DVD Review: Thor
Currently available on DVD and Blu-Ray.
The first few thoughts that come to mind after hearing the name Thor, are usually Odin, Loki, Marvel and of course the Norse God of Thunder… nothing unusual there. The last person anyone would have thought of directing a big screen version of this loved Marvel Superhero, is the Shakespeare loving actor and director Kenneth Branagh. An odd choice from the studios that’s for sure. Well known for less mainstream movies such as the excellent Much Ado about Nothing, the highly unusual and acquired taste of Love Labour’s Lost and the epic that is Hamlet, the question is can Branagh actually bring anything new to this genre?
Typical of comic book adaptations, the story is simple. Good versus evil with the hero fighting for his people but as per usual, it’s the love of a good woman that drives him to greatness and this movie follows that blueprint to a tee.
Thor, despite being a great warrior, is arrogant, hot-headed and extremely selfish. After going against his father’s wishes, he is banished from the realm of Asgard and ends up in, of course, the USA, more specifically, New Mexico – the centre for all peculiar intergalactic phenomena.
This is where he meets astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), her mentor Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) and assistant Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings). Stripped of his powers he discovers the source of his super-ability; Thor’s Hammer, has also landed on Earth but with one catch… in true King Arthur Excalibur style, only the ‘worthy’ can wield the hammer and possess the power.
From here we have the usual double-crossing characters, impressive action pieces and the usual development in the protagonist’s character from a narcissistic immature boy to a legendary leader and king.
For all her excellence, Natalie Portman’s (Black Swan) talents are not pushed or tested to any limit but she does what she needs to do with minimum fuss… and yes, she is clearly totty for the lads. Australian, Chris Hemsworth (Star Trek), is solid and occasionally funny as Thor delivering the kind of performance expected from a film such as this, and being the equal and opposite of Portman – is clearly eye-candy for the girls.
With support coming from the likes of Anthony Hopkins (The Rite) as Odin, Tom Hiddleston (Wallander) as Loki and Idris Elba (The Losers) as Heimdall, Branagh has attracted a lot of talent and experience to the cast. Yet again however, not one of the above are required to be truly outstanding.
Thor is the type of film that does exactly what it says on the tin but it is still a tad mystifying why Branagh took this project on. Was it the fact that it originates from Norse mythology, hence it’s more respectable and the closest thing to a Shakespearean play? Or was it that he felt it was time to venture into mainstream proper?
Thor is a decent film which is entertaining but yet forgettable; however it does a good job of introducing us to the lesser known leading characters in the Marvel Universe. Whilst Branagh’s direction is good, Thor offers nothing new in this genre, but it does lead nicely towards Joss Whedon’s The Avengers next year which will feature Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America and Iron Man.
FMV Rating: ***