Though perfectly suited to watch as a stand alone feature, Thor is in fact the fourth movie of Marvel studios phase one universe that ties up with Avengers Assemble so if you want to understand some of the references then you should watch Iron Man, Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2 first but it doesn't matter too much.
What does matter is that Thor is a fantastic film.
Based upon norse mythology, the character Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is the son of Odin (Anthony Hopkins), the king of the realm of Asgard. During his would be corronation to receive the crown from his father, Asgard is attacked by a handful of frost giants, long time enemies of the Asgardians. Arrogant in his youth believing himself invincible, he is persuaded by his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) Thor and his closest warriors defy Odin and travel to Jotenheim to confront the giants resulting in war. Enraged by Thor's acts, Odin banishes him to earth to humble him. Pride before the fall as they say.
This film does so many things right. It has surprisingly strong character development at it's heart as Thor realises he has much to learn not only about himself but the other realms, I really enjoyed watching him grow.
The locations are stunning. The CGI heavy realms of Asgard and Jotenheim look fantastic, Asgard is all light with golden glowing castles and shimmering waters in contrast with Jotenheim's dark cold ice and rock environments. Despite these fantastical locations Thor's time on earth in a small desert town is equally memorable as Thor tries to adjust to a world he doesn't understand or belong leading to many humorous moments. Interestingly despite the large differences between each realm, it works well as a cohesive universe.
The acting for the most part is fantastic with Tom Hiddleston and Anthony Hopkins especially great though many of the supporting cast such as Kat Dennings, Idris Elba and Stellan Skarsgard play their parts perfectly. Chris Hemsworth plays Thor rather well and seems to grow with confidence as the film progresses.
The Blu-Ray itself is excellent. The menu is gorgeous with an animation of Thor's hammer flying through space. It has quite a lot of decent extra content. A nice Marvel one shot mini film linking to a previous film. Seven different making of featurettes featuring sets, costumes, actor/director/producer interviews, Thor's hammer, film music etc. There are also deleted scenes, director commentary among others. It has a decent wealth of content.
Overall I really enjoy this film from the fantastical elements right down to the more basic. It has great action and battles, awesome special effects yet also has great characters and humour.
+ Gorgeous special effects.
+ Fantastic art design.
+ Great pacing and character development.
+ Nice selection of extras.
on 15 April 2015
Long ago Odin (Anthony Hopkins) led Asgard to victory against the Jotunheim Frost Giants and captured the source of their power, the Casket of Ancient Warriors. Over a thousand years later, Odin is about to crown his son, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), as King of Asgard, but the coronation ceremony is interrupted when the Front Giants find a way into the weapons vault and try to steal back the Casket. Fortunately, it wasn’t stolen as the giants fell before they could take it. Wanting to make an example of them, Thor and some of his loyal companions travel to Jotunheim against his father’s wishes and start a war with the giants. Odin rescues them but not without grave consequences: upon returning to Asgard, Thor is banished to Earth for his actions, powerless and alone. Only his hammer, Mjolnir, is sent with him, but now with an enchantment that only the worthy can wield it—and Thor is not.
On Earth, Thor meets Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), an astrophysicist who was there along with her mentor, Dr. Erik Selvig, the night Thor came through the wormhole.
Meanwhile, Thor’s brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), finds out that his own heritage is not what he was told and, upon finding out his true origin, seeks to ensure his brother never returns to Asgard so he could become the king instead.
While on Earth, Thor must learn what it means to be humble, care for others, and thus earn his place as the proper king of Asgard, all in time to stop his brother from leading the Frost Giants into Asgard and destroying Odin’s kingdom.
This flick was Marvel’s fourth film in its Phase One plan leading up to The Avengers.
I love this movie. It’s down-to-earth, fun, has a good story and enough action to keep things exciting but not so much that it bogs down the entire movie.
Up until this flick, Thor was basically an unknown character to the movie-going public, and Thor does its job on giving the character a rich history, making you care about him, and making you cheer him on on his path to redemption.
The scenes on Asgard were breathtaking—heavenly, even—the size and scope of the city enough to inspire awe. The stuff on Earth, well, it’s just the stuff on Earth and this is the first I’ve personally seen the realms of fantasy and reality merge so well. There was a bit of that in the Harry Potter movies, but those kids never went to another world where it’s fantasy-type stuff 24/7.
