Thor

a review by Nalini Haynes

Director: Keneth Branagh
Writers: J. Michael Straczynski & Mark Protosevich

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is a young, headstrong god, about to be crowned ruler of Asgaard so elderly Odin can rest. The Ice Giants break into an Asgardian vault in an attempt to reclaim the source of their power. Thor takes his brother Loki and three closest friends to wreak havoc on the Ice Giants, starting a war. In his fury Odin strips Thor of his power and casts him out of Asgaard to Earth.

After landing on Earth, Thor is promptly hit by a car carrying Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) and Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) who take Thor to hospital. A secret government agency moves in on their headquarters. Meanwhile Thor’s hammer arrives on Earth, to be found by the local lads who have an Excalibur-style contest and BBQ that makes Thor well worth watching for that alone. J. Michael Straczynski cameos in this scene.

Comic book movies are a genre in their own right, judged by different standards than other movies. The makers of the movie must respect the superhero genre and established conventions, or the movie is a disappointment such as with X Men 3, Daredevil and Electra. The makers of Thor understand the genre and have worked well to bring the comic book superheroes to life on the big screen.

In this genre of movie, the characters are not necessarily developed as they already have a mythos around them making further development difficult. The central characters like Thor and Jane are developed within the movie, but other characters like Thor’s three friends remain two dimensional. Casting is brilliant: Chris Hemsworth is the new Heath Ledger working alongside many familiar, high-calibre actors.

Special effects are good, along with the use of 3D as a means of conveying the story. The 3D does not try to compete with the story.

Highly recommended. Top of its genre.

Previously published in Dark Matter issue 4, July 2011, blog post predated to reflect the original publication date.