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.

★★★★

7 comments:

  1. Another great, well written informative review, although I must contest a few points.

    Semi-successful X-Men films? Worldwide gross:

    X-Men - $296,339,527
    X-2 - $407,711,549
    X-Men 3 - $459,359,555
    Wolverine - $373,062,864

    Also, without the success of the first XMen film, there wouldn't be any Avengers films being made today.

    Plus, Peter Parker WAS in fact bitten by a radioactive spider, and a "genetically altered" spider in the Ultimate Spiderman. He couldn't produce the webs from his body, but he has all of the other powers. I actually liked the fact that he could produce his own webbing in the films, as I know for a fact I'll have to endure "Oh now I'm out of webbing" right when he's falling from a building or something. Uccch.

    Justice League will do fine, as they have the added advantage of having DC's most well known superheroes (Superman, Batman, Womder Woman) so fear not for Justice League.

    I've never been a massive fan of Captain America, although I'm obviously still going to watch it. The cube will come into play in that film, I hear. And I have X-men and Green Lantern to look forward to before it :D

    Anyway, awesome review. I still find it hilarious he's from Home & Away though. And the fact that Loki is going to be the villain in The Avengers film is fucking awesome.

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  2. That comment took me like an hour to post XD

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  3. Really? It felt like my weakest review.

    I said semi-successful because they brought in a lot of money but they weren't too true to the original source (allegedly) and I personally found them very boring. X-Men did help bring it to the mainstream society but I found them semi-successful because of the storylines. Although, they had great actors in them, they were still poor films.

    I doubt it. You endured the "out of webbing" thing anyway because he wasn't hydrated.

    They may have the more known characters but they're going to reinvent Batman (something I'm not comfortable with) and Superman is too perfect, Wonder Woman has a lasso of truth and I can't really remember much about her. The Justice League never appealed to me though.

    It looks awesome! Will it? That sounds great then. Yeah, Green Lantern, X-Men (I want to see it now) and a load of other great summer films are coming out now. I'm excited. :D

    Yeah, me too. How can he go from a shit Australian soap opera to Thor!? It baffles me ha. Is he definitely going to be? I hope so since Loki is a cool character and Tom Hiddleston is a great actor.

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  4. Yeah, I enjoyed the stuff about other comic book films and such. I was entertained anyway :)

    I think it's very hard to do a "super hero" team film, which is essentially what X-men is as there's always going to be some characters who suffer in the development aspect. Each XMan didn't have the advantage of their own film before hand. So I guess it's fair to say they were made with people who were familiar with the characters, as opposed to all of the later ones. I can understand not liking the first one (origin story) and the third (they went off the rails so to speak), but the second is amaing and is probably my favourite comic book movie. Or at least in my top 5.

    Meh, I'm not a massive spiderman fan anyway. I've seen all of the cartoons and such and having to endure his origin again is going to be quite the yawn. I have a feeling they're going to make it a lot lighter, which means a lot of attempts at humour which will fail miserably.

    Well Batman Begins and The Dark Knight was a reboot of the series, and that reboot wasn't so bad XD Superman may be perfect, but him being on the team means that the villains have to be top of the calss awesome in order to fight him, which is why I don't mind him on the team. Wonder Woman's lasso is only a fraction of her powers. She's nearly as strong as superman, super fast, and has a wide array of weapons (her lasso is used in fighting as well). Her story is that she's an Amazon princess living on a secluded Island where there are no men. And her origin story involves her having to go to "Man's World" with her arch enemies being that of The Greek God Ares, and loads of other references to Greek mythology, like Norse mythology is to Thor. She's awesome. Plus Justice League has Green Lantern, The Flash etc

    Yeah. The cube is some world forming/trans-dimensional thing which the Red Skull will need for his "master plan" apparently. And seeing Chris Evans as a weedy 7 stone boy was awesome hah! Transformers of course XD And I shan't mention Harry Potter :P (well I guess I just did).

    Yeah Loki is definitely going to be in it. I'm not sure whether it's going to be a team of villains with him included, but I think it's more likely just to be him. Yeah I thought he was really good. I imbd'd him, and didn't find anything too interesting XD But he's still awesome. Btw, are you going to see X-Men? Or is the back to back threat of James McAvoy and Nicholas Hoult just too awful to endure? :P

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  5. I found out I need to be less personal in reviews to work for a magazine. No "in my opinion"s or anything of the sort. Shit ha.

