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Thor (2011)

May 9, 2011

3/10 Valhalla Fallings

One more reason I’m not looking forward to The Avengers.

Thor is about one Norse god of thunder who’s in line to take over his dad’s spot on the throne as the king of Asgard thanks to the epic amount of ass-kickery he’s been dishing out across the universe since childhood. But because he’s an arrogant dickhead and winds up instigating wars with frost giants for no good reason at all, Odin up and banishes his ass from Asgard, strips him of all his powers, and sends him on down to Earth to grow the eff up. Down on Earth, he runs into a trio of junior astrophysicists, starts to fall in love, then tries to reclaim his superpowers so he can take down his jealous bastard of a brother and make things right again.

So I’ve never been much of a comic book nerd, but I know enough about the Marvel Universe to get by and bullshit enough conversations so that it sounds like my grandpa is Stan Lee. And if there’s one thing I know about good ol’ Thor, it’s that he’s more or less Marvel’s answer to Superman and could wipe out creation with the same degree of effort that it takes me to fart. He’s the cream of the crop, he’s a freaking god, and his hammer, Mjolnir, is without a doubt the most outrageously unfair weapon any hero has ever rocked.

With that being said, it’s pretty disappointing how much time this movie spends on him not being a walking, talking apocalypse. Granted, the best superhero movies tend to be the ones that do focus more on the human side of things, but the problem is that Thor’s human side fucking sucks. I can’t remember the last time I saw such a one-dimensional dude with a more predictable character arc backed up by a story you’ll be able to figure out from beginning to end within the first five minutes. It’s just that when you have a hero like Thor who’s interesting not so much because of his human side, but rather because of the sheer amount of wrecking power he can dish out, the smart choice probably would have been to stick to his strengths. Seems like an easy call from where I’m sitting and it would have made for one kickass thrill ride of a movie, but alas, this is what we were given.

Because you know what this movie is? It’s Michael, only with a fallen god who swears by P90X instead of a fallen angel who likes dancing to Aretha Franklin. And you know what? Fuck that. Thor’s not supposed to be the comic book equivalent of Mother Theresa, Thor’s the textbook wrecking train of unstoppable badassery and the last thing that the pitch for this should have been was “A Norse god walks amongst Southwestern scientists and yokels with comedic (and romantic) results.” Seriously, save that shit for Kate and Leopold ’cause I wasn’t laughing at all the forced humor this kept shoving my way and I don’t know who the writers thought they were kidding when they stewed up the notion that it’d be totally reasonable for a normal woman of science like Natalie Portman to fall in love with Thor, the god of effing Thunder, and that he’d totally love her right back. Ridiculous.

It’s just that the plot, the story are as cookie cutter as they come, I couldn’t have cared less about any of the characters, and the lighthearted tone that fuels so much of it is way off, too. On top of that, there’s something very screwy going on with the mythology and the logic this script uses to explain it. Maybe I just need to do some more research on Thor’s backstory, but if Stellan Skarsgard’s character (who looks to be in his 50s) talks about how he was raised on stories of Odin, Thor and all the other Norse heavyweights, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to show Thor as a kid and have played by a guy in his late 20s. Might not be explaining that perfectly, but it’s pretty unusual to hear stories about a someone else’s life before they’ve even been born. Also, if Odin, Thor and all the other Norse heavyweights are immortal (I’m guessing they are since they always refer to Natalie Portman’s character as “the mortal woman”), it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to have Odin’s life hang in the balance due to a heart attack of sorts. I don’t know, I’m no expert on the matter, but there’s too much of that shit in here too just shrug off because a lot of it ends up being so integral to the story. Way too much deus ex machina malarkey going on here, too.

