Thor is great action movie fun
When I first saw the 2010 remake of Clash of the Titans, I was sure it was a comedy. The ridiculous accents, the over-the-top action, the beards, all of it felt intentionally bad. Unfortunately, it seems like the filmmakers didn’t realize what a bad movie they had made. Thor is an entirely different story, an action-packed comic book movie that doesn’t make the critical error of taking itself too seriously.
Based on the Marvel character, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is a Nordic god who is known as a bit of a troublemaker. He’s spontaneous, reckless and arrogant. After one of his rogue acts reignites a war between his people and the evil Frost Giants, his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins) sends him packing from the magical realm and tosses him down to earth.
His first encounter is with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), a nerdy scientists who wants to study the mysterious superhero, but finds herself a giggling girl in his studly presence. She believes what would seem like the ramblings of a madman (were it not for those abs) and starts to believe that Thor really is not of this world.
At the same time, Thor’s magical hammer, Mjolnir appears on earth and starts drawing the attention of some locals. Of course, there’s a mysterious government organization (which most geeks are familiar with) called S.H.I.E.L.D. that swoops in, secures a perimeter around the hammer and and takes Jane’s research, throwing a wrench in that whole hooking up with an ancient god thing.
Jane’s colleagues, Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) and Darcy (Kat Dennings) accompany her as she tries to get back all her research and equipment and reunite with Thor.
At the same time, Thor’s brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is going through an identity crisis as he finds out that he is adopted and is actually a Frost Giant… you know, that old chestnut. Loki takes this news badly and starts executing a power-grab, plotting to kill Odin and take over all of Asgard.
Now, Thor must save earth, save Asgard and get the girl.
I’ll admit, I had my doubts for the first ten minutes or so. Hearing lines delivered in that semi-British fantasy movie accent only really works in Lord of the Rings, and, after Titans, I wasn’t expecting Thor to be much better. That’s why it was such a relief when they jumped to modern times and actually made a joke about the way ancient superheroes have a hard time fitting in to a society filled with iPods and fast food. It’s that sense of humor, the way the film refuses to take itself too seriously, that makes it so much fun.
The action is well suited for 3D, and I’ve got no complaints about Hemsworth (and his abs) being presented in IMAX. Visually, it’s engaging and you even start to enjoy the “bland” New Mexico setting as a good contrast to the digital world of the gods.
Thor isn’t trying to be Lord of the Rings, it’s trying to be fun. Unlike Titans, it definitely succeeds.