Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thor review

Directed by Kenneth Branagh
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgard, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg

As a whole, Thor is a competent film. It's fairly entertaining throughout its two hour running time and newcomer Chris Hemsworth gives a very solid job playing Thor. He's surprisingly watchable in what could be a fairly bland role. Unfortunately, there is a lot of blandness in this film and the odd blend of fantasy and realism (the transtitions from Asgard to Earth) are a bit jarring and they aren't very well-balanced. You will have super-serious "medieval" drama going on in Asgard and then cut to Earth and, look, Thor is a fish out of water! And we watch as the very forced relationship between he and Jane (Portman) develops (or doesn't develop). There are way too many flaws in this film, but luckily the action as well as the dynamic between Loki and Thor keeps the film from dipping into disaster territory.

So Thor is about to be promoted king when his father deems him unfit for the throne because of his brash, war-hungry attitude. He gets banished to Earth, his father relinquishes his powers and his trusty hammer gets banished to Earth as well. Thor winds up in Earth, a scientist named Jane (along with her team) discovers him and they have many questions. Jane immediately takes an interest in him because he's tall, muscular, handsome... and he just might have come from another planet. There are so many questions she has to ask him!

Unfortunately, the relationship between Jane and Thor does not develop naturally at all and of all the romantic interests in superhero films, this is perhaps the most contrived. It's a shame too because there is a very interesting story to tell here. You have Jane, the mortal scientist whose world is shaken by Thor's appearance. But, it never really goes there. The chemistry between Natalie Portman and Hemsorth isn't terrible, they do the best they can with the material they've been given, it's just very underwritten. Perhaps it could be further explored in a second film, but you can't judge a film by what'll happen in the next film. That's why I hate films like these; films that bank on the fact that there'll be a sequel. It's not that they have to wrap everything up by the end of the film, it's just they touch on some interesting plot points and they just don't really go anywhere.

The medieval part of the film is probably the best written and most focused part and even though the plot points are a bit predictable, it all pretty much works. With a superhero film, it goes without saying that you should check your brain at the door. You should try to suspend belief as much as possible. That's what this film is pretty much like. So, if you can do that, you're generally going to have a good time, but man this film does really have a lot of flaws and they're quite apparent from the get go. From the film's ham-handed first act to the interesting fish-out-of-water storyline which gets a bit tired by the third act, it really tries your patience. But if you can stomach its flaws, you're gonna have a pretty good time. Overall though, this film should've been a lot better than it was for a big tentpole superhero action film and on that basis, I can't quite recommend this film.

Rating: 6.5/10

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