With Marvel Studios gearing up for the release of the biggest film ever ‘The Avengers’ next year, they are owning the muliplexes this summer with not one but two superhero movies. ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ and this ‘Thor’. Thor is probably the lesser known of the two, especially on UK shores. But it plays admirably to what people expect from a blockbuster whether you are familiar with the material or not.
Despite the potential for some real Flash Gordon-style hamminess, and other than the first 30 minutes which set up the crazy world of Asguard that our superhero originates from, Thor manages to keep its feet firmly on the ground with the majority of the film taking place in New Mexico.
Kenneth Brannagh, despite being a completely leftfield choice as director handles the sci-fi/mythical mumbo jumbo with aplomb and is adept at startling camera movements - some lovely shots that spin us around Asguard are quite lovely. (But not in 3D - more on that later). Though he does overuse the squint camera angle
Chris Hemsworth other than a role in Home and Away and as Kirk’s dad in JJ. Abrams’ Star Trek hasn’t been in a whole lot and probably wouldn’t have a starring role by now if he wasn’t perfect for this role. Without coming off like I fancy him a bit too much, Hemsworth has great screen presence and I can easily see him in starring roles in the future.
Natalie Portman appears in her 26th film this year as Thor’s potential mortal love interest, but shes not given a whole lot to do except be freaked out / fancy Thor, but shes got a hell of a lot more to do than a lot of the supporting actors. Kat Dennings and Rene Russo (Jesus! When was the last time she was in anything?) barely register and are fairly unnessential to the story.
Clark Gregg reprises his Iron Man role as SHIELD agent Coulsen, and hes pretty annoying in this, going about being a big smarmy pants like he was in the Iron Man films. A lot of this seems to be a big Avengers advert, they do seem to be saving a lot of the good stuff for the main event, but theres plenty here to be excited about including the first appearance of a particular Avenger. Like Iron Man and Incredible Hulk you should really hang around to after the credits for some Avengers nonsense.
Tim Hindlestoun isn’t an actor I was familiar with before but h does a good job as the villainous Loki. (and that’s no spoiler, hes dodgy from the start) Rumour has it he is the villain in The Avengers too and I’m sure he’ll do a fine job in that.
The Stan Lee cameo is great as always, it will be a sad day when you can’t look forward to a Marvel film without a Stan Lee cameo.
Please try and see a 2D showing if possible as the 3D post conversion isn’t really up to snuff, its not the worst I’ve seen but the camera angles surprisingly don’t lend themselves to 3D. The shots of Asguard as we wiz around it are very headache inducing and very hard to tell at times whats going on as the screen moves to fast for your brain to cope with the 3D of it. Motion blur is particularly bad during battle scenes -especially the one near the beginning as it is quite a dark setting.
Thor is overall a great blockbuster with it’s heart in the right place and has the right balance of humour and respect for the material. It works both for and against it that the most excitement you get from it is the wee tasters for the main event next year. Roll on 4th May 2012…