Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Ken Recommends: Thor

Release: 27/4/11
Running Time: 114 mins.
Studio: Paramount & Marvel Studios
Genre: Fantasy/Comedy
Rating: 12A
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Writer: Ashley Miller (Screen play) & J. Michael Straczynski (Story)
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins & Natalie Portman

The Summer blockbusters were kicked off this month with Zack Snyder's Sucker Punch and that was met with mixed responses but it wasn't until the arrival of Thor did it really feel like the blockbusters were coming. This summer Super Heroes will rule the box office, with Captain America and Green Lantern still to be released it's hard to tell who will be the hero of 2011, fortunately Thor's got a head start but will that be the decidng factor?

After being exiled from Asgard and stripped of his Powers Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the God of Thunder has been banished to Earth where in his entrance cause more than ripples in the water. Whilst on earth Thor's entrance attracts the attention of a group of local Physicists but also a large shady organisation, in his absence Thor's brother Loki, the trickster God (played by Tom Hiddleston) takes the throne of Asgard after Odin (Hopkins) is taken into the Odinsleep. Loki plans to change Asgard for his own selfish means, can Thor regain his powers a return to Asgard to stop him?

This movie is a blockbuster there will be no award winning scripts here but what Thor is, is fun. It really feels like a comic book movie, if you've watched Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk theres definetly a sense that these movies are connected (and just not by the upcoming Avengers movie in 2012) but in tone, if you've enjoyed movies from Marvel Studios so far theres a good chance you're going to enjoy Thor.

The cast is great and theres some real subtlty to some of the scenes, especially with Loki and Odin, where acting falls short though is during the Earth scenes where Thor interacts with physicist Jane Foster (Portman) and friends. These character's arn't interesting and feel one dimensional, seemingly to only have two thoughts on their minds after the first third of the film is over. Overall the acting from the gods is compelling and draws you in for fun and excitement where as the humans are dull and feel tacked on just to give Thor any sort of connection to Earth, where as it might have been a better pay off to see him survive without Locals to guide him.

The visuals seem ropey at the start of the film until you see that first panning shot of Asgard. You could really believe that this is a city of Gods and the design for costumes is really unique, think Conan meets Star Wars and you begin to get an idea of what it's like. Again it's the scenes in Asgard that are really memorable. The editing and pacing of the film is overall well put together as it should be from Branagh, but there were a few instances where in an extra three seconds to convey an action would have just made it a little smoother in places.

Like all super hero movies it's down to that final showdown between good and evil and it really does pay off with stunning visual, the best scene is seeing brother Loki and Thor duke it out.

With some good twists you may not expect from your standard super hero movie Thor is worth spending money on (I recommend 2D as I couldn't see anything 3D could add to the experience). Although Let down by Hemsworth and Portman's scenes in what feels a little like a forced romance between the two, the movie still stands up with many qualities that out shines that blemish. Thor is a great start to the summer movie season and enjoyable for both fans and movie goers.

And as always there's a scene at the end of credits to wet your mouths for upcoming Marvel Studio Projects.

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