Summer season is officially on (at least cinematically), and I’m glad to report that the first blockbuster of the year is actually a lot of fun. And eventhough he lacks the profile of Spiderman or even Iron Man, Thor (a.k.a The God of Thunder) is easily one of the best superhero movies since “The Dark Knight”. And unlike “Iron Man 2”, “Thor” has plenty of pedigree: it’s directed by Kenneth Branagh (“Henry V”, “Frankenstein”), and stars Anthony Hopkins (in a role he was born to play), Natalie Portman (yep she’s in it too), and Aussie actor Chris Hemsworth who is fantastic as the mighty God of Thunder. Not only does he meet the physical requirements for the role, but also succeeds in providing a comedic side (which certainly worked for the benefit of the picture). When we first meet him, he’s arrogant, reckless, and very dangerous. But he’s also very brave, which is why we root for him every step of the way. Thor finds himself banished to earth by his father Odin, and stripped of his powers after his arrogance and hasty decision making cause him to declare war against the Frost Giants. On earth, he befriends scientists Jane Foster (Portman), Darcy Lewis, and Eric Selvig. Meanwhile, we learn that his brother Loki has got his eyes set on his father’s throne, and that he might be plotting to get rid of Thor for good. I’ll say no more, except that director Kenneth Branagh has an incredible eye for details. The contrast between the two worlds (Asgard and Earth) is certainly one of the most fascinating things about the movie. With 3D, Asgard is simply beautiful to look at, in particular the bridge that links the two worlds together. Prepare to be blown away, big time.
Visual experience aside, “Thor” is a thrilling and very entertaining comic book adaptation. It’s a dazzling example of a superhero movie done right, and I don’t think anybody could have pulled it off better than Chris Hemsworth in the lead. He’s tough, funny, and extremely talented. The dude was basically an unknown until now, but with “Thor”, this could be his ticket into the big league. The only complaint however is that there’s not enough of him in action (he spends most if his time on earth with no powers at all), but considering this is an origin movie, there is sure to be a lot more in the sequel. Bring on part two!
Categories: The Twenty-First Century