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.
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 3 May 2012
As someone who hasn't read the Thor comics, I have no idea how faithful this film is or how in-character everybody is. But as a film fanatic, this is an amazing addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The viewer starts with little love for the main character, but I (and the people I watched this with) found that his personality was developed wonderfully, and that he's actually a really likeable hero underneath his arrogance and self-centred-ness. By the end of the film, he's one of the most relatable characters. Even the villain of this story is sympathetic, and it really is painful for the viewer to see him lose his way. I was apprehensive about the humans Thor meets- I don't really like romance or 'fish-out-of-water' movies- but they were all rather likeable and behaved realistically enough- well, except Darcy. I'd watch a film about that girl on her own, she's a brilliant cloud cuckoolander.
Some aspects of the story could have been explained better- like the Odinsleep- but most of these mysteries are cleared up with either watching the other MCU films or looking at some Norse myths (which is what this film and it's comic counterpart are loosely based on). I liked the way aspects of Norse legend like Yggdrasil, the World Tree, were incorporated into this movie. Also, unlike most MCU films, this is very character-driven, and I think that is what makes it such a good film. The action scenes are few and far between, but what we see is epic and I think it's done really well.
It's a film I'd recommend to anybody with an interest in superheroes (since it's a fresh breath for the genre) and also for anybody who likes fantasy or family/romantic dramas. There's a little of something for everybody.
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.
There were puzzled faces aplenty when it was announced that luvvie Kenneth Branagh was to direct the Marvel Comic to film translation of Thor. But it seemed a natural choice, the story of a powerful family torn asunder by internal politics and dynastical challenges is as close to Shakespeare as you can get!
The films opens with a series of impressive sequences showing how Earth was threatened by the Frost Giants a millennia ago, now the Kingdom of Asgard remains as celestial peacekeeper and the great Odin has managed to keep an uneasy truce which is starting to look a little unstable now that his son Thor is thirsty for war. Thor's narrow minded compulsion to do battle leads the hammer-happy God to be banished to Earth where he must
The initial battle scenes on Earth and then the sweeping landscape of Asgard look like an epic reminiscent vast fantasy films of the 80s with a good dose of old fashioned folklore, it shows how the recent Clash Of The Titans remake could have looked. The strength of this film is the way it manages to take well known mythology turn it into a reality which links into our history, thus establishing the Norse Gods and their world as believable. This was a film which could have all-too-easily looked stupid, but instead the inhabitants are de-mystified, Asgard feels real and their kingdom doesn't feel like a silly way stereotyped Viking-esque world. Asgard looks as though it has existed for thousands of years and it seamlessly blends technology beyond human capabilities so add a great science-fiction element.
Anthony Hopkins is nothing short of superb as Odin, his performance is theatrical without being too hammed up. He brings great gravitas to the screen and steals every scene he is in. Chris Hemsworth plays Thor with a cockiness and self-assured manner which is deliberately annoying and essential to show how the God the Thunder has a lot of growing up to do. His brother (in the film of course) is convincingly deranged by his own sense of righteousness and gets to exercise his acting talents more than Hemsworth as Thor.
The earthbound moments of the story don't feel as strong as the Asgard based parts. Obviously there's a visual contrast, but that's not where the weakness lies. The blossoming romance between Thor and earthling Jane Foster feels a bit forced, it seems to exist without ever really developing any depth of chemistry and so you don't really buy into it. There are some moments of humour based around Thor's 'fish out of water' culture shock which are amusing (if a bit shoe-horned in) but Stellan Skarsgård is the man who grounds it in reality with his likeable everyman Erik. There are references to other Marvel universe works here too which tie things in nicely but don't always seem appropriate or natural.
The balance between character driven story and action is struck well here, the most compelling relationship is that between Odin and his sons. It results in some sycophantic dialogue at times but because of the grand surroundings doesn't feel contrived or cheesy. Branagh has no doubt silenced his critics here and gained new fans, his background of more thespian themed films is perfect for this and he clearly has the creative vision to help bring it to life.
As this is a very recent film, the Blu Ray transfer is very good (as expected). The differences between the scenes on and off Earth are clear to see, both are very detailed but the golden 'tint' of Asgard gives it an otherwordly look. There are a good number of bonus features here - most are worth a watch and cover aspects of film production though they tend to be pretty short (around five minutes or less) - the deleted scenes are fairly extensive however.
In a nutshell: Norse imagery and modern style are seamlessly bended in a film which may not have an original plot, but has a unique look that works very well. There are weaknesses which prevent this from being a truly great film but Thor has been a hot potato with responsibility passing between directors over the years and this exceeds all initial expectations and is still well above average. Comic book fan Branagh, and the team behind this have been ambitious and Thor manages to be a superhero film, a good science fiction film, and a fantasy epic - not many films are able to pull that off!
