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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Movie Review:Thor

Premise:After sparking war, a violent alien prince is stripped of his powers and sent to earth for a crash course in humility.

Cast:Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, Stellan Skarsgå as Erik Selvig, Kat Dennings as Darcy, Idris Elba as Heimdall, Colm Feore as Laufey, Ray Stevenson as Volstagg, Jaimie Alexander as Sif, Tadanobu Asano as Hogun, Joshua Dallas as Fandral, Rene Russo as Frigga, Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson

Director:Kenneth Branagh

MPAA Rating:PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence

Genres:Fantasy, sci-fi, action

Notes:Images taken from IMP Awards and Rotten Tomatoes and belongs to Marvel.

Pros:An evil yet sympathetic villain. Character development. The comic relief.

Cons:Thor's friends. Odin's bad parenting move. The romance moves a little fast.

Thor Odinson has really screwed up. But he doesn't think so. Those frost giants came into Asgard! They should pay for it! And the payment he and his friends deliver is about to set off a war. You can imagine how thrilled his father isn't. So he decides Thor needs to learn a lesson. Guess where he ends up...

While the Asgardians aren't actually gods (see Spiritual below), the film does have a more of a fantasy feel than most other superhero movies, which I liked.

Thor starts out as a violent, pompous, unlikable jerk. But when things don't go the way he expects, he's devastated and forced to think about was his father told him. Through this, he becomes a better person. It's a little sudden, but the circumstances make it understandable.

Loki is one of the best bad guys in this universe so far, mostly since he's given more depth than previous villains. He's not the only villain that has a sympathetic backstory (Ivan Vanko's life wasn't exactly peaches and cream), but this is the first film within this continuity that really uses that to great effect. Yet he's definitely evil and manipulative. It makes for an interesting and entertaining combination.

On the minor characters, Darcy is fun to listen to. Thor's friends I didn't like so much. Most don't have much of a personality, and a couple of them seem to be aiming for comic relief. But it doesn't really work, nor is it necessary between the laughs provided by Darcy and Thor.

I've heard complaints about the Jane/Thor romance. Thinking about it, I admit it does move a little faster than it realistically should. And now about Odin. He seems to be a kindly and wise king (and he's surprisingly pacifistic), but he makes a very questionable decision.
He never tells Loki he's a frost giant until after Loki finds evidence of this. Odin and Frigga say it was to protect him, but still. Lying to your kid for their entire live isn't exactly a good parenting move.
End spoilers

Overall, this isn't perfect, but it's one of the better superhero movies I've watched.

Sex:Not much. When Darcy gets a look at Thor, she asks if he needs CPR, because "I totally know CPR." She also remarks he's pretty cut. Thor and one of his friends show up shirtless. Jane gives him clothes she has that her old boyfriend left behind, suggesting they may have been living together. He kisses Jane on the hand twice and she gets him on the lips once.

Violence:Thor and company sneak off and battle the Frost Giants, killing a number. Being touched by one causes a kind of frostbite. A monster attacks characters. Thor sends himself through the creature, causing a gory exit. A guardian is unleashed on a town, setting buildings on fire and knocking about opponents. Early on, there's a flashback of an ancient battle in which Odin loses his eye (offscreen, but his gory eye socket is visible). Human structures and ships are destroyed. People are frozen. Frost giants use their ice powers to create weapons. Hammers, maces, blasts from staffs, and swords as used to attack enemies. A man is stabbed through the heart with an icicle. Heimdall beheads a hostile. Thor is blasted out of a building.
A young Thor says he will slay all the frost giants. Odin tells him a wise king does not seek war, but is always prepared for it. Thor attacks doctors, orderlies, and government agents while trying to get his hammer back. He wrestles with a guy in the mud and nearly loses. Jane accidentally hits Thor with her SUV twice, breaking the glass one time. Thor overturns a table and later smashes a cup against the floor. A truck trying to pull the hammer from its place loses its bed. Thor gets blood and bad gashes on his face and chest. Darcy tasers him.
A planet is threatened with destruction. Thor and a villain get into it, knocking each other about. The same villain threatens Jane. A sleeping man is nearly murdered. People are vaporized and disintegrated. A man falls into a void. Another man goes into a coma. A villain sends a creature to do whatever necessary to prevent Thor from returning, no matter what it needs to destroy. It obliges, causing fires, explosions, and death and swatting warriors like bugs. Thor tries to stop it by offering his own life.

Language:"G*d", "d**m", "a**", and "h*ll". A frost giant mockingly tells Thor, "Run back home, little princess."

Drugs/Alcohol:Selvig unconvincingly lies that Thor got to be so bulky from steroids and is told to keep him away from bars. Selvig agrees, right before Thor asks him where they're going:"To get a drink." So then they go to a bar and get drunk. Asgardian warriors and redneck guys drink as well. Thor mutters the word "hammer," causing Darcy to say it's pretty obvious he's hammered. He is sedated after he causes a ruckus in a hospital. A warrior reportedly drinks two casks of ale.

Spiritual:This is based off the Marvel comics, which are inspired by (but not faithful to) the Norse myths before them. Various references to the myths are made. Here, while the Asgardians are definitely physical advantaged when compared to humans, they aren't gods as believed by ancient humans. Reference is made to a man thinking he died and went to Valhalla. Asgard is called the realm eternal.
Thor explains to Jane what her ancestors magic while she calls science. In his world, they're the same thing. Meanwhile, she argues that Arthur C. Clarke had a point when he said "Magic is just science we don't understand yet." Selvig is skeptical, but Darcy backs her up. Selvig at one point tells Thor, "I still don't think you're the god of thunder, but you should be." A man states "History tells us one thing, legend another. But sometimes we find something that belongs to both."
Loki is referred to as a master of magic. Heimdall has a kind of mental sight he uses to watch people, which a bad guy figures out how to block. Odin is implied to have a similar (though lesser) ability. Thor's hammer won't move unless someone worthy can pick it up and is said to have no equal. It has a symbol that appears only sometimes and gives its user such abilities as flight and weather control.

So what did you think?

For speculation, go here.

© 2014 by M.R.R.

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