78 / 365 – ‘Thor’ – 114 mins
Cinema Challenge #33 / 115
A warrior of great strength, yet impetuous and foolish, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is son of the all-powerful Odin (Anthony Hopkins), who rules the gods in his kingdom of Asgard. When Thor’s arrogance reignites an ancient war, he is exiled to Earth as punishment. Here he meets a young scientist named Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who strives to understand the enigmatic stranger. Gifted with the strength of a god and a hammer only he can wield, Thor still needs to learn wisdom. So when his dark brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) sends his minions to invade Earth, it’s time for Thor to decide what he truly wants to be – a reckless warrior god, or defender of his new home? Director Kenneth Branagh provides stunning visuals and breathtaking action sequences as the hammer-wielding Thor explodes into battle.
2011 has the potential to be a strong year for cinematic superhero movies and director Kenneth Branagh has ensured things get off to a positive start with Thor, the fourth entry in Marvel Studios’ cinematic superhero universe, and the first of four (‘The Green Hornet’, ‘Thor’, ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ and ‘Green Lantern’) superhero movies to arrive this year.
From the epic opening set on Asgard, with the silvers and golds of Odin’s hall to the luminous rainbow bridge, the set design of this realm is visually stunning as is the battle back on Earth. A couple of minor negatives, the Destroyer which Thor does battle with is a direct rip-off of Klaatu from ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ and the biggest gripe again is the utter pointless use of 3D, where it is virtually non-existent throughout and makes for uncomfortable viewing at times.
With its compelling story involving science and mythology Thor is filled with plenty of action and surprising direction from Kenneth Branagh who turns from his Shakespeare roots to superhero genre effortlessly. Thor is a brilliant addition to the Marvel cinematic canon and where they may have been banking on that First Avenger, to be their big summer hit, but on this evidence this is one superhero to beat as he firmly sets the bar very high indeed – whilst all the time Thor tantalizing whets the appetite throughout for the coming together of Marvels 2012 colossal ‘Avengers’ movie.