it plays in a bar scene, when Thor has landed on earth and is robbed of his powers, or something like it). Does it work well, bad, or just meh, barely heard it, or: could’ve easily been another song?

  5. @hbcupride.deco-printing.com
    That sentiment would be perfectly acceptable if it weren’t for Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies. He showed that superhero movies can transcend the idea of “they’re superheroes on the screen. What else did you expect?” And become great films and pieces of art. The dark knight and iron man to a lesser degree really set the bar so high that when something falls short of excellence, critics come off sounding like they didn’t like the movie they are reviewing, Thor in this case. When in reality I’m sure they really liked it.

  6. I am your fan, but this review disappoints me. Just another review trying to prove a nonsensical point to everyone to be “in” like all the other douchebags out there.
    Don’t do reviews like this anymore. This is beneath you. I was looking forward to something with more substance. I thought you really delved deep into the movie but it was, again, just like any normal review trying to get attention.
    Still love your site though!

  7. I loved the intensity in the arguments occurring in Asgard. They actually felt like arguments between gods. Besides that, it was just a simple film, and I am perfectly OK with that. My guess is that the real emotional leaders of the Avengers will be Tony and Cap, so Thor does not really need to be that deep in my opinion.

    I kind of agree on the after the credits scene. I’m not too knowledgeable in my comic story lines, but I have no idea what that cube was, or what Loki’s role will be in the Avengers. I half expected some remnant of the infinity gauntlet to be in that case. Apparently the “cosmic cube” can be seen in Howard Stark’s notes in IM 2 as well. Apparently Red Skull gets hold of it at some point so I wonder if he will play a major role in the Avengers as well. It seems like there is some connection with the cube and the Infinity Gauntlet storyline, so who knows, maybe that initial rumor was right.

    I liked the Hawkeye cameo, but how is he going to fit in with the Avengers? He was basically just a skilled archer in Thor which would put him pretty far below his teammates in terms of power.

  8. Thor was a truly great movie. But 3 things impressed me most about

    1 Sif played by Jaimie Alexander was beyond awesome and together with the Warrior Three provided one if not the best supporting characters in any super hero movie. Not only can they hold their own in a fight buy you can feel the true friendship between them. Something very rare for a chemistry that powerful. I would personally rather see a movie dedicated solely to Thor, Sif and the Warrior three going on quests then the Avengers

    2 Asgard. I think this if the first truly epic fantasy setting I have seen. Usually we gypped and the supposedly powerful and mythical kingdoms usually end up looking like in LOTR. Either one cool looking Castle like in Gondor or the Xena appraoch like in Rohan . In both cases it looks weak. But not with Asgard. This city eclipses anything we have on Earth and we can truly feel it’s power and magnificence

    3 Loki. He is the best villain in any comic book hero till now. And before the TDK fansboys start a riot yes the Jokers was charismatic but he was an utter Mary Sue . Not so with Loki who is truly superb in the role and manages to come as truly intriguing and realistic


    Jaimie Alexander with Kat Dennings chest? No problem. That’s what we have push up bras for. Considering they can’t show nude anyway if they want to avoid an R rating it’s the perfect solution 😉

  9. To me, it kind of felt rushed at times, but was good for what it was: a popcorn movie. However, even with no knowledge of the comics, I still thought that it felt like two movies smooshed together. It could have easily been split into two; like, one half on earth and the other in Asgard. Not only that, but it was a bit unsettling to see that the side characters were more interesting than the main ones (the gatekeeper guy who’s name escapes me comes to mind). But in the end, it was fairly fun. But something this epic doesn’t deserve to be crumpled into a short popcorn movie.

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