The special effects were awesome and, to me, were a kind of unintentional preview to an exciting live action Superman movie, with Thor being the one in the red cape this time. The flying sequences were powerful, the strength, the lightning blasts—all good stuff, and with The Avengers on the horizon, the climatic fight scene between Thor and the Destroyer was well-paced and well done, saving Thor’s best for the ensemble film to come a year later.
The relationship between Thor and Loki was done especially well because most siblings feel that their parents favor one above the other. There’s always going to be some sibling rivalry, jealousy and competitiveness. This flick nailed that, in my opinion, especially on Loki’s side of things. I mean, at times you can’t help but feel bad for the guy and sympathize with his motives (that’s the mark of a good villain, by the way).
Thor is a sweet introduction to the character, sets him up really well for The Avengers, and this reviewer can’t wait to check out Thor: The Dark World and see how the Mighty Thor grows as a hero and as Asgard’s king.
Based on the characterisation of Thor from the Marvel comics, this much awaited and heralded superhero movie is pretty darned good. I'm not familiar with the comics, so know nothing of the characterisation or plot lines from them, but this was no barrier to enjoying this well made and entertaining movie.
Based around the mythology of the Norsemen, it gives us Thor, son of Odin. Deceived into starting a war with the ice giants by his brother Loki, Odin banishes him to Earth, where he becomes its protector. Eventually he must return to Asgard to defend his own people from the plots of his brother, who would, of course, be King.
It's a tale huge in scope, and director Kenneth Branagh has the eye to give it sweeping epic nature it needs. It's an excellently done piece, with lots of good special effects and a feeling of grandeur. One of the things in the film's favour is that, unlike many superhero films, the story of the creation of the hero and other background material is dealt with quickly and efficiently, allowing us to get straight to the story in hand and not get bogged down in unnecessary background. Which allows us to dive straight into a pretty thrilling ride. There are also a few nice touches that seem to pay homage to earlier classic superhero/sci fi films, with scenes that reminded me of Superman 2, The Day The Earth Stood Still and Men In Black. Full marks to Branagh for pulling it off.
Chris Hemsworth is an engaging hero, almost believable as the Norse God. Tom Hiddlestone (with whom Branagh previously worked on the Wallander series) is well cast as the sneaky and rotten Loki, delivering a complex villain with quite a lot of style. Anthony Hopkins brings a real gravitas to the piece as the weary yet still all mighty Odin. The cast are up to the Director's vision, and turn in some cracking performances. As superhero films go I have to say it is one of the best I have seen, and have to give it 5 stars.
The Blu Ray release, apart from the obvious improvement in picture quality, has the added benefit over the DVD release of having more extras. Chief of these is a short featurette `The Consultant', which shows Agent Coulsen sat in a bar discussing the Avengers, and rehashes a bit of footage from other recent Marvel superhero films. It's OK, but nothing special.
on 8 April 2012
Marvel taking control of their own characters has been a God send to fans of their comics. They have produced a series of movies: Hulk, Iron Man and Captan America that, while necessarily adapting and changing things for the big screen, have retained the sense and spirit of what made the comics a hit in the first place. Thor continues the trend.
What fans of these films like is to see something that is recognisable from the original comics. Here we have an epic and sweeping Asgard, a genuinely awesome Destroyer, The Warriors Three, an all powerful Odin, a complicated and tortured villain in Loki and a brash, arrogant, funny and ultimately, mighty Thor.
This, I would guess, has a lot to do with being written by Michael Straczynski who has previously produced stories for the comic. But a lot of the credit must also go to another left field decison by Marvel in the directorial department with the appoitment of Kenneth Branagh who has taken the material and treated it with respect.
The film is not, as many a lazy reviewer has said when presented with a comics adaption, camp, high camp or silly. It is instead a near perfect distillation of 40 odd years of comics history into an enjoyable and satisfying screen event that is lean and punchy and does not outstay it's welcome.
For true fans there are little treats like the brief appearance of Hawkeye, mention of Dr. Donald Blake, reference to a certain Gamma ray scientist and the obligatory cameo from Stan Lee.
Like all the Marvel produced films since 'Iron Man' this is another step towards the 'Avengers' movie, an overall plan that is worth applauding for it'a ambitiousness.
