Saturday, May 28, 2011
I don't go to the silver screen very often anymore, but there are some comic book films that I plan on seeing this summer. The first of these, which I saw last weekend, was Thor.
For all intents and purposes, Thor is really a glorified coming of age story. The film opens showing how the Norse gods found their way into mortal legend, and depicts Odin's (Anthony Hopkins) war against the Frost Giants as he tries to prevent them from conquering the realms. Odin and his warriors succeed at great cost, removing the Frost Giant's power source and securing it safely in the realm of Asgard so they may never arise as a threat again.
Flash forward to the present and Odin's son, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), is preparing to take his father's place as the king of Asgard. The ceremony is interrupted by an infiltration of Frost Giants and Thor, arrogant and hotheaded, takes his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and a few of his friends to the Frost Giant's home realm in search of answers and confrontation. With this expedition Thor openly defies his father, and for his actions Odin strips Thor of his powers and banishes him to Earth where he's forced to co-exist with "lesser" mortals.
One of these mortals is astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) who, along with her associates, encounters the banished Thor in a freak storm. While Thor is forced to accept his own new found mortality, it becomes clear that a far more sinister plot is in the works.
Thor is full of great action and special effects, and while I don't normally see flicks in 3D, I did just so happen to see Thor as such and I must say I was impressed. The 3D effects didn't feel tacked on or overdone, and there were a few moments when I caught myself starting to duck as some debris or Mjolnir flew my way.
Of course the effects, 3D or otherwise, is icing on the cake, and the most enjoyable part of Thor for me was Hemsworth's performance. As Thor he truly owned the role, delivering a charismatic performance of arrogance, humour, and humility without missing a beat. The way that all the "normal" people react around this over-the-top character was perfect, full of awkward humour and charm. One of my favourite scenes involves Thor going into a pet store demanding a horse, and upon learning that they only have dogs and cats he demands one of them. Large enough for riding.
I also really loved the film's art and costume design. Asgard was beautifully done looking both beautiful and ancient in one, and this quality extends to the costumes as well. Thor's armour looks great, functional and heroic, while Loki's looks darker and sinister in comparison. A good use of colour balance in both respects.
While Thor certainly isn't an overly complicated film, it was extremely entertaining. Great fight sequences, a simple comic book plot, and strong performances guaranteed that it was an evening well spent. I honestly can't remember the last time I was this entertained in theatres, and I can only hope that Thor marks the beginning of a resurrange of strong, enjoyable films coming to theatres.