Saturday, May 7, 2011
My wife is a huge Thor fan. I have no idea as to why this is. She doesn't really know the Norse Mythology and is only tangently familiar with the Thor comics. Now, me, I love the Norse Mythology. I know them very well and I was into them before Greek Mythology and my eventual path to Dungeons and Dragons. However, I never cared for the Thor in comic book form. First of all, the Marvel Universe is kind of divided into two sub-story universes. I read the X-Men/Mutant side, so I didn't really have a lot of interest in the Avenger's side of the comics. So that kept me out of reading Thor, except for those odd times like during the Fall of the Mutants uber-plot where I would have to pick up a Thor comic to see how he rescued Angel from the Morlocks.
But anyway, from the "methinks" to the crazy-ass costumes to the distorted relationships between gods as compared to what mythology said they should be, I just never thought that Marvel got Thor down right. They didn't get any of the gods down right, from Odin being a bad-ass warrior instead of being an intellectual poet god to Sif being a raven-haired warrior instead of a golden haired matron of fertility. And Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, looks so pansy in the comics. Plus, they all dress so goofy in the comics.
But as far the movie goes, they did keep the goofy costumes but actually made them tolerable by keeping the outrageous designs, but subduing the bright color vomit.
Kenneth Branagh directed, which at first seemed like a very weird choice, but then again he seemed really comfortable with the Asgard scenes, so I guess I can see the connection. However, Branagh fucking loved Dutch Angles in this movie. It was nowhere near as bad as Battlefield Earth, but it was still overdone and completely unnecessary.
The plot of the movie is incredibly blunt and typical. Thor is arrogant and so his father, Odin, decides that he needs to learn humility before he can become king and sends him to earth without his powers until he can learn humility. So Thor arrogantly starts his human existence, but very quickly learns that he should be nicer and sacrifices himself to save a bunch of extras in some piss-ant town that he or we the audience have not been introduced to in order to have any real empathy for. Thor gets his powers and hammer back and saves earth, then saves Asgard.
The story isn't really that interesting and Thor's time on earth is really brushed over so weakly (and it is the crux of his learning his lesson) and Thor's transformation is so quick and without reason that it makes it the weakest part of the movie. Natalie Portman is also strangely cast in this movie. She plays a female astrophysicist who is great at what she does, but is too vanilla, but works hard and devotes herself to her field, but is threatened by the darker aspect of the field, Darcy, who also works with her and threatens to take over her role until the pair of them have a really super sexy sex scene, but you are left wondering how much of Darcy is real and how much of her is just in Portman's mind as she stabs herself and lays bleeding by her computer equipment. Wait. That's not right.
Actually, Portman played Jane Foster. She's a female astrophysicist who doesn't wear glasses. That's as deep as that character got. I just hoped for the sex scene with her and Darcy. But it didn't happen. In fact, precious little of interest happened with her.
When the threat to earth occurred, Thor decided to sacrifice himself to save the bunch of people in the small town (who, like I mentioned before, we were not introduced to and had no empathy for). Thor then regained his power and defeated the earth-sent bad guy with such a lack of effort and anti-climax that I see why the Avengers needs to constantly make excuses for the God of Thunder to be busy: he is too powerful for his companions.
The saving grace of the movie was Loki. He was the only character that was built with any depth. He betrayed his brother, but he felt conflicted by it. He betrayed his father, but only to win his pride. He was the only character in the movie with any ounce of depth and development in him and he was well-played. The scenes with him were the best, but I fear that he will become less interesting of a villain in the Avengers movie as he will lose the conflict and just become a run of the mill bad guy dick.
The movie wasn't mind-numbingly bad, but it was a set-up movie. It didn't feel like a movie in and of itself, but something thrown together to tie into the Avengers movie later. My wife loves Thor. And while it wasn't bad to see a blond male hero and one with a beard (a physical beard, not just Portman's love interest), it just wasn't that interesting of a story and other than Loki's depth, no attempt was made to tell it in an interesting manner.
Molly: (As always, Molly is sitting next to me at my computer as we do this review. I'll transcribe everything that she says. Due to her age, her portion of the review will be in Q&A format.)
Chuckie: So, what did you think of the movie, "Thor"?
Molly: I liked it.
Chuckie: What did you like about it?
Molly: Um, I liked the whole movie.
Chuckie: Can you give me specifics?
Molly: I liked that he made new best friends.
Chuckie: Who were his new best friends?
Molly: I forget their names. But they were the people who helped him. The scientists.
Chuckie: So, what happened in the movie?
Molly: Well, they went on a trip and the went across the bridge and back to the place and then they found a blue--I think it was a crystal--shaped like a rectangle. And Thor's brother--I don't remember his name...
Molly: Loki. He was really one of the bad guys.
Chuckie: So what did Loki do that was bad?
Molly: He froze a guy that was, um, part of the kingdom. And he let go of him father, I mean let go of his hand and he floated away somewhere.
Chuckie: So, tell me about Thor.
Molly: You mean, the yellow kid?
Chuckie: Yeah, and about when he was grown up too.
Molly: Um, he was mean to him father and because he was mean he couldn't pick up him hammer. And him father put a hole in the corner and then he just floated right into it.