Mighty Marvel Marches On.
on 26 October 2011
I remember watching the trailors and placing this film directly in the `download only in case of absolute emergency' category. I was shocked when a friend said he'd watched it with his girlfriend and really liked it. That she'd really liked it. And that it was really entertaining and fun. Fun? Really? With Kenneth Branagh directling? Sir Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard and some meathead no one's heard of starring? Gods and Norse mythology? I'd though this was a film which could only take itself seriously. A film which could only be really bad. How wrong was I? Very.
I really really liked this film, it is damn good fun and kudos to Branagh and all involved cause they have absolutely nailed the tone. This is a movie which knows exactly what it wants to be. It's like they've identified everything that could ruin the film, pomposity, oparatic stuffiness and over the top hammy acting and have found a way to make it work for them rather than against. There's the epic action sequences, over the top acting and grand locations to be expected. But there are also moments when the film holds up a mirror to itself and winks knowingly at the audience. Portman's apathetic sister is the comic relief and good for a few chuckles but most of the comedy comes from Thor himself. Other reviews have said that the movie sagged when it came down to Earth. No way! The Asengard stuff is played totally straight, Sir chewing up the scenery, Thor and his brother Loki locked in a Shakespearean rivalry. So far so yawn. When Thor is banished to earth and continues to act in exactly the same way he did back home the jutaposition works perfectly and i warmed to the film emmensely. The performance from Chris Helmslegh as Thor deserves special mention because the job he's been asked to do is much harder than it looks. He's got to be by turns heroic, noble, arrogant, entitled, stubborn, a douche, warm and funny. The films tone rests on his performance, it's essential that you like him as character and i'm pleased to say he gets it very right. Natalie Portman once again shows there is nothing she can't do and do well. Skarsgard grounds the proceeding with a quiet dignity and all the support do what's asked of them perfectly.
So then, for an evenings entertainment i really can't fault it. Sure the SHIELD stuff is a little over done, but it's nothing like as intrusive as in Iron Man 2 (they're seriously putting the pressure on this Avengers movie). You can say that it is not as ambitious as the Dark Knight but that's pretty harsh on a film which succeeds so well on its own terms. You only have to look at the Fantastic Four to see how badly wrong a film can go if the makers are unsure of the movie they want to make. Overall? A welcome surprise. A breath of fresh air which doesn't take itself too seriously but which is still seriously entertaining.
Poor put upon Odin (Anthony Hopkins) King of Asgard, must now pass the throne to one of his two sons, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), or Loki (Tom Hiddleston). However they must both show that they are worthy and capable. Will Thor change his arrogant ways? Is Loki everybody's friend or a sneaky leader of a cabal?
Let's watch the story as it unfolds.
I have a strange feeling that I've seen this story before, and before, and before, and before. Apply a cheap veneer that was really never any part of the Edda; throw in a tad of Shakespeare, sprinkled with Hallmark music, distract us with Natalie Portman and voilà.
Thor will return in "The Avengers"
The Heroes of Asgard: Tales from Scandinavian Mythology
For the uninitiated, that's the Thor. God of thunder from the Norse pantheon. Son of Odin. And in comics oft sent to Earth to learn humility in a human alter ego and occasionally do battle with duplicitious sibling Loki.
And be a member of superhero team the Avengers.
As we'll see next year...
In the meantime, Thor, like Iron Man did three years ago, takes the character and gives him an origin movie.
Director Kenneth Branagh tackles the problem of how to mix Norse gods and real world on screen by remembering Clarke's first law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Thus the norse gods living in Asgard here are basically super advanced aliens who once came to Earth long ago to do battle with the Frost Giants - nasty and not quite so advanced aliens - when they attacked tenth century Norway.
Their worlds are connected by a shimmering bridge which is guarded by a gatekeeper. A bridge that in our technology might also be referred to as a stargate or a wormhole.
But that's all exposition we get after a brief opening when astrophysicist Jane Foster and two friends are investigating strange readings in the sky and promptly knock down a man who comes out of nowhere.
Jumping back to the exposition shows that this is Thor. And that he and his brother Loki were raised by father Odin who hasn't been to war since he beat the frost giants. And that Thor is a bit more impetuous and up for a fight than Loki is.
