Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy
24

Movies Review

Thor

By
Thor poster
Released on Wednesday, Apr 27 2011

Dolby speakers throughout the land might rumble with dread as Thor, the Norse God of Thunder, marches into cinemas directed by a shouty Shakespearean actor. In a manner befitting, Aussie up-and-comer Chris Hemsworth doth raise his chin a lot in upright posture and delivers much portentous dialogue in booming tenor. All the boxes are ticked for what threatens to be the most obnoxious film of the year. It comes as a relief, then, that rather than bang us over the head with that hammer, Hemsworth and Kenneth Branagh take a mischievous, light-hearted approach more in keeping with the Marvel Comic than the ancient mythology.

The opening lulls you into false sense of weary resignation, introducing the heavenly realm of Asgard in sparkly CGI whilst Anthony Hopkins, as King Odin, recounts the Norse legend in (booming) voiceover for the benefit of his young sons Thor and Loki. But mostly this is for your benefit, the modern moviegoer, who may be waiting in futility for some kind of nuclear accident that will transform little Thor into a superhero freak and spandex fetishist. Cut to years later and Thor (Hemsworth), fully grown, has discovered a mystical hammer that endows great strength and he swings it about all over the place, in case anyone doubts his manhood.

Hammer aside, it appears Thor's superpower is a greater-than-usual smugness. He abuses his might and has a stormy temper which gets the better of him after the neighbouring race of Frost Giants vandalise the royal enclave. Thor leads the charge into their dark realm, reluctantly backed by the Warriors Three and Loki (Tom Hiddelston), looking for some bone-crunching action. The effects are arresting and, as the Giants' leader Laufey, Colm Feore's intensity isn't entirely lost behind a stony CG visage. Still, it's all a bit too earnest. That is, until Odin banishes Thor to Earth for his juvenile warmongering.

Thor falls directly into the path of Natalie Portman as storm-chasing scientist Jane Foster. She appears to be his perfect match, being just as annoyingly po-faced. But then something funny happens: Thor's gravitas becomes romantic and whimsical - in a cheesy Mills & Boon kind of a way - when set against the modern backdrop of smalltown America. He drinks coffee with hearty satisfaction before smashing his mug on a café floor, then he swaggers into a pet shop demanding a horse, or at least a gerbil "big enough to ride". It's as if the first half hour was simply an elaborate build-up to a punch line - the prelude to a fish-out-of-water comedy.

Not everyone will appreciate the tonal shift, but Branagh stops short of spoofing the genre. Instead, he focuses on the coming-of-age story with Thor now physically unable to pull his hammer from the cratered spot where it fell and struggling to comprehend the meaning of true strength. Alas, the loss of his power means the action lags midway and scenes of Asgard (where Loki is plotting his ascendancy to the throne) do little to up the ante. On the upside, it's a sacrifice that means Thor is allowed to evolve into an engaging character through his relationship with Jane and her mentor (Stellan Skarsgard). Naturally, the adrenalin kicks in again towards the end, by which point Hemsworth (last seen in Star Trek) has stamped his authority as a convincing movie hero.


What do you think of the movie? Share your views

You May Like

Comments

Loading...