I was to be married in but a few hours. Someone had to be, and my Sigma Pi brethren had voted that I was the man to forge an alliance with the Delta Delta Delta chapter. I could no more shirk those duties than I could forsake the bonds of brotherhood, but I’ll be damned if I wasn’t going to enjoy my last moments of freedom. There was still time, time before I tied the knot, before the metaphorical Bifröst Bridge was shattered and I could no longer travel as I wished, trapped in the realm of married life.
As my final act of bachelordom, I decided to venture to the theater and see the manliest movie I could: THOR! Hold on, I’ll have to come back to this; it’s time for the ceremony…
Soooo…things didn’t quite go as planned. There was apparently a lot of alcohol involved, and I think, in the end, it just wasn’t meant to be. Maybe my vows were too slurred, maybe my wife didn’t like that I was grinding on all those other girls, or maybe it was the fact that we’d only known each other for half an hour; but no matter the cause, I’m a free man again, and as my first order of business, I’m supplying you lovely internet people with a review.
In Thor, we are presented with an otherworldly hero of extreme power who hails from the planet Asgard. Thanks to his reckless arrogance, he is stripped of his strength and cast out from his home world, forced to live as a mere mortal on the planet known as Earth. Before he can regain his hammer and his power, he must overcome his faults, thus proving that he is fit to be king. Thor’s comic book plot and over-the-top fantasy could have made it unrelatable, but Chris Hemsworth’s grounding performance saves it from such a fate. He’s chiseled enough to fill schoolgirls’ dreams, but more importantly, he really nails this role. He manages to be spoiled and conceited, yet charming. He is a powerful prince and warrior but somehow hilarious. By the end of the film, he’s the kind of hero you love to root for. And then there’s Natalie Portman, every nerd’s dream. She’s as cute as always here, but unfortunately her character is not particularly relevant.
In fact, Earth itself isn’t particularly relevant. Most of the movie takes place on Asgard, the Asgardians are the main characters, and all the drama and conflict is between their world and Jötunheim, land of the evil frost giants. Earth is involved only tangentially, connected to these other realms by Yggdrasil, the world tree. A whole bunch of mythology is thrown at us, and though I tried my best to catch it, a great deal went over my head. Although I liked all the Asgardians simply because they were attractive and wore shiny clothing, I found it a bit hard to care about them when my old standby, humanity, was left out of the mix. I mean, Earth is never even in any danger! The trailers make it look like all sorts of evil creatures are going to start flooding our cities, threatening to destroy us with robots that shoot fire from their faces. In reality, only one villain ever comes to Earth to destroy anything. And in fact, its only purpose is to capture Thor—it’s got nothing against us puny humans!
And man are we puny. Natalie Portman’s apprentice tazes Thor, but that’s about the most any of us evolved apes does. Portman herself is just in the movie as a shallow love interest to fulfill the hero-learns-humility-by-falling-in-love trope. Not to say that I wouldn’t fall for her immediately, but Thor spends only one or two days on Earth, and there are very few scenes of him and Portman interacting at all. He does appeal to the scientist in her, however, saying “The answers you seek shall be yours, once I claim what is mine.” (Which, incidentally, is how I’m going to be hitting on all women from now on.) Their romance just didn’t hold water for me, especially since [Minor Spoiler Alert] the movie ends with them worlds apart, longing for each other. There simply wasn’t enough time for their relationship to go from whirlwind romance to the “I’ll spend my life searching for a way to travel through space so we can be together” phase. [End Spoiler Alert]
While those faults keep this movie from achieving true greatness, they certainly don’t prevent it from being basically awesome. Thor is a great character, the other worlds are breathtaking, and there’s a good balance of action and comedy. Plus, Heimdall, the gatekeeper of Asgard, is undeniably badass; he wields a giant golden sword, sports a matching horned helmet, and has bright orange eyes that can see across the cosmos. Also, he’s literally immune to being frozen to death.
The only actually bad part of the movie was when Thor supposedly dies. [Spoiler Alert] The main character DOES NOT DIE! I know it’s shocking, but it’s the truth. He’s lying there, all dead like, and the camera just keeps lingering and lingering on a close up of his face. Finally, he grabs his hammer and surges back to life, more powerful than ever now that he’s proven he’s willing to sacrifice himself. The moment is painfully cheesy, and yet, somehow, I found myself cheering. [End Spoiler Alert]
When it comes down to it, Thor is your basic superhero movie. Even though it’s not too original and there’s little sense of danger, the characters are eminently likable, the CGI is stunning, and the action is fun. It’s a lighthearted film, and unless you try to follow the mythology of it all, you won’t have to think too hard.
Score: 3.5/5 ¢
Alignment: Spectacular Fluff
Most worthless character: Hogun, the token Asian Warrior. All he did was repeat what the other characters were saying in a much more ominous, Asian-y way.Follow @russnickel