Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Thor: A Review

"I need a horse!"

Thor in Thor (2011)

Marvel Thor Poster
I am glad the the poster's designer resisted the urge to add lightning to the background.

The first thing I did on the morning I returned from India (literally just hours after my plane touch terra firma) was to drive to a cinema and buy myself tickets for two shows back to back. One of those tickets was for Thor, the latest Marvel superhero movie set in the Avengers' universe which the Iron Man and Hulk films also share. Lucky for us in Malaysia, we get to see it a week earlier than the Americans and the coincidence that it premiered here on a Thursday - Thor's Day - did not escape my notice.

The film was awesome, and unexpectedly so. It was cut out of the same mold that the first Iron Man film was and it successfully blended humour, action and a sense of discovery into a crowd-pleasing mix, but that's where the resemblance ends. While Iron Man was set firmly on a planet Earth we know and love, Thor is expansive on an interstellar scale, reaching out as far afield as the coruscant abode of the Norse gods, Asgard, and the frigid homeworld of the jotuns at Jotunheim. Iron Man is science fiction of moderate hardness while Thor crossed right into fluffy Star Wars territory of escapist science fantasy, taking refuge in Arthur C. Clarke's Third Law which states: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Thor even invoked this very notion in the film when he explained to his Terran love interest, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), that he came from a world where magic and science "are one and the same."

I'm not familiar with Marvel's Thor comic lore. Being a DC fan, I've only ever read Marvel's Deadpool comics. I am however an avid student of Norse mythology which, like the Greek myths, is full of tales of power struggle, ass-kicking, parricide, and rape (the last thing being conspicuously absent in the PG-13 film). The plot is basic and as old as sin, and it involves a celestial sibling rivalry between the sons of Odin, namely Thor and his brother Loki.

Personally, if I want to make a movie featuring that two deities, I'd do a stoner road bromantic comedy based on their many wacky adventures, including the one where they have to dress in drag to get Thor's stolen hammer back - but what do I know about mass market appeal, eh?

Thor (Chris Hemworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston)
Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth).

Anyhow, like Disney's Hercules, Thor didn't overly concern itself with scholastic accuracy, which is a-okay by me. Sif is depicted as as Thor's sister-in-arms rather than his wife, for example, and they hired Idris Elba, an African-American actor, to play Heimdall. This posed a wee bit of problem because Heimdall is unambiguously Nordic in the comics and is actually described as 'the whitest of the gods'. I got a feeling that this is Kenneth Branagh's idea of a joke.

Question: is it racist to get a black guy to play a white character in a film? I remember when M. Night Shyamalan whitewashed the main cast of The Last Airbender, fans were quick to cry foul, but the only serious complaints I heard concerning Heimdall's casting came from the neo-Nazi scumbags of Stormfront, and a Christian group called the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC, which is just KKK with a different letter). As much as I hate to agree even a little with these bigoted douche-buckets, I do declare I'm detecting a stench of double standards here.

Heimdall (Idris Elba)
Heimdall (Idris Elba)

The issue aside, I thought Idris Elba was electrifying in the role and the casting decision didn't bother me one bit - not now, and not when Sokka and Katara turned lily-white (The Last Airbender admittedly had far more fatal problems than that). And speaking of casting, Chris Hemsworth was perfect as the proud-and-loud, muscle-headed Thunder God. He ably displayed an impressive range which stretched from slapstick to high Aristotlelian tragedy - and the ladies will certainly appreciate how frequently he sheds his shirt. Anthony Hopkins (playing Odin) did the best he could with the little he was given, and Kat Dennings was relegated to a purely comic relief role, but I've been in love with her since Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist so I'm happy just to see her anyway. Natalie Portman's character can be written out of the picture completely and I doubt I would even notice.

The best, most memorable performance in Thor is undoubtedly Tom Hiddleston's interpretation of Loki, which was sympathetically Cain-ian. I predict that he will now start to appear recurrently in the yaoi wet dreams of countless 14-year-old girls, probably in a three-way with Draco Malfoy and Edward Cullen.

The Warriors Three; Hogun (Tadanobu Asano), Fandral (Joshua Dallas) and Volstagg (Ray Stevenson)
The Warriors Three; Hogun (Tadanobu Asano), Fandral (Joshua Dallas) and Volstagg (Ray Stevenson)

I was initially put off by the costume design of the Asgardians, and had thought them campy - but I didn't even notice them when the action began. Thor is a satisfyingly invincible flying brick, and it's a pleasure to see him effortlessly take on whole armies of Frost Giants with his huge magic hammer, Mjolnir (Forged in the Heart of a Dying Star™, donchu know?). He's like Superman, but more metal. I honestly can't wait to see him in the 2012 Avengers film opposite Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Captain America (Chris Evans) and see how the group dynamic unfolds. It's a good time for a geek to be alive indeed.

