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Review – Thor

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Marvel Studios Thor PosterIt’s funny when you’re really torn on your thoughts about something, how the end rating of it can be rather difficult.  That’s where I sit with Thor, Marvel‘s first movie spectacular of 2011.  There’s so much to like and at the same time, so much to dislike.  From wasted characters to what’s a real long origin story, whose heart is  rushed, to amazing visuals, some pretty decent acting and easter eggs for the comic books die hards.  There’s a lot here that can get me to go either way.

The movie is an origin film.  The majority focuses on Thor’s banishment to Earth and his learning of humility.  That’s pretty much it.  There’s some plotting and some interesting action scenes, but really, it’s Thor on Earth, talking and complaining.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Chris Hemsworth as the title character does quite a good job.  He just feels like Odin’s son and plays brash and arrogance well.  You do see some growth, though his break through comes off as rushed and too short of a time.  Tom Hiddleston as Loki also stands out though the character doesn’t come off as scheming as I’d expect (for the God of mischief, he does very little).

The supporting cast is varied Anthony Hopkins as Odin is amazing, just a force of acting nature that’s perfect for the role.  Natalie Portman is decent as Thor’s love interest, but isn’t given much to do.  Similarly Stellan SkarsgårdKat Dennings (who I have a massive crush on), Rene RussoIdris ElbaRay StevensonTadanobu Asano (why does he have that accent?)Josh Dallas and Jaimie Alexander all are there, but the movie might haver been the same without them or not as well known actors in some of those roles.  Dennings and Portman aren’t the strong female characters they should have been, instead falling for Thor on looks alone and belittling the character.  Clark Gregg as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Coulson is always entertaining and here he’s given a beefier role than previous Marvel movies.

The biggest difference is the structure of the movie.  Spider-Man, Iron Man and Hulk dealt with the origin of the character for a short while, Thor on the other hand, it’s the entire movie.  The second part is infinitesimal compared to the previous movie’s story structure.  My other gripe is the special effects.  It’s very difficult to make this movie have that same realism of Spider-Man or Iron Man, but many of the special effects come off as the quality you would have seen in the original Superman movies.  The green screen is replaced with CGI in this case.  Those effects though do make Asgard stand out as the  beautiful, rich world we’d expect, full of awe and wonder.  But, when it came to the overall effects, it made me wanting.

There’s tons of small moments for the comic book fans and much is set up for next year’s Avengers and even this year’s Captain America: The First Avenger.  Enough was present I’d need a second viewing to catch it all.

I wasn’t blown away by the movie, but it was good.  It’s definitely a film to see in the theater and especially in 3D which added a richness and depth some of the scenes needed.  Overall though, there was a certain magic missing from this.  That magic that made me think a person could crawl up buildings, build a super suit or most importantly a man could fly.

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