Directed by: Kenneth Branagh Rated: PG-13 Runtime: 1 hr. 55 mins.
Studio: Marvel Studios’ Screenwriter: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Don Payne
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Jamie Alexander, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins, Rene Russo, Stellan Skarsgård, Clark Gregg, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Jeremy Renner
Thor is the sixth MCU film in thematic viewing order. The concept of Thor and company is based on an actual myth and once followed belief system. For the most part, Disney hasn’t mutilated Thor to suit its own needs yet. Given that it’s the first, this cleverly created script works to introduce that the myth is, well, real.
Its fantasy come to life, aided by fantastic-looking costumes and sets working in tandem with the magic of CGI. The grandeur and scale of Asgard are beautiful. I wish it was explored more.
The stunt work is incredible. Whether Thor (Hemsworth) is beating up SHIELD agents, or Sif (Alexander) is taking on a magically powered sentry. To group fights with giant ice beings, nothing is questionable and disrupts the viewing experience.
Thor is not perfect; none of the Norse mythological characters are. Okay, Disney/Marvel did change that in this first film, but that’s not a bad thing. For those who think Odin (Hopkins) can only act as Odin and Thor, a selfish, mindless meat sack should go brush up on Norse mythology. This adaptation is diet-Norse, a lower rating of their usual temperaments. Doing this fits in better with Marvel’s overall plans and makes for more compelling characters long run.
After disobeying his king’s/fathers commands to not do something that would cause war, Thor is cast out from his home on Asgard. He is hurtled to Earth as punishment until he can grow up. Why is it that being sent to Earth by aliens is a punishment?
The message from father to son of ‘there are consequences for actions—even for ‘gods,’ is essential to represent. One, because power should not be left unchecked. Second, superhero’s seemingly walk about doing what they please, often forgetting or believing they are above ramifications. The point helps shape Thor into who he’ll become, even if it’s not what Odin had in mind.
Even though Thor has his own standalone film to better serve Marvel’s goals of an ensemble team-up, it works. His characters’ world has depth and history, and his own movie was absolutely required.
The overall pace of the film and scene beats flow with no sagging or hiccups. The cast is a massive part of that. Everyone is phenomenal and perfectly cast. Yes, some don’t get their full due in this film, but it’s a large cast. Certain characters will be fleshed out more later (Renner), and others are just there as supporting members (Dallas, Asano, Stevenson).
Chris Hemsworth makes a visually appealing Thor, but more than that, he delivers his character with the right balance of emotion, force, and charm. He’s not too brutish, cheesy, or mildly simplistic like some animated versions of the character.
Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is the opposite of Thor. He’s smaller in stature, lean, and lacks any physical prowess. Loki makes up for that with wit, smarts, charm, and a silver tongue. Unlike Thor, Loki was taught magic by his mother, Frigga (Russo), and uses it often. Tom was an unlikely choice for the god of mischief but made the role his own and embraced it.
Sir Anthony Hopkins has done many roles in his distinguished career, but his casting as Odin is perfection. It’s not a large role, but once you see him as the all-father, it’s difficult to imagine anyone else. The same is true of Idris Elba as Heimdall, the gatekeeper of Asgard. His natural tenor and presence would make most think twice before wanting to deal with him, but in Thor, his golden armored costume only amplifies that. Honestly, it takes an exceptional person to pull off that much gold and fight in it, all while wielding a gigantic sword.
The comradely and established bonds of the characters shine through in such a robust and believable manner with little to no character development. That’s difficult to create and perform, and Thor executes it well.
Thor is the general publics’ first inclination that they are not alone in the universe. Decades after Captain Marvel came to Earth, briefly and went unnoticed by the public, this is Marvel’s foot in the door to execute its master plans.
Is Thor a compelling story as other superhero troupes? No. And yet, it’s absolutely worth watching. A good, fun story with a solid cast. For those that don’t like this kind of film, fine. For everyone else, this is worth a place on your watchlist.
—a pen lady