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?
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?