Eyebrows were raised when it was first announced that luvvie Kenneth Brannagh would be directing Thor, a marvel superhero comic book adaption but Brannagh, a lifelong fan of the Thor comics as it has turned out, has made one of the best superhero films of all time. Thor had the potential to be a very silly film and a complete disaster, but instead rivals Iron Man, Spiderman 1 and 2 and X Men 1 and 2 as one of marvel's best ever films. Spectacular special effects and action scenes right from the start, with terrific performances from all, Chris Hemsworth is a star in the making as Thor and is the best one in the film though Tom Hiddlestone comes close and is also a name to watch as Thor's evil brother Loki. It's also a surprisingly funny film, done tongue in cheek as Thor attempts to adjust to life on Earth and the Warrior's Three lifted directly from the comics are great fun to watch. Watch out for appearances from Iron Man 2's agent Coulson and a very brief cameo from Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye and make sure you sit through the end credits which also feature an appearance from Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, tying up all the events so far in the marvel movie universe and setting up The Avengers. God knows what Brannagh's luvvie friends will make of this film, but it's terrific entertainment and an absolute joy to watch. Roll on Captain America, which will have to be very special indeed to beat this. One of Kenneth Branagh's best films.
The film follows the myth/legend of Thor from the Marvel comics, who is played by, and if i might say with a very Heath Ledger like performance by Chris Hemsworth who does well for his first major lead role. Along with his brother Loki (Hiddleston) as the sons of the ageing King Odin (Hopkins) who has to decide which of them is to become his successor to the throne of Asgard. But after Thor & his trusty group of warriors set out against the will of Odin to confront past rival, King Laufey (Feore), things don't go to plan, and culminate with Odin stripping Thor of his hammer/powers & banishing him to Earth as a humble human, until he learns to change his ways & learn the consequences of his actions. On Earth he literally bumps into scientist Jane Foster (Portman), and her group, Erik Selvig (Skarsgård) & Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings -Thor), who want to learn more about him & where he came from. But still thinking he is a mighty hero, his ego takes a bashing rather then his enemies this time around, as he realizes he is just a humble human now.
Overall, coming into this I wasn't 100% sure what we would be getting with this Marvel comic movie directed by Kenneth Branagh. But we did walk away enjoying it. The main reason of that was down firstly to the films pace, it clicked along well & kept our interest, albeit it was predictable in places. And secondly the great cast of Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs) who was amazing as Odin, powerful, wise & yet fragile. Natalie Portman (Black Swan) had a great chemistry with Chirs Hemsworth (The Cabin In The Woods), the romance & humor between them was a nice ice breaker & bonding platform. Colm Feore (The Chronicles Of Riddick) in heavily made up prosthetics gave a usual menacing performance as the baddie, while the relatively unknown Tom Hiddleston who starred in director Branagh's acclaimed T.V detective show Wallander, also held his own as the devious Loki. Rene Russo(The Thomas Crown Affair), Idris Elba (Luther) & Stellan Skarsgård (Good Will Hunting) also added solid support to the film, with Russo in very much a cameo role. As you might expect with a fantasy film these days, CGI is heavily depended on for the Asgard setting etc... and the battle scenes were well done, with the obvious OTT, yet very entertaining battles.
In conclusion, Thor is a very entertaining & enjoyable fantasy film with a solid cast that gel well as an onscreen family unit & see it through to end well. Contains violence. Recommended.
on 15 July 2015
Specifically a 3D review of one of my favourite Marvel films:
A common complaint of Marvel 3D films when converted from 2D [in the film process] to a 3D film - is that the subsequent film is often too dark.
It's all too evident with this release [one of Marvel's 1st 3D releases] - the film is dark and it only passably adequate as a 3D release, with scenes that you would think would be excellent in 3D actually being only vaguely 3-dimensional. Disappointing considering some of the other excellent Marvel 3D releases; [Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers]
Wow, there are some real extremes of reviews on here! I actually thought it was pretty good.
I thought Chris Hemsworth was a little wooden at the beginning, although he did get better as the film went on. He certainly looks the part; suitably Norse I thought and pretty aggressive. I love Anthony Hopkins and thought he was very good, in fact we could have done with a bit more of him.
I thought the effects were very good, although I agree with other reviewers that Asgard was reminiscent of an eighties disco, but the Frost Giants' world was very atmospheric and I liked the Rainbow Bridge.
We have had a number of these sort of films where "someone" falls/comes to Earth and generally they're quite good (except Starman) and I did like the parts where Thor was mortal. Natalie Portman was pretty good in this; I haven't seen her in much apart from Star Wars (she was dreadful) and Black Swan (very convincing).
Stellan Skarsgard could have been utilised more, especially as he is Scandinavian. They all seemed to accept the fact that Thor was a Norse God pretty quickly and unquestioningly, but that's film for you I suppose.
On the whole, worth watching - visually exciting and original and a good storyline.
The film that brings 'marvel-comic' hero 'Thor' (Chris Hemsworth) to the screen.
Telling the tale of 'arrogant' and fearless warrior 'Thor' who's antic's see him banished from 'Asgard' to earth losing his super-powers, where he becomes befriended by 'Jane' (Natalie Portman)
He now has to win back favour of his father 'Odin' (Anthony Hopkins)( however his brother 'Loki' (Tom Hiddleston) has other plans for the fallen hero, 'Earth' becomes threatened 'Thor' will need his powers and his weapon 'The Hammer' to defend his new friends.
This is an action packed joy-ride for super-hero fans filled with much in the way of fantasy violence.
As my title suggest's------The Special -Effects are Top-Drawer.........
Great Picture and Sound Quality Throughout.