So, should you watch this latest superhero flick from Hollywood and support the continuing bankruptcy of originality in Hollywood? I think you should, especially if you liked the first Iron Man. It's pure popcorn fun and it doesn't, at any time, insult its audience's intelligence - because intelligence doesn't factor into its enjoyment at all. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go read the shit out of some Eddas. Thor had reignited my interest in the Norse pantheon.

Oh, one more thing. I can't believe the internet hasn't done this yet,


P.S. I don't think it's necessary, at this point, to inform you that there's a post-credits stinger scene at the end of Thor, just like in all the other Marvel films.

Regards from Midgard,
k0k s3n w4i


mg said...

new layout, interesting... saw the 3d version, nothing spectacular but it was not a bad movie..

Phoebs said...

im so in love with thor right now!! he has such a nice body!!! T_______T i wanna touch. i couldn watch post credits coz they took away my 3d glasses :(

Ronaldmohoni said...

hmm, i want to watch this movie.

maro^gal said...

it looks like a nice movie

Liz said...

Ooh. Thor. Heard lots of good stuff about it. Can't wait to watch it !! Hm, just need someone to accompany me to watch the movie. And double up as my driver too :P Do you think it's worth it to watch in 3D? (I have been sorely disappointed before--Tron Legacy was one I completely regretted watching in 3D >.<)

p.s: Em, I think the actor for Thor is Chris HemSworth? I assumed it was a typo but you mentioned it both in your post and in the caption too. It should be Hemsworth :)

p.p.s: Can't wait to see those washboard abs !!!! xD

make it free said...

thor,,, i must watch it,,, perhaps in #D,, everyone said its awesome!!

Zulfahmi said...

The character Loki is the best thing in the movie... I love him...

Too bad he died... Did he? No, I think he will reappear...

and they never showed us what happen to Jotunheim atfer it being shot by the Bifrost... did that icy realm got destroyed?

Myrmia Melodiea said...

great review!
I'm a fan of Norse Mythology too and I do find some of the characters in the movie are not that important at all and they actually missed the ones that does have importance...

Tanakwagu said...

cannot wait this movie.i hope that it was not too much effect-cgi

Kian Fai said...

you know . . . the Destroyer give a slap to Thor when Thor with his normal body with powerless. Then Dead . . . after Jane Foster cry for him, he obtain back his power by Mjolnir flying back to him.

What I want to say is, when he obtain back his power. That scene is classic LOL

Is a nice movie for me, maybe I am big fan of Marvel Comic for no reason LOL!

jamiey writes said...

wow! i realised i havent been to a cinema for a very long time. will plan to go for a movie next week... so many movies to catch! thanks for sharing Thor, now it'll be on my to-watch list... :D

zouzou said...

RAWR!!!! ziiiiiiiikkkk XDDD always watch the marvel,well now a chance to be in movies for real !YES ! XD

reanaclaire said...

Hello, hope you can drop me an email, it is about offering you to write paid movie reviews.. thanks!


yuhhui said...

can't wait for the avengers!! I like the after credit scene. Suspense kau!

k0k s3n w4i said...

mg: it's post-converted 3d, the so-called "fake" 3d. i watched it for rm6 on student discount, so i paid less but saw a better version of the film :P

Phoebs: hamsap.

Ronaldmohoni: are you waiting for my permission to see it?

maro^gal: what an astute observation!

Liz: hey, great job spotting the typo. feel free to point out any others you see, including grammatical errors. i'm too lazy to proofread my own posts, haha. i don't think it's worth the extra 3d ticket cost because it isn't real 3d (as in shot using a 3d camera). i usually research how the 3d is achieved before seeing any 3d film. saved me a lot of bucks, i can tell you. if you want a quick answer, popping into this site should do it: is it real or fake 3d?. tron legacy, though it featured real 3d, had only 3d in certain scenes. but that's the least of its problems. it also had a bad script and poor directions.

make it free: it's available in hash dimension? far out!

Zulfahmi: i think it's understood that [spoiler warning] thor destroyed the bifrost to save jotunheim.

Myrmia Melodiea: the film is really based on the thor comics so i didn't really think much of its fidelity to the myths.

Tanakwagu: i've no idea about its effect-cgi, but it does feature a lot of cgi-effects.

Kian Fai: i won't use the word "classic" anywhere near this film but LOL!

jamiey: it's good, clean fun. i'm sure you'll enjoy it.

zouzou: you are going to be in movies for real?

yuhhui: the avengers banded together initially to fight loki initially, so that stinger scene at the end might be a prelude of things to come. besides, tom hiddleston had already signed on to appear as loki in the avengers next year.

Anonymous said...