Despite the hype for Thor: Love and Thunder, and the presence of Chris Hemsworth as the “deity” Horror, this movie has had some hiccups here and there. Despite its Oscar-caliber cast and a director who draws inspiration from Shakespeare.
To be honest, it will be unfair to single out Hemsworth because he actually performs far better than anticipated, considering the film’s ridiculous movie trailers, which makes the story appear much more like a B-movie than it actually is.
In spite of its poorly written dialogue, subpar 3-D, tacky production design, and what might very well be the year’s most annoying original score so far, Thor is actually not a horrible movie.
Hemsworth is not the issue at hand, by any means. Kenneth Branagh, who is a fantastic filmmaker given the appropriate material, may perhaps be the biggest issue.
Branagh does a wonderful job of adding a few human aspects to Thor, but he struggles mightily to strike the right balance between the superhero aspect of the movie, the amazing effects, the action, and the combat scenes.
With Thor, it appears that director Kenneth Branagh is emulating the style of Iron Man by crafting epic action scenes that are liberally sprinkled with the character of Thor’s self-deprecating humor. There are even hints of fake romance that give the movie some nice emotional resonance despite otherwise being your stereotypical summer blockbuster type of movie.
Even if Thor isn’t nearly as enjoyable or well made as Iron Man or, the movie nevertheless has enough amusing moments to be modestly recommended.
As the first act of Thor opens, Thor (Hemsworth) is getting ready to take over from his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), as ruler of Asgard, a place in a distinct dimension connected to earth by a bifrost that somewhat resembles a yellow brick road that Elton John might design.
Unfortunately, those evil Frost Giants cause some trouble, delaying Thor’s coronation for long enough for him to irritate his normally placid father, who decides that Thor is not yet fit for the throne. Thor is exiled to Earth, and Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who is incredibly cunning, usurps the throne and starts wreaking havoc in Asgard.
The research van of scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), her mentor (Stellan Skarsgard), her intern, and a significant portion of the movie’s comic relief, Darcy, is where our superhero first starts to feel significantly less amazing (Kat Dennings).
Of course, there are the requisite sequences with Jane gushing over the toned-up Thor and the expected “fish out of water” situations. Surprisingly, although being predictable, most of these situations are effective.
Hemsworth should undoubtedly be first in line for any Rocky Horror remakes that may occur, but the actor also possesses a certain charm that contrasts well with Portman’s typical “girl next door” persona. Despite not having much to do, Dennings and Portman complement each other well because they both have a similar attitude and enthusiasm.
There are a lot of things about Thor that don’t work, so the fact that the movie still manages to be entertaining almost in spite of itself may be a credit to the cast, the script, or Branagh.
Iron Man and, to a lesser extent, Iron Man 2 were successful because they nearly flawlessly balanced science and humanity, humor and action, and hurt and heart. In its finest moments, Thor strikes the perfect balance and hints at greatness. But all too frequently, a bad thing happens, and what could have been a truly amazing scene becomes only mediocre.
Gary Ray Stearns, who choreographs fights, frequently produces situations that lack tension, are muddled, and seem busy only for the purpose of being active.
Hardcore action sequences are included in several scenes, but they don’t always flow smoothly or coherently, which is disappointing for a movie with a PG-13 rating.
The film’s technical problems are rounded out by Patrick Doyle’s original soundtrack, which may be the year’s most gratingly monotonous AND overblown work.
Being based on a Marvel Comics character, it goes without saying that there are film references to other upcoming movies. Jeremy Renner makes a well-publicized brief appearance and, like Natalie Portman, seems to be in almost every movie these days. Samuel L. Jackson also makes a cameo, and Clark Gregg appears as Agent Coulson, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
Thor doesn’t exactly deliver on its promise and doesn’t even come close to realizing its full potential, but the chances are quite good that you’ll at least enjoy the movie to some extent if you liked the other Marvel movies and this is your kind of movie.
Kenneth Branagh undoubtedly added a lot of weight to the movie, but in this particular instance, a director with a lighter touch and a stronger action sense may have been a better choice.