Today: April 12, 2024


Devotees of the Marvel comic book adaptations were, no doubt, rubbing their hands together in excitement when it was revealed that Thor was coming to the big screen.

Devotees of the Marvel comic book adaptations were, no doubt, rubbing their hands together in excitement when it was revealed that Thor was coming to the big screen. The fish-out-of-water comedy with its beefed-up Neighbours actor, director Kenneth Brannagh in the driving seat and spectacular CGI special effects, fans should be happy.

Thor tells the story of a Nordic god of the same name who was depicted on the pages of Marvel comic books in the 1960s. Thor, according to Norse mythology, is the god of thunder, lightning and, intriguingly, oak trees and he wields his power within a magic steel hammer. War-hungry Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth (who was up against his brother for the role), deliberately upsets the Frost people – longterm enemies of his homeland, Asgard. To punish Thor for his juvenile actions his father, King Odin, played by Hopkins, banishes him to earth.

Cue Natalie Portman as the lonely scientist Jane, who runs over Thor (twice, actually) as he lands on earth with a bang, literally. Director Brannagh, takes advantage of this ‘alien on earth’ type scenario, and uses it to get some much needed and well delivered genuinely funny moments; such as when Thor storms into a pet shop demanding a horse so he can recover his steel hammer or arrogantly proclaiming ‘you can’t threaten me, I am the son of the mighty Oden’ before being tasered by Jane’s often inappropriate assistant.

Hemsworth is excellent as Thor: thunderous, cheeky and with his Incredible Hulk muscles and Aussie good looks, he has the perfect physique to play a Nordic God. There’s no sign of Portman’s Oscar-winning performance here, she is merely adequate in her role. This may be due to her flimsy lines and unconvincing relationship between her and Thor, which has no foundation or genuine chemistry, but instead has a very banal Tarzan and Jane type quality to it.

Brannagh might be considered to be an unusual choice of director, considering he is more comfortable with a Shakespearean tragedy than a Marvel comic although there are some parallels, thematically. The secondary story is that of Thor and his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the latter of which competes with his sibling for their father affections. But sadly, besides being a catalyst for some crafty treason and an almighty final battle between the brothers, you won’t find much beneath the surface.

Of course the true reason to see Thor is not for compelling story lines but its awe-inspiring CGI effects and elaborate set-designs; Asgard is a crystal-tinged heaven where everything sparkles and the food is plentiful in a land that is ruled by a benevolent king. Check out the magic teleporting gate manned by the powerful Norse deity Heimdall, played by Idris Elba, a casting which has upset some Thor devotees; a Nordic can’t be black, don’t you know?

If basic, unadulterated entertainment is what you’re looking for then Thor is your man. The fight scenes will have you jumping in your seats and clinging on to
your 3D glasses. It’s definitely worth paying the extra to see Thor at
the Imax.

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