Thor

11 Feb

by josh

Comic book movies generally fall into two categories – the ones that take the genre seriously, hiring top-rate directors and incorporating realistic plots and action (Iron Man, Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise), and the cash grabs, starring lessen known characters, quickly thrown together in the hopes of capitalizing off the genre (Ghost Rider, The Punisher). But what happens when you combine the two? I mean, what would we get if they took a middle-of-the-road superhero, and beefed it up with A-List actors and a director whose resume reads more “Shakespeare” than “Superman”? Well, we’d get Thor, the upcoming comic book movie that looks to stand out among the crowded pack this summer.

Directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Natalie Portman and the relatively unknown Australian actor Chris Hemsworth (he played Captain Kirk’s dad in the latest Star Trek) as the titular Norse god, Thor is your classic Shakespearean tale; reckless son is banished by his king of a father Odin (Anthony Hopkins), and must protect Earth from his evil half brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Hmm…that sounds like eight or nine different Shakespeare plays. At any rate, aside from being a comic book movie, this sounds right up Branagh’s alley.

From watching the trailer, we can deduce three things: 1. Thor is NOT a God, per se, but rather an alien, or warrior from another dimension, 2. Thor and his mighty hammer, the nearly unpronounceable Mjolnir, are mistaken by the government as special ops weapons, and 3. Chris Hemsworth really likes to walk around without his shirt on. Those three things are certain. The rest of the plot is still unknown, with the biggest gap being why the hell Natalie Portman is there! Does she work for the government? Is she just a random (beautiful) citizen that happens to find Thor as he crashes down from who knows where? Either way, Branagh came up with some reason to add this highly regarded actress to his movie, and hopefully we’re better off for it.

Now, adding up the Shakespeare references, combining the kick-ass action of Thor taking out an entire military base with only fists and mid-air double-footed kicks, and bouncing back between real-world and Thor’s home world (Asgard – we looked it up), the trailer gets a bit jumbled. How much of the film is going to center around the magical world of Gods and monsters, and how much will it take place here on Earth, with our lesser, Earthly foes? It’ll be a fine line to walk weaving the two together, but at this point, it kinda reminds us of the Heman movie Masters of the Universe, starring Dolph Lundgren. Muscle bound hero who wields a magical weapon and battles otherworldly foes on Earth and other dimensions? Apparently I’m not the first one to come up with this.

So, will it suck?

No. Comic book movies are a tricky sort. Yes, to date, Thor’s closest claim to being a household name was in 1987’s Adventures in Babysitting (with a young Vincent D’Onofrio playing the part!), but with news of a full on Avengers movie, and the likes of Branagh and Portman along for the ride, it’s clear this isn’t some rush job, and both the studio and Branagh took their time getting together a good script and filming a good movie. Judging by the sheer premise of the film and Thor comic book, this isn’t going to be a gritty, ultra-realistic world like Nolan’s Gotham City, but with a superb cast and a Shakespearean pedigree behind the camera, not to mention how kick-ass Thor looks in his full armor and cape getup, we see this combination of the Bard and summer blockbuster as a match made in Valhalla.

Thor, the new film

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3 Responses to “Thor”

  1. Sara February 12, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    So glad you brought up Thor from Adventures in Babysitting. First thing I thought of when I saw they were making a Thor movie.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. In Theaters This Weekend: Bird-brained comedy for kids, and the ‘Scream’ franchise takes another stab « Will It Suck? - April 15, 2011

    […] not much. We’re only a few weeks away from the summer blockbuster season kicking off with Thor on May 6, and it looks like the studios are piling on some mid-range movies that will attempt to […]

    Like

  2. In Theaters This Weekend: Summer Movie season begins by bringing the hammer down « Will It Suck? - May 6, 2011

    […] Thor, the God of Thunder in Norse mythology, made famous in the pages of DC comics (and Adventures in Babysitting), gets his long-awaited big screen debut this Friday, with an A-List cast backed up by Shakespearean actor/director Kenneth Branagh. Starring relative newcomer Chris Hemsworth as the immortal Thor, and supported by Oscar winners Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins, not to mention Rene Russo, Stellan Skarsgard, and Kat Dennings thrown into the mix, in a big budget blockbuster helmed by a guy who knows his way around a story. As the story goes, Thor, kind of a loose cannon on his homeworld, gets banished to Earth as punishment, with the job of protecting us humans from ourselves. However, back at home his evil brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) attempts to overthrow their father and take over the kingdom, and sends a couple of nasty characters down to Earth to keep Thor busy while he follows through with his plan. Thor must save us here on Earth, while making his way back home to save his family. Standard superhero stuff, but with Branagh behind the film, one can only wonder what kind of Henry V allusions we’ll get. But if we can get a superhero movie loosely based on the Bard’s work, it might just be the perfect storm of great script, great performances and great special effects that could rank this right up there as one of the best summer movies of all time. […]

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