But I don’t want to make this sound like I’m moped throughout the whole movie ’cause there wasn’t enough action or ’cause the logic didn’t add up, because it does have its moments and Kenneth Branagh does make it look pretty with all his epic setpieces and whatnot. Still, considering that this is the guy who directed Henry V (arguably the greatest marriage between Bill Shakespeare and movies that we’ll ever get), it seems like an odd choice. And even though he looked the part, I wasn’t a huge fan of Chris Hemsworth as Thor. Not that he had a whole lot to work with, but he really hammed up the Old English to a fault and only made the character come off as that much more of an assclown, especially since it seemed like everyone else had a relatively normal vocuabulary going for ’em. Anthony Hopkins also could have toned it down a bit as Odin; Tom Hiddleston is actually the one actor of the lot who was solid and made for a convincingly sinister villain as Thor’s brother, Loki; and everyone else either serves their purpose or could have been written out entirely.

Folks, I hope I’m not coming off like a movie snob or anything, because, as a fan of the character and superhero movies in general, that really is the most disappointing aspect, far more so than the technicalities or nitpicks. Look, Thor is entertaining to a degree and it absolutely delivers if you’re jonesing for some mindless action fueled by eye candy galore, but it’s also style over substance at its worst. As far as Marvel movies are concerned, I think it’s pretty hard to top everything that was so on point and endlessly fun about Iron Man, and with that high-water mark in mind, it’s beyond me how low the writers were aiming with this one. There’s a lot about Thor that sets him apart from everyone else in and out of his Universe as both a powerhouse and a deity, it’s just a damn shame that he got stuck with the same old song and dance we’ve already heard ad nauseum.

37 Comments leave one →
  1. May 9, 2011 4:03 am

    Wow, lol, really harsh review. I highly disagree. Maybe I look for different things in Marvel movies, but I thought it was really entertaining and well worth the ticket price. Hopkins was great as Odin, and it seemed to me that the reason for his “sleep” was that it was some sort of process all Asgard kings go through towards some slump in their reigns. He had just been pushing it off until one of his sons could rule in his place, not that it worked out very well. As for the age differences, if you want to place the ancient 955 CE scenes as the earliest point, then Hopkins has to defeat the Frost Giants and have his sons before all the stories are created. Presumedly the gods grow up fairly quickly but then stick around in adulthood for, like, ever. Admittedly, as I’ve typed this out the pacing of that side of things does seem a little screwy… but not so much that it makes me question the movie’s plot.

    I don’t know. I really liked it, and it made me more excited for The Avengers (you know Joss Whedon’s directing, right? How can you NOT be excited for that?). Anyways, I wrote up a review for the film that I’d love for you to check out (linked through my name), though I warn you it’s much more favorable, haha. Differing opinions are always the best, I suppose!

    • May 10, 2011 2:40 pm

      Haha. Yeah, wasn’t too happy with this one. And the one thing with Odin’s “sleep” that would make me argue otherwise is the way Loki kept running around going “My dad is dead, now I’m king, get me some sausage,” and how Thor was all “Dad is dead, Loki is king now, I could really go for some sausage.” I don’t think they would have been such a big deal out of it if he had only been hibernating or something. And, yeah, I should probably stop asking questions about the god/human timeline thing, but still, something seemed off there.

      But I totally forgot that Whedon was directing The Avengers, and that is such a saving grace. Guess I’m just tired of all these movies chalking up the fan service and serving as one big lead-in to The Avengers instead of being stand-alone stories, you know? And will def check out your review, all about those different opinions, yo.

  2. May 9, 2011 6:24 am

    Like Hunter above, I also disagree with your thoughts on the majority of the film, although I can see where you’re coming from with it. Completely, utterly disagree about Chris Hemsworth: I thought he rocked it out as Thor, and brought the right amount of gravitas and arrogance to the role. His chemistry with Portman was actually pretty decent, although I will admit that her part was pretty underdeveloped.
    Regarding some of the “logic flaws” you mentioned, I’d say that the references to “the mortal woman” indicates that the Asgardians age a lot more slowly than humanity, much like the Elves in Middle Earth, as a kind of Super-race of beings (considering the tech they possess, who’s to say they haven’t developed some sort of way of prolonging their lifespan?).. I digress.
    I thought Kenneth Branagh directed the shit out of this film, delivering awesome action sequences and a genuine sense of humor throughout, although I would tacitly agree that more action rather than less might have made the film even better. I guess I approached it with a little less cynicism and a lot more glee than many, and overlooked some of the less believable moments in the movie, but as far as adding yet another string to the Avengers’ bow, I thought Thor rocked it out, man. Rocked it out.
    I’m done.

