Thor the mighty Norse god who was send down to Earth to learn about humanity, might not be as popular / well known as Spider-man, Superman or Batman. However when Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and Hulk comes together, collectively they form the Marvel Comics biggest superhero group, The Avenger (the movie event of 2012) and that is something to be reckon with.
Not exactly a fan of Thor but neither was I a fan of Iron Man before the first movie came about. Robert Downey Jr and Jon Favreau made a movie that convert me (and many others) into a fan of Iron Man. Now the question is can Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman and Kenneth Branagh do the same for Thor?
Kenneth Branagh who is well known for Shakespeare movies will be directing this and Thor will make his first commercial comic book movie. The tussle in the royal family in mythical portion should be right up his alley. It also helps that he is reported as a fan of Thor.
Chris Hemsworth is probably not that well known yet but he did give memorable performance in the short introduction arc of the recent Star Trek movie. It would be interesting to see how he fare as the leading man for a full length feature. Plus he is getting support from Natalie Portman (the recent Oscar Best Actress) as the love interest.
Years later, Odin's son Thor (Chris Hemsworth) prepared to ascend the throne as King of Asgard. He was interrupted by the Frost Giants who were attempting to retrieve the Casket. Thor angered by their attempts and saw it as act to break the truce. Against Odin's order, Thor, his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and their group of friends traveled to Jotunheim to teach the Frost Giants a lesson.
They fought and Odin had to intervene before Thor and his friends actually became causality of the battle. For his arrogance, Thor was stripped of his power and banished to Earth. Odin cast a spell on his Mjolnir (the hammer that contain the source of Thor power) so that only those who are worthy could wield it.
On Earth, Thor encountered Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and her fellow scientists while they were tracking the strange wormholes that opening up in the dessert skies. Thor seemed deranged to them but they were intrigued as they suspect that he could have something to do with the strange wormholes. Eventually Thor discovered that his Mjolnir is in Earth and attempted to retrieve it. It was when he tried to lift it, he discovered the spell that his father had cast. Realizing his folly, Thor decided to settle down on Earth and develops a romance with Jane.
Meanwhile, Loki discovered the his true heritage and confronts Odin. Unable to take the the various chain of events, Odin collapse and fell into an Odinsleep (or coma in human language). Since Thor ain't around, Loki became the next in line to take the throne and when he is in power, he set out to wipe his biggest competitor, Thor.
Comparing Thor to Iron Man, this movie didn't do a good job in establishing the change of the protagonist's heart. The time spend in the cave with Dr. Yinsen established a strong reason why Tony Stark would give up playboy lifestyle for a superhero role. For Thor who had been banished to Earth for his arrogance and stupidity, this movie left me wondering what make Thor change his behavior. Was it just because he couldn't lift his Mjolnir (hammer) or the things Loki said to him? Those two events felt insignificant to alter a prince behavior so much. The lack of direness and affecting emotional just weren't convincing for his eventual change.
The romantic relationship between Thor and Jane Foster didn't worth either. Their romance felt rushed as there were plenty of ground to cover in this introduction movie. Comparing their romance to Tony Stark and Pepper Potts (which received equally short amount of time frame) in Iron Man, theirs were far less believable.
There's also the Shakespearean dysfunctional family issues that Kenneth Branagh tried to instill into this comic book movie but the result felt half baked. The actors did relatively well with the material provide. The problem here would be that there's special effects, action sequences, linkage to the Avenger, the romance and comedy to juggle with. There weren't enough time and focus to fully bring out the family tension that this movie was going for.
Diverting a little, there a problem that Thor and Superman both shared. They are far too powerful and they don't fall easily. That makes it hard to give them interesting villains or dire situations which viewers could be engage in. There's a reason why the recent Batman movies and Iron Man movies are scaling down their fantasy elements to something more believable. Thor mention how magic and science were the same in the trailer and there were hopes that this movie would scale down Thor's power to suit the rest of the weaker members of Avengers. But there weren't much of it and it just hard to feel engage with a character that so powerful.
It's hard to recommend Thor movie but to complete the Marvel Cinematic Universe experience, I guess one would need to watch this movie. But then again, I must note that among three other friends, I am the only one who is not impressed with Thor. The rest had a blast watching it.
In tradition of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, there a scene inserted after the credits scenes. It features Nick Fury and this segment hinted at the possibility of things to come in the Avenger movie. Personally, this is one of the weakest coda in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Definitely does not generate a buzz like what the Iron Man 2 coda did for Thor.
Beyond the Movie
Watch out for Stan Lee cameo in Thor! One of the funniest moment as he tried to lift the Mjolnir