Review: Thor


With all the comic book film adaptions, including sequels, prequels, and franchise reboots, that have recently taken the industry by storm, there would appear to be an overabundance of comic book films in Hollywood these days. Have we reached a level of over saturation with these type of movies? Well if we have, the crowds flocking to local movie theatres certainly haven’t noticed. Thor is the latest Marvel super hero to make it to the big screen; following in the path of the likes of Iron Man, Hulk, Wolverine, and soon Captain America.

Chris Hemsworth, who first captured our attention with his gripping performance as Captain George Kirk in the mesmerizing opening sequence of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, plays the mighty yet arrogant Thor, whose reckless behavior ignites an ancient-old conflict between the Asgardian warriors led by his father Odin (played by Anthony Hopkins) and the Frost Giants led by Laufey (played by Colm Feore). For his act of disobedience, Thor is deprived of his godly strength and banished from the realm of Asgard; forced to live an ordinary existence amongst humans on Earth.

In the desert of New Mexico, Thor befriends a trio of scientists including astrophysicist, Jane Foster (played by Natalie Portman). But, just when a romance between Thor and Jane begins to take shape, a powerful villain from Thor’s world ascends to Earth, putting the lives of his new companions in great danger. In the face of this new evil, Thor must find it within himself to learn what it means to be a true hero to save his friends and himself from eternal darkness.

It was rumoured that during production, Anthony Hopkins called out Chris Hemsworth in regards to his abilities as an actor, but his performance in the title role illustrates none of these limitations; and in fact combined with his immense physical presence onscreen, he is able to embody the essence of Marvel’s hammer-wielding superhero. It is depressing to see Academy Award winning actress, Natalie Portman reduced to a floozy supporting role, but she certainly makes the best of it; restraining her talents to remain within the confines of her character.

At nearly two hours in length and almost thirty minutes of that spent on back-story bringing the audience up to date with the Asgardian/Frost Giants conflict, Thor does feel like it runs a few frames too long. The film is divided into two colliding plot lines: (1) A fish out of water tales with Thor adjusting to life on Earth with his budding romance with Jane, and (2) A sci-fi fantasy toned narrative involving the burgeoning antagonism on Asgard. At times, these converging story arcs speak to each other, and at other times they do not.

The film is directed by Kenneth Branagh, the Irish-born actor/director best known for his involvement with several of the finest cinematic adaptations of William Shakespeare. This is Branagh’s inaugural attempt with Marvel and the superhero subgenre, and if it is going to be up to Marvel or comic book fans, it certainly won’t be his final effort. Within the scope of the Marvel Avengers film universe, Thor represents its most successful film to date. It encompass more heart and humour than Faveau’s Iron Man and is unquestionably more superior on every level in comparison to the deplorable Hulk reboot, whose title I won’t dare utter here.

68/100 - Thor encompass more heart and humour than Faveau’s Iron Man and is unquestionably more superior on every level in comparison to the deplorable Hulk reboot, whose title I won’t dare utter here.

Christopher Misch

I've always loved movies, but it wasn't until under the tutelage of Professor Garry Leonard at the University of Toronto that my passion for the industry became an understanding of an art form. With a specific fascination in both the western genre and Asian cinema in general, I am of the view that good movies are either enlightening or entertaining, and if you are truly lucky they are both.