    • May 10, 2011 2:43 pm

      Hahaha. Yeah, I don’t think I’m gonna be swaying you over to my side any time soon, but hey, seems like a lot of folks had the same reaction you did. Idk, guess I was expecting something more badass and far less…light. Still can’t think of a good word for this movie’s tone, but that’s the best I’ve got right now.

  3. May 9, 2011 8:34 am

    Damn, man.

    I still haven’t seen it, and will hopefully catch it once I get back to the states a couple weeks, but as for Thor not really showing off his powers, I think Marvel’s going to wait and use Thor as he’s meant to be either in Avengers or Thor 2. This biggest concern with Thor throughout the entire pre-production process was whether not people would accept him into the Marvel world. So to come out swinging and have Thor flying around and kicking ass at the snap of his fingers would’ve probably thrown a lot of people off the film. They could’ve gone a different direction had their not been a Avenger tie-in, but if you have Thor showing off all his magnificent powers in this first film, either A) he wouldn’t fit in, or B) there wouldn’t really be a need for an Avengers team if Thor has already proven for an entire feature that he’s basically invincible.

    Like I said, still haven’t seen it, and I could very easily be well off the mark, but figured I’d give my two cents. 🙂

    • May 10, 2011 2:47 pm

      Good points. Thor’s existence is pretty epic and overpowered in comparison to the rest of the Marvel Universe, but still, that’s what makes him awesome. Wish they hadn’t nerfed him and made him human, really thought that was a weak turn of events.

      And why did the studio think that folks wouldn’t accept Thor into the Marvel canon? He’s the first person I’d want to have my back and he’s a total beast to boot. Bazonkers.

      • May 11, 2011 6:57 am

        Because he’s a God and his powers aren’t realistic at all. I know plenty of people that would shrug off this movie for that fact alone, and it’s pretty sad.

      • May 11, 2011 6:59 am

        But I will say that I agree with you to the point that I want to see a Thor movie in which he’s just a complete badass. I never really got into comics, but if I had to pick a favorite comic book character, it would be Thor.

  4. May 9, 2011 8:47 am

    Interesting take. Here’s my question to you though – The constant knock on Superman (who’s my favorite btw) is that because he’s indestructible, he’s boring. Audiences claim that there’s no stakes or intrigue in the tales of Superman because no matter what deadly situation Supe finds himself in, he’ll *always* find a way out of it.

    You’re right when you mention Thor as Marvel’s Superman-like unbreakable hero…but don’t you think that audiences would have found that version boring too, and that him coming to understand what makes a hero isn’t such a bad point to start off with?

    (Not looking to change your mind on the whole film btw – just making conversation)

    • May 9, 2011 9:08 am

      Good point, but in regards to the idea that showcasing Thor as Marvel’s uberhero along with all his epic power, I think it would have worked and wouldn’t have been boring because that’s the very approach that’s kept people reading his comics over the years. Superman has his kryptonite and Superman even died at the height of his abilities, so with that being said, stripping Thor down and making him human seemed like a stupid direction to take this in considering how much potential this could have tapped into had it gone down the unbreakable hero route. And it’s not that there’s anything wrong with him coming to understand what makes a hero, it just pissed me off how unbelievably bull-headed they made him from the get-go and it in turn made the whole plot predictable to a tee from that point forward. Just didn’t buy it and just didn’t care.

      And Superman is awesome. I don’t care what the haters say.

      • May 9, 2011 9:19 am

        But there’s the rub! Yes, making Thor unbreakable has kept people reading his comics for years…but comic book audiences and movie-going audiences are two seperate animals. What works for one doesn’t always work for the other.