    That's true. I dislike all three and I actually find Wolverine's origin film the best of the four and that is in no way a compliment.

    I've hated the Spider-Man films but I loved the actor of the Sandman of the third. He's a cool character too. To be honest, I think the new Spider-Man film isn't going to be light. It's got Andrew Garfield in it (massive plus) and it's got Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy and no Mary-Jane. It's going to be different and interesting and the director is really good so I hope it's brilliant.

    Yeah, that was a reboot but why reboot what is clearly working? I know the Nolanverse is a bit obscure and has cut off a lot of possible characters, it's still a great formula. I think they should keep it dark and similar to those ones. If they did the Justice League, I'd love to see the Joker vs them all but I don't want that to happen because Heath Ledger passed away and if it's not him, it's not the Joker. No one has epitomised a role as well as he has. I hope you're right and it's good.

    Oh, awesome. Sounds good then. Oh yeah Transformers. There are loads. No, never mention that. They're crap.

    Sweet. A team of villains would be cool. Yes, I might be going to see it on the 31st of May at 12am (so 30th of May really). If I can go with someone, I'll do it. I'm really excited to see it for Michael Fassbender, January Jones and the director, Matthew Vaughn. Plus, the trailers all look brilliant so I'll endure those two fuckwits.

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  6. Yeah, I remember covering that stuff in English last year. I've seen a lot of "It is this writer's opinion" and shit like that, but it's mostly encouraged to not be included at all. I was quite shit at it XD As doing languages is all about expressing your own opinion.

    The Wolverine one was the worst XD Hah I don't think we could disagree more.

    The only way that Gwen Stacy differs from Mary-Jane is that she's blonde. She's still the generic superhero's girlfriend character who always needs saving. Although, she infamously died so maybe there's that to look forward to in the film, if they include it. Spiderman isn't supposed to be really dark though. If they're trying to make him Marvel's version of Batman then they are going to be deeply disappointed when they fail.

    I think you're right when you said before that the director they get for the Batman reboot is going to be a Nolan copy-cat. The Justice League will be awesome. Their best stories heavily feature Batman, and seeing as though he's one of their "big three", his role will no doubt be pivotal in the film. The character of the Joker was a legend long before Heith Ledger ever played him. Sure if they decide to include him in a future film the actor going to be compared to him and everyone will say how the performance isn't as good and blah, but I don't think that should mean he's banned from future portrayals of the character.

    Hah :P The film is going to be like, an hour long battle. So I actually cannot wait. I wonder how they're going to explain Shia LaBeouf's sudden undying love for the new female character in the film. I am not optimistic about the scenario although the film looks awesome.

    12am screening? How utterly nerdy. If you can't get anyone to see it with you I shall see it at that time. Sounds like an experience. Hah, maybe this will change your mind about James McAvoy? You never know

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  7. I haven't tried yet but it's pretty shitty.

    Haha, that's true.

    That's true but it's Emma Stone so it's OK. Although, Emma Stone blonde...not so much. Emma Stone brunette, YES! Yeah, I know it isn't but it might be a welcome change.

    I don't want them to be a copycat really because they won't do it as well as he did, just use him. :P Let's just hope they rebuild him well for the Justice League then. I know he was but wasn't Heath Ledger amazing? I watched it again the other day and watching Heath Ledger play him just seemed so perfect. It seemed like the perfect representation of him. Mark Hamill (aka Luke Skywalker) does the voice of The Joker in Batman cartoons and the Batman games. It's funny how he's a villain in every thing he acts in now. I wouldn't say banned but I think there should be a brief relaxation. No one is going to want to be the first to take the torch.

    It's a lot darker, apparently. Nothing like Michael Bay is like usually. Let's hope the idiots and the worst bits from the first two are gone. I highly doubt it. Me too. She looks like a rhino or something. She was this year's FHM's sexiest woman, mind. I almost cried.

    It's not that nerdy. That's why I didn't really want to go because I'd look like a comic book nerd who loves X-Men and all the previous films when it's far from true. :P I've warmed to him already, oddly. I think it's just Wanted. He's so shit in it. He just randomly screams.

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