BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
MAY 7, 2011
We were there last summer (2010) when the conclusion of “Iron Man 2” revealed the protagonist for this summer’s blockbuster, “Thor.” The nerdiest members of the audience whooped and hollered at Mjölnir gracing the screen, solidifying the continued build-up to “The Avengers,” compiling years of story and characters into one single “mega-film.” I am a fan of the comic book adaptations of late, but Thor never really jumped off the page for me. Even the first trailers for “Thor” did not seem to translate well into an on-earth piece or as grounded as, say, “Iron Man” or “The Incredible Hulk.” I felt that the “Clash of the Titans” would retake its slimy tentacles and reign as God of the bad B-title remakes. I am sitting here today, singing a different tune. “Thor” proved me wrong.
A few aspects help keep “Thor” on my good side (my un-Hulk side, if you will). The first and most prevalent is the acting. Chris Hemsworth knocks the part of Thor out of the ballpark. He physically, psychologically, and linguistically nails the role and makes it believable, a feat few actors could accomplish from my perspective. Tom Hiddleston, as Loki, also sinks into the part splendidly, creating one of the most memorable conflicted villains to date. The direction and performance make Loki the true testament to the film.
Without these two leading men, the film would have lacked immensely. Though Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, and Natalie Portman are veteran actors, none drove home their parts like the hero and the villain, which is how a comic book adaptation should be.
The second significant influence garnering my appreciation for “Thor” was the ability to poke fun at itself. The film produced dozens upon dozens of laughs (more so in our theater than most, I have a feeling, but laughs nonetheless), but not because of the otherworldly nature of the situations or from being overdone (like “Clash of the Titans”). Instead, it produced humor in a naturally occurring way, and comic book buffs appreciate that. “Iron Man” creates laughs simply by having the smart-talking Robert Downey Jr. at the helm. Still, to have practically brand new actors/actresses stepping up and bringing constant laughs amongst serious, action-filled, blockbuster sequences helped offset the downtime in the film.
For lack of another option, as this was a midnight showing in the Los Angeles area, the screening was in 3D. Not being a fan of 3D right off the bat, I was extra skeptical, and again, I have seen yet another film that absolutely does not need the amusement park medium. A disconnect takes viewers out of the action rather than keeping them immersed, missing the entire point. I would rather have an experience like “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One,” where the film feels as though it is in 3D without actually being 3D with glasses. Isn’t that pretty much the next step anyways? To make films where you do not need to wear unique immersion eyewear?
Also, the use of canted angles was repetitious and flat-out confusing. If there were a need for skewed camera positions, I would be fully on board. I enjoy messing with a perspective, but when it sticks out and leaves a bad taste after the film, there is something wrong.
“Thor” continues the ever-growing saga of the Avengers quite nicely, building upon the upcoming film much better than the past installments. The movie blew my expectations so much that “Captain America” even looks appealing now. I am starting to get high hopes for “The Avengers” film, especially with the well-cast villain at its center, and if the film plays out anything like the “Ultimate Alliance” video games, I will be delighted.
Save yourself the extra money for glasses and see “Thor” in 2D, connect with the leading characters, laugh at the well-placed jokes, and question the canted angles, all while experiencing a nice blend of superhero meets Greek mythology.
May 6, 2011
Ashley Edward Miller
J. Michael Straczynski (story by)
Mark Protosevich (story by)
by Stan Lee
(for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence)
Samuel L. Jackson