DISCLAIMER: When my buddies and I come out of a movie, sometimes we like to completely dissect it, ripping it apart and seeing what made it tick (and what made it millions of dollars). Who doesn’t? I don’t claim to be a master of movie knowledge but I’d say I know some stuff. I just don’t want people thinking Im sitting atop my throne of infinite movie knowledge looking down on the other movie goers as peons because Im guessing thats how I’ll can come off as sounding, like a pompous D-bag. This is my opinion on the film, so take it as you will. Please forgive the typos and long winded tangents.
WARNING: SPOILERS! IT’S A LONG RIDE SO STRAP YOURSELF IN!
I want to start off by saying, as much as I disliked THOR and as much as it seems like I hated it, I didn’t hate it. There were parts I enjoyed, parts I laughed at, and parts I almost got chills from. Almost. My perspective on THOR as a character is not a general one. A lot of people only know THOR from the Marvel comics, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. Marvel presents him as the god of thunder, son of Odin, and brother of Loki, all of these are true to the Norse Mythos of the character. It’s the presentation of these characters that I’ve always had a problem with. Instead of turning this into a Norse Mythology vs. Marvel comics rant, Id like to focus on how Marvel started making good decisions with THOR, then made some bad ones in the movie. Also, most of my gripes and arguments with the recent movie come from a visual standpoint. If a movie looks like crap, I cant thoroughly enjoy it.
DESIGN- Lets take a look at THIS classic rendition of the thunder god by the master and co-creator Jack Kirby. As much as I respect and admire Kirby for being a boss on every level imaginable, I hate this design, always have. Many people will disagree with me and throw a hissy fit over this, but I really don’t care, it’s my opinion and that’s what you’re reading this for right??? Ok, bare with me… Take a look at some more recent artwork from Marvel Ex.1 Ex.2 Ex.3 Ex.4 . I think Marvel has been taking THOR in the right direction, they’ve been doing a pretty kick ass job on the title for the past year or so, story wise, art wise (Olivier Coipel and Esad Ribic are FANTASTIC at this genre), it’s been quite good. They have embraced the actual mythology of the Norse god, giving him viable roots to his Scandinavian history. Hell, he LOOKS like he walked right our of Norway, they even gave him the huge bridge in the nose. Great job Marvel, you get a thumbs up! Now I am excited about Marvel’s THOR!
Then they do THIS. What is that you’re wearing Chris Hemsworth? A plastic rollcage? Some sort of safety vest? A shell? Anthony Hopkins, what the hell are you wearing?! Are you even wearing that or did you get stuck in something? Also, you have something in your eye.
It seems Marvel has stepped backward, or perhaps side stepped into another art direction, entirely disregarding the awesome and somewhat realistic THOR (about as realistic as it’ll ever be for Marvel) we see in the comics today. I understand that in this movie, Asgard is a place where “Magic and Technology are one in the same!” (oh yippie!) but that’s no excuse for the terrible designs guys. Now, I dig mixing science and magic, it’s a cool concept that’s been done well before and now we have a really good example of how it can be done poorly. Asgard looked like a giant pipe organ for fuck sake! Everything in Asgard looked fake, hollow and just… generic. I’m not sure how else to put it. This realm they have created on screen was one of the most unlived-in worlds I’ve ever seen. The sad part, to me is that it’s more than likely how it was intended to look in this movie; fantastical, magical, unreal! There have been fantastical and amazing worlds and settings in films that look INCREDIBLE and REAL. This movie fails to do everything but excite a small child with no concept of what looks real and what doesn’t. There are those who will say “Oh Jeff, you’re being to hard on the film, it’s good popcorn fun and kids would love it!” If I have kids, I don’t want them being influenced by this shit. I believe people with that mentality are the reason why Transformers II grossed $836,297,228 worldwide.
Onto the FROST GIANTS! YEAH!!!! Frost giants! FUCK YEAH! Just look at these badass motherfuckers in the comics. Im ready to see some skulls get BUSTED IN! Wait… What the fuck is this shit? THAT is what you call a Frost Giant? I think my eyes are vomiting. I said earlier this year that “I believe THOR will live up to the 1990’s Power Ranger film” but I wasn’t serious. I didn’t actually think that THOR and his ‘Warriors Three’ would be battling a villain who could visually rival that of IVAN OOZE. The art department really couldn’t do better than THIS? Im not sure if you guys can tell, but that is 1 (one) actor in (bad) make-up with and army of CGI baddies behind him. C’mon guys, it’s 2011, what’s with the shit CGI? The special effects in this movie werent terrible all the time, only on the Frost Giants and in Asgard. Both consistently shitty throughout the film.