Chuckie: What happened when Thor was sent to earth?
Molly: He fell on the ground. You know that.
Chuckie: Okay, but I meant what kinds of things happened to him? Like how did he change?
Molly: I don't know what you mean.
Chuckie: Hm. Why couldn't he pick up his hammer?
Molly: 'Cause he was mean.
Chuckie: So, did Thor learn any lessons and change while on earth?
Molly: Oh! Now I know what you mean. Yes.
Chuckie: What did he learn?
Molly: To be good. You know that.
Chuckie: Yes, but how did he learn it?
Molly: Um, I think he learned him lesson because he was being mean and the girl zapped him and then he realized that he didn't want to be mean anymore and get in trouble.
Chuckie: What can you tell me about Thor's friends from Asgard?
Molly: Where is Asgard? I don't know what is Asgard because I'm getting confused because he's been in two places.
Chuckie: Asgard is the kingdom where Thor and Loki and Thor's dad, Odin were from.
Chuckie: Do you remember Thor's friends from Asgard who fought with him?
Chuckie: They were all in armor and came down to try to find Thor when he was on earth?
Chuckie: One of them was a girl, one of them liked to eat, one was fancy and the other was Asian?
Molly: I still don't remember. Are you sure they were in the movie?
Chuckie: Yeah. They were barely developed characters, but still. So, what did you think about the scientist girl who helped Thor?
Molly: Which one. There was two.
Chuckie: Yeah, the one without the glasses.
Molly: I liked her. She was nicer to him because the other girl shot him and she said sorry, but the other girl didn't.
Chuckie: Good points. We stayed at the end of the movie to see something after the credits. Can you tell me about that scene?
Molly: There were two guys in there and Loki was behind him and Loki went there! That's where him was when he let go and fell. Now I get it! And Loki was controlling him. But if he was controlling him, then he was a super hero, but him was bad, so he was a monster... So, he was a superhero monster? How does that work? That doesn't make any sense.
Chuckie: He was a super-villain.
Molly: Oh. How was he a super-villain? When he was little he was Thor's friend, so why wasn't he a super-villain then? He was on their team then.
Chuckie: Because when he got older, he became jealous and became badder.
Chuckie: Because everybody liked Thor and not him. So he was jealous.
Molly: Well, what if he wore Thor's costume and got his hair changed so it was yellow and then you couldn't tell which one was which and then everyone would have to like them both.
Chuckie: I guess that's one way you could do it.
Molly: Yeah. Or there's another way.
Chuckie: What's that?
Molly: He could ask them why do you like him so much and not me. That's another way.
Chuckie: Which do you think is a better way to handle it?
Molly: He should ask people. That's the better way. Because if he did the other one, they wouldn't know which one him is and everyone might get confused and annoyed at them.
Chuckie: Fair points.
Molly: Can we do the stars and stuff now?
Chuckie: Sure. How many stars would you give Thor?
Molly: Fifty-million. That's a lot.
Chuckie: Yeah, it is. Out of how many?
Molly: One. And how about the moons?
Chuckie: Okay, how many moons would you give it?
Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Out of forty-five. Wait! No! I wanted it to be out of thirty-five. Thirty-five, Daddy, not forty-five.
Chuckie: Does it make a difference?
Chuckie: Okay. You giving it suns as well?
Molly: Yeah. Fifty-five out of sixty.
Chuckie: Molly, do these numbers even mean anything to you?
Molly: Yes. It means that this movie is very special.
Chuckie: Okay. So, who do you--
Molly: Why was him naked? Why did he only have him panties on.
Chuckie: So that Mommy would like the movie better.
Chuckie: So, who do you think would like Thor?
Molly: Mommy because she said she wanted a TARDIS to go back in time and watch it again.
Chuckie: Do you think anyone else would like it?
Molly: Uncle Rupert would. And Grandmom and Pop Pop. And I wonder if any of my friends at dance class would like Thor.
Chuckie: I don't know. You can ask them. So, is there anything else that you'd like to tell people about Thor?
Molly: It was a really good movie because they appreciate each other.
So that's our review. The meat of the story was supposed to be Thor's learning humility, but that was the part of the movie that was the least fleshed out. Thor's earth bound scenes were weak and barely developed, and the Asgardian scenes at least were better fitting for Branaugh's directing. Loki was the only character who had any real depth to him, but I fear that will be lost in the upcoming Avengers. The movie was a set-up movie and not a good movie in and of itself.
I give it one out of five stars. I might have given it more for Loki's depth, but all that did was point out how one-dimensional each of the other characters were. And I might have nudged up my rating a little bit for the cameo of Sleipnir, Huginn and Muninn's absence counterbalanced that. And, for the record, Vikings were stupid. Really, they wanted to make Odin awesomer by thinking that doubling the legs on his steed would really push him to the edge. The reality is that it just makes for a wider, more clumsy horse. Stupid vikings.
Molly gives it fifty-million stars out of one, fifty-two out of thirty-five moons, and fifty-five out of sixty suns. She got the fact that the movie was about learning to be nice and appreciating one another, but I think she was also thrown by the random half-naked Thor scene as well.
Jessica gives it a squeal and a damp seat.