The idea of a "classic" director like Kenneth Branagh making a superhero film might initially sound strange, but in the case of Thor that ended up being very appropriate, because the comic always used Shakespearean drama and archaic language to tell the story of the God of Thunder, the political/family conflicts in the Asgard kingdom and its interaction with the universe of Marvel Comics. And Branagh's competent direction, the excellent performances and the solid screenplay make Thor to be a very entertaining movie.
I honestly had always preferred the character of Thor in small doses or as part of an ensemble, like he was on the beginnings of the comic The Avengers and in its modern reinterpretation The Ultimates. So, I did not have big expectations on a movie exclusively focused in that character; however, Chris Hemsworth brings a brilliant performance in that role, because he could perfectly combine the pompous and operatic "classic" Thor with the dynamic and unstable modern Thor. I do not know how the purist fans of the Kirby/Lee era will take that mash-up, but I think it was a very good decision, specially because Thor does not only work as an origin of that superhero, but also as an efficient preamble of the highly anticipated film The Avengers, which will be an unification point of Marvel's film universe.
For example, we also have the character of Agent Coulson conducting scientific investigations from S.H.I.E.L.D. with his accustomed astuteness and efficiency; we also have a cameo of one of my favorite Avengers (even though without his traditional uniform); and a post-credits scene where a few concepts we are surely going to see in that future movie are established. But well...it would not be fair to only consider Thor as an extra-large trailer of The Avengers. As I previously said, it is a very entertaining movie with various positive elements, like Branagh's efficient direction, which drives the movie at a perfect rhythm. As for the cast, besides of the previously mentioned Hemsworth, I think that the rest of the actors is also worthy of applause, starting by Natalie Portman, who can perfectly express her character's emotions. I also liked the work from Stellan Skarsgard; his participation is relatively short and it would seem irrelevant if it was not for the dramatic weight this actor brings to the character with his mere presence. And Kat Dennings is quite funny and credible as the comic relief.
As for the screenplay, it is very well written; the only thing I would say against it is that it makes a few "traps" which feel a bit forced. As for the action scenes, I found them to be well filmed, with the exception of a few excessive close-ups which made them occasionally confusing; I think that is the only thing I can say against Branagh's direction.
In conclusion, I took a very pleasant surprise with Thor, and I can recommend it as a very good re-invention of a difficult to handle superhero. It might not be a great film, but it definitely made me have a good time.
Action / Adventure
Action / Adventure
The warrior Thor (Hemsworth) is cast out of the fantastic realm of Asgard by his father Odin (Hopkins) for his arrogance and sent to Earth to live among humans. Falling in love with scientist Jane Foster (Portman) teaches Thor much-needed lessons, and his new-found strength comes into play as a villain from his homeland sends dark forces toward Earth.
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August 28, 2011 at 4:04 am