Not everything in THOR was bad visually. I have to give props to the crew that worked on the DESTROYER. The design was straight out of the comic book and it actually translated well onto screen. I even liked the horrendous noise it made when blasting energy across the screen, it made me cringe and want to flee just listening to it.
STORY- You’ve made it this far! Congratulations, you get to endure me bitching about the story now! Which is pretty underwhelming. “How so?” you ask. Well someone said to me that “it’s silly to expect anything more from a Thor film”…. Wait a second… It’s silly for me to expect a THOR film from a film called THOR, staring THOR, that’s about THOR? Hmm. Maybe I missed something. Maybe what they meant was “Its silly to expect Marvel’s movie rendition of THOR to be amazing” I would’ve accepted that, and I somehat I agree with it. Some people say the movie had a good intriguing and intricate plot. These people probably have little to no knowledge of Thor, Loki, or Odin and thats Ok. Im not harping on them for it. Let me school you a bit on Thor and Loki, just a bit. Thor is the god of thunder, and overall boastful son of Odin. Loki is the misplaced outcast son (or so he feels) of Odin, Loki is known for being a genderless shapeshifter and has always throughout time been known as “the trickster”. If this doesn’t give you some insight to how things will play out, I dont know what will.
Loki becomes jealous of Thor (as he has always been in the comics) and secretly plots against his brother to ascend the throne of Asgard and become Thors equal in Odins eye. The plot of this movie is awfully predictable. If you guys really REALLY want to read a good Thor & Loki book, go pick up THOR & LOKI:Blood Brothers by Rob Rodi & Esad Ribic. It is fantastic! One of the most beautiful books Marvel has ever put out in the history of publishing. Buy it regardless, I can guarantee you will be astounded at the visual might of Ribics fully hand painted artwork. Anyway, everything plays out just the way you think it would, Loki does some double dealing with the Frost Giants, Thor is arrogant and rushes to defeat them but strikes up a war with them. Odin seeing Thor’s recklessness casts Thor out of Asgard into the mortal realm. Now, this is a good concept, not terribly unique or original but a concept that was done in the comics and done well. The movie however, takes this concept and executes it in a way that was almost insulting to me as a viewer. There is nothing intricate about this plot. Kenneth Branagh practically holds your hand and walks you through the movie. The 3 act structure of storytelling is a great device, but it’s not so great when it just sits there in plain sight saying “hey, Im Act 1, Im gonna introduce all the characters and the plot to you, but I have to go because Act 2 is on its way.” “Oh hey! Im Act 2, in this act the main character Thor will overcome most of his obstacles (except the final one of course) with the help of some of his friends and will grow as a character” “Hey there, Act 3 here. Now you get to see the climax, the resolution to all this wacky conflict and of course the happy ending! Look at all the lense flares!”
A note to Kenneth Branagh:
Hey Ken, it’s me Jeff. Please, for the love of Odin, STOP WITH THE GODDAMN DUTCH ANGLES. The lense flares are stupid too, you and JJ Abrams can go light your sets improperly and suck each other off. Thanks! Your pal, Jeff.
SOME GOOD- There were certain elements of the film that I enjoyed. I thought the cast was perfect for a live action movie adaptation of THOR… but it doesn’t matter how good the actors are, if the lines are corny, the plot is predictable and nothing in the film works visually then it’s going to pull me out of a movie pretty quickly. I dont care how big the explosions are or how loud the KRAAKKAAATHOOOM! is. The parts of THOR I enjoyed the most actually happened on earth, this is almost never the case for me. I thoroughly enjoy fantasy and scifi settings and genres much more than modern ones in almost any storytelling medium. Every incident on Earth when Thor made some funny Asgardian gesture that was out of place in our society was pretty funny. My personal favorite line was “This mortal shell grows weary, I need sustenance!” Good classic stuff. I’ll be saying that for years to come! I would’ve rather seen an entire movie of him walking around doing shit like that than what I ended up seeing: an underwhelming visual train wreck.
IN CLOSING- I think this might be one of the most incoherent review in the history of writing, but I needed to get it all out there so people can understand where Im coming from… Maybe it didnt make sense, maybe it did, but it’s here and you read it. Now you can either go see the movie, spend $20 and 2 hours of your life that will never return to you, OR you can read the book I suggested above. Or even better, THIS BOOK. The choice is yours.