Sunday, 8 May 2011

FILM REVIEW: Thor


I'll admit I was never the biggest supporter of Thor. From the footage that was released from Comic Con last year, to the 3D announcement, to the trailers - "the things Natalie makes me do" I muttered a fair few times. But then, astonishingly, surprisingly, the reviews started coming in - and they were good. "The new Iron Man!" people were proclaiming (not that I know what that means, I've never seen Iron Man). But it seemed like it was a good thing - a very good thing. But still it has taken me a good week to get round to seeing it (okay fair enough I have been sprucing up the ol' mousehole). 

BUT I LOVED IT.

I wish I could say I loved it before Natalie even came on the screen, but she does get the first line in the film, so...

It was *such* an adventure film, a proper adventure film where you could believe in the characters, understand their flaws, understand the motives for what was happening, and enjoy yourself immensely in the process. 

Just as Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is about to be crowned King of Asgard by his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins with eyepatch) there is an attack by old enemy the Frost Giants. Keen to make sure they no longer return, Thor and his friends plus brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) journey to the foreign land and ruffle a lot of icy feathers - the two sides are now at war. Dismayed at the outcome and angered by his son's impulsive recklessness, Odin exiles Thor and his powerful hammer to Earth, where he is discovered by an astrophysicist Jane (Natalie) and her crew (Kat Dennings and Stellan Skarsgard) who are studying storm patterns in the desert. The strange weather phenomenons also attract the Government, who take away all of Jane's research and impound the hammer which no one can lift from the ground (ala Excalibur) - not even Thor. But while the God of Thunder struggles with his temperament and maturity (and making Natalie all dewey eyed), his brother Loki is made King after Odin falls into a deep sleep. But Loki is not who everyone thinks he is, and has an unholy connection and alliance with the Frost Giants...

My two main loves: all the humour on Earth and THE FROST GIANTS. Whilst I adore Natalie (and she was lovely) Kat Dennings was just a gigglesome treat and I now adore her even more than before. I loved her deadpan, dry comments - she is just an awesome sidekick to have. And the interactions as a group with Thor as they are trying to come to terms with who he really is led to some brilliant moments: the cafe scene was hilarious (I loved his big cheesy grin for Facebook), and the continued car scrapes - winning slapstick! And then to compare this with the Frost Giants - who were a wickedly brilliant enemy, and Jotunheim was such an atmospheric and imposing fortress - just shows how the balance of action and humour in this film really pays off. I am such a kid for good enemies, sinister backgrounds, and thrilling battles so I was have a whale of a time watching Thor and his enemies first attack the Frost Giants. Beginning the film in Earth, and then travelling to Asgard to spend a good 30-40 minutes with the Gods before re-connecting with the narrative was expertly done - it gave the film a sense of being epic, of helping to achieve that adventurous spirit. 

Chris Hemsworth was an absolute revelation. I know him as Kym from Home and Away, the blond buff guy with emotional issues, but here he has transformed into an actor of strength, veracity, comedy, and well, massive abs. You can't ignore the massive abs! Joss Whedon did well to recommend him, and he will not only add to the cast of The Avengers next year but now provides a reason to go and watch it. Also an important mention to Tom Hiddleston, an actor I've had very little dealings with before now, but who was a gloriously twisted and corrupt sibling powered by jealousy and dark magic. I hope his disappearance into the cosmos doesn't mean a permanent end to his story (God here I am, dreaming of a sequel). 

What also made the film for me was that it didn't end with a new magical rainbow bridge being created in five seconds, so he could bring Natalie back and show her the palaces of Asgard. Ugh. It was so refreshing to have them together, but then apart, yet with the promise for more just as would have been the case in the comic books: "she searches for you." Kenneth Branagh has done more than a solid job of bringing the Marvel action hero to life, and his enthusiasm, knowledge and care for the characters shines through and helps make Thor detailed, clever, pacy, funny and most of all thoroughly entertaining and watchable. My only quibble? Worst use of Jeremy Renner EVER.

Seriously go and see it. It's a fantastic trip out to the cinema. Make sure you skip the 3D song and dance, and go have some fun. Natalie's there too, girlishly putting dirty plates in cupboards!


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