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Review: Thor

Thor.

So… Thor.

Let me tell you… my back was so Thor after I spent all that time sitting in the theater.

Thank you! Tip your waiters!

Okay, seriously. I saw Thor tonight. And it scared me.

No, it’s not a scary movie. I’m not sure I even jumped once, except in excitement at how cool what was going on looked. There was a lot of work put into the visuals of this film. A LOT. Some of those big action scenes should, by all rights, have looked totally cheesy – and for the most part, they didn’t. That’s impressive. (The standout exception, IMO, was Thor creating the tornado, which didn’t look right to me.) As someone who has never read a single Thor comic, and has rarely seen Thor portrayed as a guest in any animation, I think they nailed the look of this thing.

The battle with the Frost Giants at the beginning – pure awesomeness. I could have watched that part three times through. Collossally cool “finality” with the big beast at the end of it, too. The entire audience went “WHOA!” and justifiably so.

(As an aside, I have to say that I really enjoyed seeing this with a holiday audience. Everyone was there for fun and was respectful of others, and responded well to the film, laughing at the right spots, cheering when appropriate, and quiet otherwise. Completely reminded me why I love the theater experience. I did, however, miss my wife being there (I went alone this time).)

Anyway… it looked great. I also liked the cameos. J. Michael Straczynski got one as the guy to discover the hammer, and Stan Lee of course showed up as well – and got a good line, to boot. All good fun.

But then we get to the story. The strongest part was that involving Asgard and the Frost Giants, and the establishment of that universe. I was honestly intrigued by all that – though really I’m a little disappointed that even there details are glossed over (but I understand we have time constraints and need to move forward). Then we got to Earth. And really… aside from some humor and a couple of decent action scenes, I wasn’t all that impressed. Thor was supposed to “become worthy” by learning humility and leadership on Earth, and he was apparently learning it from, and through caring for, Natalie Portman’s character (Jane? For all the screen time they gave her she didn’t seem to do a lot of any importance). But I didn’t feel it – and that’s something this movie really needed… for me to feel it. I didn’t feel the love, I didn’t feel the hate, I didn’t feel the jeopardy (except during the Frost Giant bit at the beginning)… it was just a fun, cool enough movie to watch. Visually stunning, definitely, but not truly engaging.

And that’s where I really started getting scared. I wasn’t engaged with this. And the character for whom I most wanted to be engaged and wasn’t, was Loki. The bad guy. And that’s a really bad thing, because he’s the guy that’s [SPOILER ALERT] going to be the bad guy in The Avengers movie.

It’s been said that superheroes are only as good as their nemesis. If that’s true, The Avengers is destined to fail – at least for me. It’s already saddled with trying to engage a large number of superheroes in a short time (we all know how well that works with multiple super-villains, right?). Now it’s got to contend with a villain I don’t really care about?

It’s possible that the core of my feelings are similar to Dan’s on this one – in that I think we’re just supposed to accept the “god-like magic” of Loki, more so than any other character, and I dislike that. Everyone else at least has some kind of talisman or tool – most notably Thor’s hammer – that is a “powered” object that character can use. I didn’t really see that with Loki. What is his method of doing what he does? It seems to just come from within him… to be part of his nature. There were a few other little things along those lines, but it seemed more important to me in relation to Loki for some reason.

And what the heck was with that Destroyer robot/entity/thingy? Looked cool and kind of formidable, but big nasty major power? nah. Plus it was remote-controlled by stereotypical-villain-guy. No threat.

So, the villain didn’t work for me, the love story seemed virtually non-existent to me, and overall the story was a bit choppy. But guess what? I still enjoyed it. Not as much as Iron Man, Nolan’s Batman films, or Spider-man 1 or 2, but I thought it was worth seeing in the theater. Those effects were very cool, and there were some genuinely funny and exciting moments.

I’m going for the exceptionally rare 3-1/4 stars out of 5 for this one.

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