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Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence.
Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Natalie Portman, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Rene Russo, Stellan Skarsgard, Jaimie Alexander, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Josh Dallas, Tadanobu Asano, Idris Elba, Clark Gregg, Colm Feore
Mark Protosevich, Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Don Payne
Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment present the epic adventure, "Thor," which spans the Marvel Universe from present day Earth to the realm of Asgard.
Thor (2011) | Review
Grand and Whimsical
Though he made his Marvel Comics debut back in 1962, Thor hasn't really gotten the play that many of the Marvel pantheon have. Unlike Iron Man, Daredevil, Spider-Man, and the Fantastic Four, Thor is in a difficult spot when it comes to making the super-hero aspects of his character interesting. Like the Hulk (or DC's Superman), he has the upper level powers of a god. To further complicate matters, he actually is a god, though with those staggering powers at least comes a rich back story.
When it comes to mythmaking, or making the most out of mythic figures, a couple of scribes come to mind: J. Michael Straczynski, author of television (Babylon 5), comics (Strange, Silver Surfer, Thor) and movies (Ninja Assassin). Like Neil Gaiman, another versatile writer who also sprang to mind to script the movie, his work manages to bring a sense of humanity to mythic figures.
This makes Kenneth Branagh the perfect choice to helm such a movie. Both as an actor and director, he is closely associated with Shakespeare. A long-time comic book reader himself, he adds a fanboy's enthusiasm to his skillset. He stages the political-familial infighting with emotional intensity, and crafts a very human tale.
"Once mankind accepted a simple truth that they were not alone in this universe." --Odin
The Asgardians, Thor's people who live in the eternal realm of Asgard, as depicted in the movie, are basically a race of aliens using a mixture of technology so advanced it comes across as magic or as they put it, "where science and magic are one." As intergalactic guardians and peace keepers, they are like the Green Lantern Corps with a lot more pomp and circumstance. Their long time foes, the Frost Giants of Jotunheim, are yet another alien race.
The relationship of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and his (half) brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) comes across like the biblical brothers Jacob and Esau vying for their father's blessing. Thor is a hothead, impetuous, proud, vain, arrogant, reckless, and ultimately dangerous. Loki is the prince of lies, always seeking his agenda. Their wise yet aging father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), banishes Thor when he leads an unauthorized and ill-advised raid on Jotunheim (along with his warrior buddies). Odin's punishment: Thor is dispatched to Midgard (Earth) separated from his magical hammer, Mjolnir, which takes on an Excalibur aspect as it cannot be wielded except by one who is worthy of its power.
"A wise king never seeks out war, but he must always be ready for it." --Odin
A depowered Thor is found, well, hit with a van, by a group of scientists: astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), her assistant Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), and her mentor, Dr. Erik Sevig (Stellan Skarsgard). Mixing elements from both his Marvel and Ultimate Universe incarnations, Thor runs around Earth for a bit, which eventually leads to a confrontation with the Destroyer, a robotic piece of Asgard-tech.
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