?Short, spoiler-free version: Thor is a lot of fun. It’s probably as good a Thor movie as could ever realistically be made, and I think it did a great job introducing the character — who, it should be remembered, is not the Norse god Thor but Marvel’s Thor (very different) — to mass audiences, which is no mean feat. I could nitpick some parts — and I will, after the jump — but overall I really enjoyed it, and look forward to seeing Thor in the Avengers and Thor 2. All right, more spoiler-y review after the jump.
Because I am an intensely lazy writer, I’m just doing the bullet point thing. Sorry.
? First of all: Goddamn.
?Chris Hemsworth is fucking built in this movie. I’ve never seen a man that looked more like he had a comic book superhero physique. I’m not gay, but if Chris Hemsworth wanted to make sweet love to me, I’d probably have to let him, just on principle.
? Best thing about the movie for me? The design of Asgard, and everything in it. Not only did it translate Kirby’s unique (and kind of bizarre) Thor universe to the big screen, it did it amazingly well. You know how all the trailers had that Thor line “Your ancestors call it magic, and you call it science; I come from a place where they’re one and the same”? Well, every building and outfit and item in the Asgard scenes nailed that look perfectly. Whatever concept artist managed to accomplish it should get a raise and a shitload of awards. Seriously, if Asgard looked bad or inappropriate to the film, it could have wrecked the whole damn movie. Instead, it makes the movie. Amazing, amazing work.
? First thing I liked that I can see other people not liking: The very simple designs of the frost giants. they’re basically just big, blue people, but I think it works. First, because the Asgard stuff is so elaborate and unique it actually helps the mythology aspect of the film to have simpler monsters, and second because they’re actually people and not CG. which is fantastic. Again, excellent design choice.
? Second thing I liked that I can see other people not liking: Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster being a brilliant astrophysicist who turns into a simpering, giggling idiot around Thor. It’s fun, funny, Portman conveys the attraction well, and she has plenty of scenes where she’s a smart, strong heroine. Also:
?I imagine the number of girls who would also turn into simpering, giggling idiots around Chris Hemsworth is pretty goddamn high. I don’t begrudge it of them.
? Also, I’ve not heard of anyone being upset that Jane Foster is now an astrophysicist instead of a nurse, but I’m sure someone somewhere is. I find the idea anyone’s who’s upset about anything related to the character of Jane Foster to be kind of sad.
? Okay, problems: Mostly, it’s Loki. The Thor movie makes Loki less of a cunning, brilliant god of mischief and more a petulant godling — he lies seemingly just for the sake of lying, and not according to some evil scheme, and it bites him in the ass. He’s not very bright. Also, his ultimate plan, which I shan’t spoil, seems totally spurious and makes almost no sense.
? Other than Thor and Odin and Heimdall, none of the other Asgardians seemed to kick any ass whatsoever. I was not as enamored with the Warriors Three as everyone else seemed to be. I didn’t mind them, per se, but they really didn’t seem to do anything.
? Half the movie takes place in Asgard, and half the movie takes place in a small town in New Mexico. It’s very… un-Thor-like, but I suppose that was intentional.
? Two people who just kill it in the movie: Idris Elba as Heimdall (suck it, racists) and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye. GODDAMN I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE AVENGERS MOVIE.
? I should point out that Chris Hemsworth does an pretty awesome job with Thor, too. I mean, the character’s not the easiest sell, especially since he’s supposed to be an arrogant ass for the first half of the movie, but Hemsworth still makes him intensely likeable and charismatic. So well done there.
? In summary, Thor was so much fun. It might be the most comic book-y comic book movie I’ve ever seen — full of action, humor, and wild and crazy shit with none of the grimness and grittiness and pseudo-realism that films like The Dark Knight fill themselves with. Again, I think Thor might have been the hardest of the main Marvel heroes to translate to the screen, but director Kenneth Branagh knocked it out of the park. Honestly, Green Lantern, Captain America and X-Men: First Class all have a pretty high bar to cross this summer.