Saturday, May 21, 2011

Son of Odin

If you are new to reading anything by me, I’ll be perfectly honest: I’m a comic book fan. That being said, I tend to have a love/hate relationship with comic book inspired movies (as most fans do). Over the past few years I’ve noticed that Marvel has become a movie powerhouse while DC can only manage to keep one franchise alive (Batman). Marvel is creating franchises that crossover and meld together in one unified universe. I love that. I just wish they could get the X-Men and Spiderman back so they could do a major crossover event. Now, while Marvel Films is a powerhouse, the journey has not been easy (how many Hulk reboots do we need?) What solidified their place in the summer blockbuster slot (in my opinion) was the first Iron Man. Favreau created a realistic, tech-based world that was true to the comics, and he followed it up with a solid sequel (that’s almost unheard of!)

Looming on the horizon is The Avengers, but first we have to introduce Captain America and Thor. Here is where I get a little critical. In the comics, Thor is the god of thunder. The reality of the Marvel Universe acknowledges the existence of the Asgardian pantheon of gods, as well as the Greek gods. How are we going to have a crossover into the realistic, science-based world of Tony Stark? So, to say I was skeptical would be an understatement. Let’s be honest, Thor has the potential to completely wreck everything Marvel has been doing with films thus far.

It’s a good thing that Kenneth Branagh had a hell of a vision for this film, and pulled it off beautifully. Thor has all the elements of an epic fantasy as well as the comic book moments (being hit by the same car more than once? Getting tasered? Funny stuff.) The scenes on Asgard and in Jotunheim are visually stunning and stylistic. I think they add to the movie and create a real sense of fantasy contrasted with the “reality” of Earth. Even the explanation of the Asgardians fits in with a tech-based world (although now we have to accept that aliens exist). There is, of course, the requisite setting up for the movie of the century (The Avengers) with some S.H.E.I.L.D. involvement, Nick Fury cameo, and a great cameo from Hawkeye, there is even a mention of Tony Stark. I have no complaints as far as performance goes, Hemsworth was a great Thor. What is Natalie Portman not great in? Anthony Hopkins? Absolutley no complaints there.

My only complaint is that if felt like it should have been two separate movies. The opening, which sets up the back-story and explains why Thor is on Earth, should have been a movie by itself. After his banishment, things felt a little rushed. Thor was sent to our planet to learn humility. This should not be as easily learned as it is in the movie. Ideally, everything after his banishment should have been a separate movie. Then the pacing could have been better and we might have a better feel for a few of the other characters. Why does Jane fall in love with Thor, aside from his obvious physique? Of course there is a romantic interest for Thor here, and we know it’s going to be Natalie Portman, but that shouldn’t mean the relationship should not have some development to it. Do we, the audience, have to do all the work filling in the blanks here?

Don’t let my lofty expectations throw you. The movie is fun, looks brilliant, and has enough cringe worthy moments in battle, and laughable moments to ease the tension to make a perfect Summer movie. I saw it in 3D, which took some adjusting, but I thought it looked really good. It added depth to a lot of the scenes. If that is not your thing, go see it on a regular screen, but whatever you do STAY FOR THE CREDITS. This is now part of the formula for most movies. The easter egg at the end of the credit sequence is partly what we pay for now (and it had better be way cooler than that damn dog from Pirates of the Caribbean). What are you waiting for? Go. Now.


Last Quote: Red State

Today’s Quote: “You better call it Coulson, cause I'm starting to root for this guy.”

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