        (And I’ve always loved the story where they killed off Superman – good call!)

        Now that said, the character has always been bull-headed. That element of his story and Odin casting him down to earth was a direct pull from the comics.

        I think the one good thing to come from all of this is that it leaves the filmmakers for somewhere to go with the story. We’ve seen him go through his identity crisis. Now that he understands his role on Asgard and Earth, when they decide to make another film about him, we can see him tear the place up.

      • May 9, 2011 9:32 am

        That’s a good point, it should only be uphill from here for the guy. Not sure what the point of having the other Avengers around will be when Thor can just pull out Mjolnir within the first five minutes and end the movie in a heartbeat, but that could be pretty sweet. But still, I hated his character arc here. So weak and obvious.

  5. Ryan permalink
    May 9, 2011 9:31 am

    This movie was boring. There was too much talking and too little action. It wasn’t the worst Superhero movie I’ve ever seen, but it was a disappointment overall. It just felt completely rushed. At least Captain America is coming out in a few months.

    • May 9, 2011 9:36 am

      Hahaha. I think I’m gonna be in the minority with most of these comments, but it’s nice to get backed up by the guy I actually went to see this with. Totally agree, man. There are worse superhero movies out there, but this was pretty disappointing. Just gotta keep avoiding those trailers for Cap and Green Lantern and we should be fine.

  6. HermioneO permalink
    May 9, 2011 11:10 am

    Did you ever see Adventures in Babysitting? Now that man was Thor. Unknown at the time. He became Vincent Dinofrio.

    • May 10, 2011 2:48 pm

      Hahaha. Actually caught two minutes of on TV last weekend, but no, only heard good things. Must see it immediately now.

  7. mcarteratthemovies permalink
    May 9, 2011 1:20 pm

    I’m with Hunter on this one — I had a completely different reaction. I think “Thor” isn’t perfect, not by a long shot, but it has some nice character development, and I really liked Tom Hiddleston as Loki (in fact, he’s the reason I’m excited to see “The Avengers”). Hemsworth proved a better actor than I expected.

    • May 10, 2011 2:49 pm

      Yeah, I’ll give you Hiddleston, I actually thought he was the best part of this movie. Wish I could say the same thing about everything else, but alas. Much respect though, M.

    • May 13, 2011 7:35 pm

      Sad to hear you didn’t like it as much as others. At least you enjoyed Hiddleston’s Loki. I look forward to the evil he will perpetrate in Whedon’s Avengers.

  8. Brad Brown permalink
    May 9, 2011 1:28 pm

    right on analysis, too much romance, and not enough ass kicking, is that hammer made by PLAYSKOOL ??

  9. May 9, 2011 5:55 pm

    Wow, surprising that you didn’t like this. Sure it’s totally predictable and the romance was the weak part, as it felt overly rushed but I really thought this was a really pleasant movie, much better than I expected given the terrible trailers.

    • May 10, 2011 2:51 pm

      I don’t know, man, just didn’t gel with me. Think I was expecting something a little less pleasant and a little more hardcore since, you know, Thor is a pretty hardcore mother effer.

  10. May 10, 2011 7:00 am

    I know it’s predictable and the romance was a bit weak, but I had a great time with this film because of the awesome set pieces, and overall light tone to this film. The comedy wasn’t amazing, but it was pretty funny and Branagh is good with this material. Still, I see your points though man. Good Review!

    • May 10, 2011 2:52 pm

      Haha. Thanks, man. Wish I could agree with you and most of the fine folks here, but it all leads back to that damn tone for me. Just wasn’t right.

  11. ssj50driver permalink
    May 15, 2011 4:48 pm

    Is it just the cool thing to do is bash comic hero movies. I mean some aren’t that great but this had quite a bit of entertainment value. I’m not walking into this and expecting citizen kane-esque depth here. I don’t think you did either but it just seems a little shock jock-like of an approach on this review. To each their own. I liked the movie and thought it was a bit action and a bit comedy. I laugh pretty easily so it was great when he slammed the coffee cup on the floor and acted like it was a compliment. It is what it is.

