Thor (2011)

May 07, 2011 By Mike B
Movie Review

What Worked?

The god of thunder pounds his way from arrogant brute to humbled warrior, and the adventure is spectacular. This isn’t the typical origin story, as Thor is a god, and not some human who inherits powers from a freak accident, but director Kenneth Branagh humanizes the massive protagonist to make everything relative. The film is humorous, dramatic, and nerd-boy worthy, making for a terrific entry into the summer pop-corn flick genre.

Director Branagh, who has made such films as Henry V and Hamlet, constructs this film with a touch of prodigious elegance that’s usually found in his Shakespeare period pieces. The visuals are engaging, as the world of Asgard is a sweeping spectacle of gleaming gold with an atmosphere splashed with various colors that mesh and flow as expensive eye-candy. It’s very likely that the 3-D gimmick need not be purchased, as the film is beautiful to look out without the glasses. The action scenes are solid, as Branagh translates Thor’s strength and power well onto the silver screen. The pace of the film is also rather taught for being nearly two hours in length, as it rolls along at just a quick enough speed.

Chris Hemsworth
, filling in the large shoes of Thor, does an excellent job as the god of thunder. His transition from egotistical warrior to caring, albeit still bulldozing of a fighter, king is done rather well. As a mere mortal on earth, still acting as if he’s all-powerful, Thor is pure comedy. When he’s being humbled by he’s banishment, Hemsworth give us glimpses of his dramatic acting chops, showing a regret of how he once was. All parts are acted out at the same level of quality, from Anthony Hopkins as King Odin, and Natalie Portman as Jane Foster. Tom Hiddleston as Loki does very well as the antagonist, playing off of Hemsworth quite well. We even feel for Loki at times, as he is the neglected child, who’s jealously eventually turns into villainous intent. The entire cast is strong in each of their respective parts, making even some of the occasional off-dialogue sound decent.

The Norse god of thunder, and his growth from boy to worthy king is a fantastic time at the movies this summer. The conflict between the brothers drives the film to be something a little more than an action film, as we see the equal influential powers of jealousy and greed clashing with their formidable foes of change and redemption. Thor isn’t exactly god-like, but it’s more than a mere mortal.


1. Look for a cameo throughout the film (besides the typical Stan Lee one)

2. Stay until after the credits.

Potential Drawbacks:

The action scenes are filmed in the same fast-cut editing style seen in most action films, making for a dizzying experience at times. The fight/action scenes might have benefited more from wide angles.

Occasionally, this film seems like it’s just another piece being set on the table for things to come; a little more could have been done to make Thor feel more like a stand-alone film than a pre-cursor to the Avengers project. Also, in comparison, the entertainment level was higher when Thor was on Earth than when the film goes to Asgard.

Film Recommendations:

Iron Man
The Incredible Hulk
Iron Man 2


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