My son, oldest grandson, and I saw the new Thor movie yesterday. Not bad–I'd give it a B- or a C+. It had a majestic sweep, a Shakespearean feel–not surprising, given that Sir Anthony Hopkins played Odin, and it was directed by Kenneth Branagh. And Natalie Portman, trying to look dowdy as scientist?
Idris Elba as the Gatekeeper, Heimdall. The kid who played Thor, Chris Hemsworth, was perfect, and Rene Russo as his mother? I kept seeing her comparing scars with Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon whichever, or that remake of The Thomas Crown Affair ...
Great casting, including Tom Hiddleston, about whose character I'll speak a bit: bear with me, I have to set it up.
The plot is so old it pre-dates dirt, and I'm not giving anything away by telling you that it revolves around the arrogant young Thor, God of Thunder, being banished from Asgard for disobeying his father.
Kid needs a lesson, and he gets it.
The movie comes to life when Thor, stripped of his super-powers and hammer, becomes a fish out of water on Earth. Some funny lines from this, including a scene where he goes into a pet store and tries to get a horse. We don't have horses, the clerk says. Dogs, cats, fish, like that. Fine, Thor says, give me one of those large enough to ride ...
There is a seriously-lame attempt to hide the villain, and I'm not going to honor it here.
We first see young Thor in Asgard in a flashback, when he and his brother tag along behind dad, they are about eight or nine years old. The next time, Thor is about to be crowned king when the frost giants break into a vault and screw up the coronation.
Ah, those nasty frost giants ...
For the first half of the movie, the writer and director go out of their way to avoid naming Thor's brother, who is right there onscreen in the thick of things. If you have read any of the Marvel comics or anything about Norse mythology, or seen a movie or TV show about it, then you know who Thor's brother is. And if you haven't, and don't know? No point in tip-toeing around it, is there? Since it won't mean anything to you.
Loki. Loki the Trickster is Thor's brother. He is the villain.
And if this spoils the movie for you, you probably can't find your way to the theater without help.
EFX are okay, nothing special. Putting it in 3D was a waste, it doesn't add anything, save for an occasional snowflake. Jim Cameron set the bar high, and nobody has come close to clearing it since Avatar. Nor am I holding off breathing waiting. If I could have seen it in 2D, I would have.
Like most summer movies, this is a check-your-brain-at-the-door and enjoy the ride. And oddly enough, at two hours and ten minutes, it felt short. They could have put another half hour into it and made it better.
Even so, don't drink the large Slurpee ...
Stan Lee's cameo was as a pick-up truck driver, and if you look carefully, you might spot Joe Straczynski (Story by) as a townie, I think it's during the attempted hammer-pull.
It's all silly fun, nothing really wrong with it, and as my son pointed out, the teaser after the final credits–always in a Marvel movie, you should wait until the lights go up–seems more interesting than the movie we just watched ...