May 15, 2011

Film Review: Thor

So, I am not going to beat around the bush. If you are one of the ten people who has not seen Thor, you need to get to a movie theater and watch it. The blockbuster, directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman, is pretty much everything you want in a summer movie. It's pure, cheesy fun!

By the Hammer of Thor, these people are attractive!

The film stars Hemsworth as the titular Thor, an angry and boastful heir to the throne who is cast out of Asgard and stripped of his title after disobeying his father's explicit orders (Anthony Hopkins could not be more clear!). He's cast down to Earth, where young and sexy
astrophysicist (?) Jane runs him over and instantly falls in love with his chest him. Jane, played by Natalie Portman, is hell-bent on discovering the source of the strange wormholes that have been popping up all over the desert.  Maybe they have something to do with this strange Norse God Thor and his angry joviality?  As women often do in films like these, she slowly helps him become the man he needs to be (blah, blah, blech).

The movie moves along at a really fast clip, and everyone seems to be having a good time. There are some stand-out performances, most notably from Tom Hiddleston as Thor's brother Loki.  He's pretty much excellent. He makes you understand and sympathize with a character that probably reads as a straight villain on paper. Kat Dennings is also pretty good in the film - her quirkiness is tuned to just the right level.

Kenneth Branagh directs the film admirably. With him attached, the film takes on a sort of Shakespearean weight. There's definitely a sort of King Lear, Edmund/Edgar rivalry playing out throughout the movie. In terms of camera work/directorial touches, some of the scenes in Asgard are cheesy-bad, and the CGI can be a bit overhwelming, but on Earth things are really well done. Branagh has a particular eye for fight sequences, wherein the intensity is not compromised by the great attention to detail and spacial awareness.

So, go see this movie. You're missing out.

Film Grade: B+
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