Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the son of Odin (Anthony Hopkins), has been banished from his home, Asgard, and sent to live out the rest of his life as a mortal on Earth after bringing Asgard on the brink of war.
Let’s get this straight. I’m a MARVEL. By that I mean that when put to make the decision as to which comic book nation I’m more akin to, MARVEL or D.C., I will always pick MARVEL. Throughout my childhood I read Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Daredevil and many other MARVEL titles. While in the last few years D.C. has been putting their stamp down in the world of cinema, with films such as Batman Begins & The Dark Knight, Superman Returns and Watchmen, MARVEL has been taking a completely different approach (just like in the comic book world).
Throughout the history of comic books D.C. has been the dark gritty detective novels, while MARVEL has been the fun science fiction based superheroes. So it’s no surprise that when you put the film critic to the test they always seem to take the more serious D.C. films over the slightly campy fun action adventure exploits of MARVEL.
However, I believe that Thor is a proper example of why the fun campy nature of MARVEL still remains useful in the world of comic book adapted films. When you’re done watching Heath Ledger talk about how he doesn’t want it to change for the five hundredth time and you come off that high of how brilliant a performance it all is, then you can always come back to the safe arms of a world where the Norse gods all come out to play.
The film’s real core is with the character of Thor, which is why it surpasses a lot of the other superhero films of today. The real journey that occurs in this film is that of Thor discovering the kind of man he needs to be rather than just a glory hunting warrior who wants to rule to nine realms with a thunderous – pun intended – rampage.
Kenneth Branagh is able to take that basic idea and window dress it with a lot of really enjoyable action scenes and some really fun comedic moments. Between the flashback storyline where we see what Thor did – yes that hammer is badass – to get banished and watching him initially coping with the fact that he’s mortal and constantly being reminded of that is perfect. The first hour of the film is pretty much perfect. The second half of the film doesn’t necessarily ruin the whole thing, but it just runs with the motions by that point and never got me going just as well as the first half did. In that regard it’s a typical action film; it’s finished setting it all up so now it’s just knocking it down, and it did well with it.
The most surprising outcome of this film is that I didn’t hate the 3D. It was announced that MARVEL, against all of my wishes, were going to film the movie and then in post production change it into 3D. Up until this point every live-action film: Clash of the Titans, Alice in Wonderland and The Green Hornet; that’s been converted to 3D has looked worse that Paper Mario and failed to actually show the depth promised by 3D cinema (and the price upgrade). This movie however I noticed the depth, I won’t say that it was the equal of Avatar, but I do believe that it’s showing improvement. Which means that in the next decade they’ll figure it out and they can save the money that it costs to rent James Cameron’s cameras and make it look just as good; but not really?