When the opportunity for that comes going against his fathers wishes seem him banished to Earth, and his hammer Mjolnir dropped into the desert [what you saw in that post credits scene in Iron Man Two].
Can Jane and her friends help Thor in his quest to get home?
Is Loki up to no good? [yes but not just for the sake of it. He is given some very believable motivation]
And what are SHIELD up to?
As three worlds collide, people's lives will change forever.
The exposition is involving but once you get past it and into the character drama this does rather click, thanks to the efforts of a pretty good cast.
Natalie Portman does very well with the role of Jane, turning what could have been a rather thankless part into something decent, and stopping Kat Dennings as her friend Darcy from running away with all the attention, as looks might happen early on.
Tom Hiddleston has just the right voice to play a trickster god, and his Loki is a subtle and dangerous villain.
For a wise old king, you can't do much better than Anthony Hopkins, and he thus makes Odin a memorable turn. Despite the plot rather limiting his screen time for a lot of it.
Chris Hemsworth - best known for his brief appearance in Star Trek as Kirk's doomed father - takes the lead role and does make the most of it. Handling both fish out of water comedy and battle scenes with equal aplomb.
And Idris Elba makes the gatekeeper of Asgard into an appealing individual with a nice sense of honour and loyalty.
Mixing the character moments with fight scenes it does use it's budget judiciously - you never see too many people in asgard and most of the action takes place either in the desert or in a sall town - but that doesn't really seem to matter too much.
As a franchise opener it's a fine introduction to the character. Although it does have a rather open ended conclusion the end credits assure us, in a way they haven't done in movies since older Bonds, that Thor will return. And he will. But more on that later.
Whereas Iron Man two attracted some criticism as being a trailer for the avengers this avoids that - despite the end assurance that thor will be in it - but for those who know their marvel comices:
Watch out for cameos from two former Thor writers. Stan Lee of course, but also another more recent one.
Listen for references to a scientist and a billionaire.
Watch for a sniper who appears in one single scene and has a certain weapon of choice.
And as ever stay till the very end of the credits for an extra scene, that gives some indication of what will happen in the avengers movie. Which on this basis of this, could be quite a big scale event.
The dvd has the following language and subtitle options:
Languages: English, Hindi.
Subtitles: English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Hindi, Norwegian, Swedish.
The disc begins with a few trailers that you can skip over by using the next button on the dvd remote.
The only special features are:
A commentary from the director.
Four deleted scenes. These run from ninety seconds to two minutes each [approx] and can be watched all in a row or one at a time. Either with or without a commentary on them from the director. They're all quite good little characters moments.
There's also a short promotional piece for the aforementioned Avengers movie. Mostly clips from the introductory movies for each character, coupled with footage from the 2010 San Diego Comic Con appearances of the actors to promote the film. And a few short clips involving writer/director Joss Whedon. Epileptics beware some flashing images in the middle of all this. It runs for a mere two minutes.
on 18 September 2013
Natalie Portman starts out the film as an astrophysicist in the New Mexico desert. There appears to be some kind of UFO crash, as apparently aliens have the ability to fly all over the planet without crashing, except New Mexico. The movie then flashes back to 985 AD in a heavily CG background as Asgard, led by Odin, aka Anthony Hopkins, is fighting the frost giants, who look like blue skinned versions of Freddie Kruger. They end up with a truce. During the coronation ceremony of Thor, a frost giant enters the realm of Asgard and disrupts the ceremony (why this was done at the time was a mystery). Thor in his passion leads a group of warriors to the planet of the frost giants to teach them a lesson. The simple touch of a frost giant freezes the skin like liquid nitrogen. This was great in 2D, I can only imagine what the CG graphics was like in 3D.
Odin is upset with Thor and takes his hammer and powers. He banishes Thor who speeds to earth only to crash into Natalie Portman and company in the desert (beginning scene). A bad hammer pun and a taser later, Thor is on his way to medical. The hammer lands elsewhere in the desert and is lodged like the Sword in the Stone. A group of yokels gather to have a cook out and attempt to remove said hammer...until the FEDS show up.
