Sunday, 22 May 2011

Thor.

Thor.

Delayed viewing of another film so late reviews but this way I won't have to put up with full cinemas and people talking all the way through.

This film has a lot of buzz. Comics have become a mainstream success thanks to big hits such as Batman Begins, Iron Man, The Dark Knight, Watchmen and the semi-successful (yet awful, in my opinion) X-Men series. People are opening up to the concept that this isn't a nerd haven any more and they have credibility and mass amount of entertainment values. With massive projects currently being created and with massive projects about to arrive it seems like we have a lot of "origin" stories to expect in the next two to three years. For example, X-Men: First Class is out soon as is The Green Lantern and Captain America and the most eagerly anticipated one, The Dark Knight Rises. We also have The Avengers, Black Widow, Nick Fury, Deadpool, The Amazing Spider-Man and plans to "reinvent Batman" after Christopher Nolan is done and to create the Justice League.

Plot: The powerful but arrogant warrior Thor is cast out of the fantastic realm of Asgard and sent to live amongst humans on Earth, where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders.

I'm glad people have noticed that comics aren't as nerdy and as terrible as people think. They're not filled with "WHAM! SMASH! KAPLUNK!" like the '80s cartoons of Spider-Man, Superman and Batman made out. They're dark and serious with developed characters which makes you sympathise and empathise. It seems the comics have been redeemed with films that actually stay close to the original source. The new Spider-Man film will mean he's not bitten by a radioactive spider but, instead, invents a gadget which shoots webs making him human. I'm glad to see the early Batman travesties and the scarring Fantastic Four films haven't left a bitter taste and instead have been ignored - like they should have in the first place.

The story of Thor is that he's an arrogant warrior prince who's heir to the Asgard throne. He has the talent to match his massive ego, unfortunately. Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth) attacks a realm known as Jotunheim, which is led by the Frost Giants who once tried to destroy Asgard and Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Odin forbids Thor from attacking Jotunheim after their infiltration mission goes array because it will spark a war. Thor disregards his father's wishes and takes his friends as a battle team (even though together, they're more like a small army. In fact, Thor alone acts like a small army) and travels to Jotunheim. For his insolence, Thor is banished to Earth without his powers and without his hammer, leaving Loki (Tom Hiddleston) alone in Asgard and the heir to the throne.

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgård and Kat Dennings. Directed by Kenneth Branagh.

From there Thor meets Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), Eric Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) and Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings). The usual stuff follows with them not believing what he says or where he came from and other things. The director, Kenneth Branagh, had a massive task on his hand. He had to please the comic book enthusiasts, he had to please the new punters who know nothing of Thor and he had to please the executives who were supplying him with $150,000,000 to create this film. That's a lot of people to please. The pressure to make this a success was unreal. The original screenplay was said to require $300,000,000 to create it successfully but Matthaw Vaughn (before leaving the project) managed to cut it down to $150,000,000 which made the execs agree. There are 1500-1600 visual effects in the film (according to Kenneth Branagh's diary entry in May's issue of Empire) meaning it is one of the films with the most visual effects scenes. Which makes sense considering there different realms, fights with Frost Giants and travels through the cosmos.

I've grown to accept that 3D is just "Super HD" because nothing flies at you but there's such intense clarity and focus on every detail it's hard to believe that these things are computer generated. The realm of Asgard does not disappoint in the slightest. This film doesn't try to be more than what it is though. It's an origin story of a god, a god of thunder - to be exact. A god whose arrogance is his weakness.

This could have been a disaster. It could have become the Flash Gordon (Brian Blessed was rumour - I hope as a joke) of this decade. It could have been filled with cheesy, predictable lines that would make you cringe at. In other words, it could have been a soppy Asthon Kutcher rom-com of the action films. A Steven Seagal cheese-fest. A Gary Busey insane creation which you mockingly quote to your friends. Thankfully, it's not, sort of. I have to admit there are lines in this film that I which weren't. Unfortunately, I think most are uttered by Kat Dennings's Darcy Lewis. They can, thankfully, be ignored by the grand spectacle that it is. It is an epic picture.

This is the future of CGI and the future of comic book films. Great visual effects, amazing characters with interesting back stories and deep personalities, large budgets, thoroughly entertaining with hints of semi-off-putting comedy and sour one liners. If this is what we have to look forward to then I am excited. Some of the jokes aren't even that bad and made me snicker which is much better than any other film of this type. It's weird to think that they've managed to update and condense an entire history of Thor into one film.

Look out for Jeremy Renner's cameo as Hawkeye and wait until after the credits, as per usual.

This stellar cast make this film shine gloriously like the vast landscapes of Asgard. Like the monumental buildings which inhabit it. The actors help make this a classic. Chris Hemsworth has now come from Home & Away and a brief role as Captain Kirk's dad in Star Trek to the "God of Thunder" and a film with an insane budget. This film proved his versatility; unlike Sam Worthington, he can actually not let his Aussie accent shine through.

This film seems to have it all. The classic family storyline, a romance which changes a personality, action scenes which are massive and amazing, betrayal, loyalty and a solid cliffhanger after the credits (the norm for Marvel Studios' films) which can't help but make you eagerly anticipate the progression of the storyline. It's marvellous and Marvel are truly proving that their Avengers are the greatest and soon DC will try to rival them with The Justice League. It's very hard to compete with these and will it be too late? Who knows. All I want is to Captain America to be released. Bring on July 29th.

★★★★