    • May 16, 2011 12:06 pm

      Hahaha. There are some great comic book hero movies out there, but what can I say, this wasn’t one of ’em even though it sounds like I’m singing a different tune than everyone else on the matter. I’m not That Guy who hates on shit just for the sake of hating, but the comedy, the story, the characters, the action, none of it did it for me with this one. Like you said, homey, it is what it is.

  12. May 25, 2011 4:57 pm

    “Because you know what this movie is? It’s Michael, only with a fallen god who swears by P90X instead of a fallen angel who likes dancing to Aretha Franklin. And you know what? Fuck that. ”

    Ahahahahaha. This is why I love your reviews, dude. Who the fuck remembers (much less references) the movie Michael? Such a great pull.

    I’m not gonna make excuses for it like so many others seem to be doing; I didn’t love it, either, but I enjoyed myself more than you did. 6.5 or 7/10.

    • May 25, 2011 5:00 pm

      Haha. Thanks, man. Yeah, wasn’t a big fan, but I’m getting used to the backlash at this point. Can’t knock folks for enjoying, just wasn’t my thing, yo.

      And did I mention that your new site kicks ass? Because it does. Word.

  13. intertained permalink
    June 8, 2011 4:43 pm

    I think I may have expected the formula. I guess I see that as a license that will always be exercised in productions like that, maybe as an homage to the simplicity in the original storytelling. As much as I would like to see a Titanic without the heartburn-flavoured love story, credit where it’s due to Cameron on his success with the brand..

    Speaking of Titans, I found the greatest lost opportunity this flick ran into to be an utter failure to make the frost giants more interesting? The first fight scene pretty much summed them up as being cannon fodder. The gods have titanic foes who would one day end their existance, these guys look like extras from DS9.

    All Titanic, no iceberg in that sense. That being said, this Thor was a million time better than no Thor and it will be interesting to see how they carry it onward from here. Here’s hoping they learn from what different audiences are telling them.

    • June 9, 2011 8:39 am

      Man, awesome comment. Yeah, the ice giants definitely didn’t add much to the mix outside of upping the body count and they didn’t look too impressive either.

      And good point about how having this Thor is at least better than no Thor at all. Idk, maybe I’ll revisit it down the line and think better of it, but at least it can’t be any worse, ya’ know?

      And thanks for dropping by!

  14. June 19, 2011 12:05 am

    The story does a great job of laying the foundation of the Norse myth with Frost Giants, Loki, the Casket of Winter and the rest of the gods. I loved how they made Thor, the cocky warrior and didn’t hold back on how much of spoiled brat he was. Kenneth did a smart move of giving Loki a decent story as well. Instead of being evil upfront, Loki just wanted to ruin Thor’s day and through that action realizes he is a monster. All the stuff in Asgard with the Three Warriors and Sif give the movie a good scope.

    I do not find negative reviews about this film, even on IMDB, almost all readers providing positive feedback, for me personally that makes this film a success is, the director Kenneth Branagh is able to translate the character from the book into three main actor Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman.

    Read my personal review about Thor 2011 at :

    • June 20, 2011 6:33 pm

      Interesting take. Can’t say I see quite eye-to-eye on the whole “if everyone else likes it, that makes it a success” thing, but then again, I know I’m in the minority with this one and it’s clearly a success in a lot of ways that just didn’t gel with me. Will agree with you on Loki though. Tom Hiddleston killed that.

  15. a big black nig permalink
    December 7, 2012 1:08 am

    anything immortal or religious OR has any GOD LIKE BULLSHIT IS FFXKING SHIT so boring, human characters are beter fuck this thor guy, iron can kill him no problem except fuckin religion, god doesnt exist gt it thru ur heads fucking cum dumpster pheasants u alk need to drown in the sewer for humanitys sake

    • December 10, 2012 9:41 am

      Hahaha. That is some hate, man. Still, I hear ya’, at least up until the whole drowning in sewers thing. Didn’t hate it that much.


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