Before we go any further, I should tell you that I think Thor could have been a pretty good movie. The only thing that’s truly wrong with it? It’s about Thor.
I know he’s a headliner, one of the Avengers and overall a rather popular part of the Marvel universe but I just don’t find anything about him compelling or interesting. The best part of about most superheroes is they started out like any of us. Some might be obscenely rich like Iron Man or really smart like Beast but still, the origin story usually begins with a relatively normal person. On the other hand, we are fully aware of Thor’s god origins from the start. Sure, his powers are taken away in an attempt to give us a quasi-origin story but c’mon, we see him swinging that hammer around for at least half of the preview.
Comic book writers have long figured out ways to give their superheroes weaknesses because unstoppable, unkillable beings are just not all that entertaining to watch since it removes tension or sense of danger from the plot. I scoured the nerdiest of websites on Marvel lore and couldn’t find much evidence of Thor’s weaknesses apart from the fact that he isn’t particularly bright. There’s also a bit of chatter about him needing to wear his belt to use his hammer time powers but I don’t understand how his need to accessorize has anything to do with his fighting ability.
Thor begins with a little backstory, mostly regarding how the big bad frost giants were going around making people into popsicles until Anthony Hopkins and his funny hat come to take the bully’s toys away. Naturally the frost giants aren’t too happy about this and try to get their massive ice cube back, which triggers a poorly thought out attack by Thor (Chris Hemsworth). As a result, he ends up on earth, getting run over by Jane (Natalie Portman), some sort of scientist.
The character is based on Norse mythology so you’d expect everyone to look like some sort of viking. Marvel takes this one step further with Thor and makes it “vikings in space”. Yes, that sounds silly but it could work given the right script and dialogue. Unfortunately, Thor is full of over-the-top lines stuffed with faux heroism like early ’90s wrestling. I half expected Thor to tell the frost giants he’d see them at Wrestlemania next Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY! Some of it works. The lines that were probably intended to be funny were actually quite funny. I laughed out loud when I saw the legions of rednecks pulling up their trucks and barbecues to the site where Thor’s hammer landed, which includes a chuckle worthy cameo with Stan Lee. Thor’s fish-out-of-water scenes are genuinely funny and endearing but between the unintentional comedy and a mostly uninteresting story line, there’s not enough to keep anyone’s attention.
That sort of wastes some rather good performances from the cast across the board. Hemsworth does his bit, as does Natalie Portman, even if their roles don’t require much more than just being charming. It isn’t Portman’s fault that her character isn’t believable. That isn’t because of her performance but simply…there’s no way scientists look like her.
That’s really the bulk of the problems with this movie. The action is above average and despite some shoddy CG here and there, the film looks top quality. Even the fight scenes are done rather well. I thought there was only a couple ways a guy could fight with a big hammer but apparently there’s quite a few more.
However, I simply didn’t care about anything happening. There’s never anything really at stake. Sure, it would probably be in Earth’s best interest if Asgarde is there to have our back but none of what goes on in Thor really matters. Not much is at stake for the viewer. I just don’t care about any of anything that’s going on on screen. There isn’t even a big bad guy for Thor to fight…not one that most viewers will care to watch anyways. There are a couple of interesting Marvel Universe cameos that show up in the film, including one of Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye but overall, I felt like I could’ve just skipped Thor and not be any worse off.
It’s a decent action flick if you want to see vikings in space beat up on strange blue dudes and I’m sure all the Marvel fans will be all over this but for the casual viewer, this is probably one of the least interesting comic book movies and surely the worst to come from Marvel.
…oh wait, forgot about Spider-man 3.
Verdict: 5.0 out of 10