Thor review

Banana Rating: 3 out of 5

Thor is the latest Mar­vel super­hero film to hit the screens, and another taster for the forth­com­ing Avengers movie. And that’s the main worry. Does the film do it’s own thing, or is it (like Iron Man 2 has been accused of) an exten­ded advert for the super­hero team-up that’ll emerge in 2012?

Whilst appear­ances from the likes of SHIELD are quite pre­val­ent in Thor, they’re there for a good reason. If a god with super powers falls out of the sky, I can well ima­gine them invest­ig­at­ing it thor­oughly. So their pres­ence works, and doesn’t feel bolted on to cre­ate some sort of con­tinu­ity between the dif­fer­ent Mar­vel franchises.

I’ll admit that my know­ledge of Thor is pretty lim­ited. He was never a super­hero that really grabbed my ima­gin­a­tion in the same way that Spider-Man or Iron Man did. Maybe it was the cos­tumes and the more groun­ded set ups of the lat­ter two her­oes that appealed more. Would I be able to take ser­i­ously a film star­ring a god who wears a big winged hel­met, who feels espe­cially power­ful whilst clutch­ing his big hammer?

Big helmet

Is it sup­posed to be even taken remotely ser­i­ously, any­way? Prob­ably not. This isn’t the tor­tured angst of Bat­man, after all. Gone is the winged hel­met, but there’s still lots of sil­li­ness to enjoy in the cos­tumes, which look great without being overly camp. The best gear prob­ably belongs to Idris Elba as Heim­dall: encased in gold, with a ridicu­lously huge two pronged hel­met sat on his bonce, he exhib­its sheer cool where lesser act­ors would just look embarrassed.

That’s not to say some of the other act­ors don’t turn in nice per­form­ances. They do. Anthony Hop­kins is suit­ably grand as the Thor’s dad, Odin. And Chris Hems­worth, as Thor him­self, expertly con­veys the shift from arrog­ant battle hungry god, to less arrog­ant battle hungry god who wants to fuck Nat­alie Port­man.

The real star is Tom Hid­dle­ston as Thor’s brother, Loki. Set against the back­drop of Asgard, and with all the elab­or­ate cos­tumes on dis­play, it would’ve been easy for him to slip into pan­to­mime baddy mode. But he’s bet­ter than that. For a while, I actu­ally had some sym­pathy for him. He’s smart and cap­able, more so than Thor, who is a bit of an idiot (a like­able idiot, but a bit of an idiot all the same). But it’s Loki’s jeal­ousy, and van­ity that prove his undo­ing. Until he lets rips at the end with a few more the­at­rics, Hid­dle­ston lets his eyes do all the acting.

Plastic toy-like sheen

The film’s not per­fect, mind. Huge chunks of the story are spent in Asgard. It’s rendered mostly in CGI, and has a plastic toy-like sheen to it. Thanks to the free­dom that CGI affords the cam­era, it’s forever swoop­ing and diving, and loop­ing the loop, never seem­ingly rest­ing for too long in any one area. It gets a bit bor­ing. And the ice giants, which Thor battles, have the whiff of a bad Stephen Som­mers movie.

All of this is at the expense of Thor’s time on Earth, the best parts of the film. Funny, and excit­ing, it’s a shame more time isn’t spent on our shores, watch­ing Thor adjust to our way of life. I hope the sequel will be more Earth-bound.

So how does it com­pare to other Mar­vel pro­duced super­her­oes? Bet­ter than the two Incred­ible Hulk movies (I sus­pect Branagh tried to shy away from a more arty film, after see­ing how the ori­ginal Hulk flopped), but not quite as good as the first Iron Man movie. The final Avengers solo film, Cap­tain Amer­ica, is released later this year. Maybe they’ve saved the best for last?