The film moves back and forth between events on earth and in Asgard, as Loki has assumed the throne of his ailing father. In order to convince the audience this is the real Thor, he speaks a Middle Earth style of English, making over frequent use of the word "realm." It works well as it allows him to flirt with Natalie Portman, who he thinks is the most clever person on the planet. (Isn't this one of the seven signs?) Perhaps the movie's biggest fault is that is attempts to link mythology, science fiction and science fact is such a way a 9 year old might buy it.
Like good trekkies, Thor's friends come to earth to rescue him, because the needs of the one out weigh the needs of the many. They show up and are as conspicuous as Vikings in a credit card commercial. Memorable line: Stop! You are using unregistered weapons technology!"
For me the story wasn't light enough. There were a few comic lines attempted to break up the seriousness of the film, but it needed more of them. I was hoping for something along the lines of Iron Man 1. Perhaps the worst I have seen Ms. Portman in a while was her parsed OMG line. Other than that one bad line, she was great.
No sex, no nudity, no f-bombs. Safe for the kiddies. They should love it.
The `Avengers' franchise that is developing before our very eyes, with each new Stan Lee adaptation being linked by continuity references to SHIELD and implications that the hero's are being brought together, continues apace with this rip roaring, fantastically extravagant and loyal adaptation of the Mighty Thor.
I can't help think that the main audience are those 40 something's like me who grew up drinking in the Avenger's comics. We are the ones who will appreciate the fidelity to theme and atmosphere and story arc captured here. Chris Hemsworth does a super job as the hammer swinging God of Thunder, slightly irritatingly over the top with his mugging to the camera to begin with (to demonstrate his smug hubris perhaps), but developing some dramatic and comic pathos later in the story as he is exiled to Earth. His fall comes about after disobeying direct orders from Dad (Odin, given some senior gravitas by Sir Anthony Hopkins) not to attack the frost giants home world with his mates, and then having a royal hissy fit when being dressed down by that same celestial parent.
Falling to Earth, he is rescued by a gang of scientists (amusingly not dissimilar with their van and dynamic to the gang of kids and mystery van in Scooby Doo) led by Stellan Skarsgard and Natalie Portman, investigating what they are theorising is a `worm-hole' or `bridge' opening up in space. This bridge is of course the causeway between Asgard and Earth.
Thor has been stripped of his powers and must accept human help if he is to work out how to retrieve his hammer and get back home. His hammer is buried `sword in the stone' style in the desert and can't be shifted. The FBI like SHIELD are soon on the case and build a base around it, making Thor's task that bit more trickier. He also has to work out what is happening back home and undo the knot of machinations woven by Loki, his brother, an excellent performance here by Tom Hiddleston, who renders the villainy, but not without giving some sympathetic depth to character and back-story.
Events move to a head as the metal titan `Destroyer' is sent to Earth to tie up loose ends. The resultant battles give us some crowd pleasing spectacle and set pieces, as do the battles in the celestial realms.
This is a fun and rewarding watch for you superhero fans out there, new and old. The DVD is a bit scant on extras, but includes a commentary by director Branagh, deleted scenes, and a teaser on the forthcoming `Avengers' epic that may or may not be.
on 10 February 2012
After several let downs (Rango & Troll Hunter to name but two) this film is a breath of fresh air.
Having only seen a couple of short trailers I dropped some big hints, got this as a present and could not be happier. From the outset the film is fun, entertaining, action packed and has just the right amount of thrills, intrigue and laughs.
Based [very] loosly on the theme of the Viking gods it does not attempt to go into the myths in any historical way but uses them as the basis for a tounge in cheek semi sci-fi romp where the old god-like characters are forced into the modern world with the resulting culture clash.
I won't go into the plot too deeply other than to say some may find it rather simple and basic. Stupid and naive son banished by father, plotted against by brother, pursued by goverment officials, falls for a girl, redeems himself, saves the day (and the planet), looses girl but grows up.
Whatever, with a plot that won't tax the brain, the right balance of special effects and action and a good spattering of well placed humour I cannot find anything to fault.
Oh yes - and here is something unusual - the whole film goes by without any 'effing and blinding' Indeed, the lack of foul language is refreshing so other than the odd bit of fisticuffs and simulated violence [parents might want to excercise discretion here] it's suitable for the whole family - a rare thing these days.
A worthy addition to anyone's collection and a definite must watch.