Saturday, April 30, 2011

MEANWHILE AT THE MOVIES... Thor blasts into the comic book movie forefront!

I got a chance to see a preview screening of THOR this Saturday AM (in 3D), so here's my review (with mild spoilers)...

First off, let me just say, WOW!
I've never been a Thor fan, never cared for the character in the least, and I also was very un-enthused by the trailers for the movie (finding the Captain America trailers to be much more enticing, even though I'm equally un-enamoured with Cap), but dang, I am now!

The movie Thor kicks ass, and is a bolt of fun from the first frame. The first half or so of the movie is downright magical, and had me gleefully squealing time and again at the comic book spectacle portrayed on screen, the pure imaginative anything goes action that can, until this time, only take place on the comic page... where you get to see the fantastic and beyond real brought to visual life, page after page... or in this case, scene after scene. Thor operates on a level no comic book movie to this point has, it goes further in depicting the out of this world elements of super heroes and fantasy than any other adaptation has to date (though I suspect Green Lantern could rival or surpass that). While we've had some truly great movies based on comic book characters, stories, or franchises, most of them are so firmly grounded in the real world, that they, due to the constraints of budget, and effects, focus more so on those elements of the comics than the books themselves. And while Thor certainly does it's fair share of that, it also seamlessly depicts the fantasy realm of Asgard and Norse gods at play and war.

Thor is shown doing things we haven't seen a comic book hero do on screen since maybe the early Superman films, only of course, a bit more fantastically thanks to 21st century movie making. He comes close to a Superman level of iconic heroism, and Chris Hemsworth turns in a Christopher Reeves level performance of braun and charisma. The rest of the cast is amazing too; you believe Natalie Portman as the passionate astrologist that goes ga ga for a fallen god, Kat Dennings is spot on as the young comedic relief, Stellan Skarsgard adds weight and consciance as the nordic born astrologist counterpart, the warriors three and other Asgardians bring their roles to life, and, most of all, Anthony Hopkins makes Odin THE father of all gods and quickly wiped away any doubts I had that he could pull off the role at his adavanced age, he's amazing and turns in his most memorable performance since Silence of the Lambs! I love this cast.

Then there's all the little geek things that shine. Seeing SHEILD in action, and getting their asses handed to them as they encounter the first omega level super power, who's merely mortal here... The Asgardians in battle... the Frost Giants, who while simplistically done, come off far better than they do in the previews... the massive Frost Giant beast... Hawkeye being onhand to potentially deal with Thor... the way the Frank Kirby Destroyer creates unholy carnage as his blasts pierce your eardrums!!!! Damn this is a fun movie, especially for us comic geeks!!! This is the most comic geeked I've been since the first X-Men and Spider-Man flicks, but agian, it delivers so much more geekyness, even IF you're not a fan of the character!

Then there's the 3D. It doesn't suck! It actually adds a bit to the movie. But like Green Hornet, the film should play well in 2D as well. The 3D isn't ever overbearing, or in your face, it just enhances things and stays pretty much in the background. I would recommend seeing the movie in 3D, but don't worry if you can't or don't.

As much fun as the movie was, and as great as the first half to two-thirds were, I felt while the ending was solid, it lacked a bit of a punch. (MILD SPOILERS) After seeing the Asgardian on Frost carnage, the Asgardians dueling the Destroyer on Earth, and Thor in action against SHEILD, I felt the finale with Thor and Loki was a bit weak, and needed more drama. You never got the sense that Loki was any real match for Thor, in direct combat, so having them go toe to toe for the ending was pretty perfunctory.

Also, with Marvel running things now, and committed to an immersive universe where the characters cross over with each other, why not push that a bit more. Sure Hawkeye makes a cameo (and that was only tacked in via last minute reshoots), but can't Nick Fury show up more, or have the big SHEILD heavy be some other hero or villain from the Marvel universe? Don't be afraid to go further with these geek/character things, and give us a bit more of that...

All that said, get your ass to the theater and prepare for a genuine comic book treat. Thor delivers the goods on all counts and is a pure joy to behold! WOW!! Branagh perfectly blends the fantastic Asgardian story, with that of the god on Earth, and stages it all fairly epically. I can't wait to see it again!


1 comment:

David H. said...

i just saw THOR today for the first time. it was pretty good a solid 3 stars out of 4. among other things done well the guy who played Loki was perfect. i'd say more but i don't want to give too much away for those of you who may not have seen it yet.