REVIEWS

Jeremy's Review: 'Thor's' Hammer Hits With a Disappointing Thud

by
May 6, 2011

Thor Review

Thor, the latest adaptation of a Marvel comic book, had a pretty high hurdle to get over. Not the typical superhero story, the idea of putting a God at the center of a film for audiences to connect with was a tricky one. Bringing Thor's world and the characters within it to life and shedding the apparent hokeyness that comes with that was even trickier. And so it was handed to Kenneth Branagh, a director known for bringing iconic characters to the screen, to undertake such a task. The level of success is unfortunately up and down, and Thor ends up being a comic book adaptation that runs somewhat stagnant with fleeting moments of encouragement shining through.

Much of the problem falls to the movie's pacing. Thor, played here by Chris Hemsworth, and his home world of Asgard are established rather well. There's Odin played by Anthony Hopkins, Thor's brother Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston, and the shaky truce Asgard has with the Frost Giants of Jotunheim. After a series of events and one decided battle led by Thor causes the truce to broken, the hero is cast out of Asgard to our world. There, he meets a team of scientists led by Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman, and sets out to reclaim his powers and return to his home.

If there is one thing Thor does absolutely right, it's in the character connections and the actors who build those relationships. Performances are usually brought up later in my reviews, but when that element of a film is clearly the most attractive and sturdily executed attribute, it bears being noted right at the outset. Hemsworth as Thor is great. He has the look of a noble God, yet the twinkle in his eye and the cocky smirk he lets slip through on occasion gives you a definite impression that Thor isn't the most genteel of the Asgardians. Thor is bull-headed, sure that what he is doing is right, and this arrogance is what both leads to his literal downfall and establishes him as more than the ordinary superhero Marvel has to offer. And Hemsworth does a near flawless job in emoting all of this both in his actions and in his looks.

Thor tells, for the better part of the movie, a fish out of water story, one that causes the hero to be made fun of, to say or act in goofy ways that bring out awkward looks from those around him. Hemsworth nails this. While he has the arrogance down pat, he also allows the character to be the butt of the joke more than a few times. Also of note should be Hiddleston as Loki, a quiet yet mischievous character who was born to be the villain of his story. However, just as Thor isn't the typical superhero, Loki isn't the typical all-malevolent arch enemy, either. There's an understanding in Loki's actions and not one brought out by obvious character flaws in the more honorable of the characters. It feels natural, and Hiddleston's range is on brilliant display.

Much of the comedy works, a lot of it coming from Kat Dennings as one of Jane's assistants and the Warriors Three, Thor's friends in Asgard who are looking for a way to bring their comrade home. Unfortunately, these characters have little use in the story outside of this ephemeral sense of passing levity. That part of Thor does feel forced.

The action in the film is another matter. Both unevenly paced and hastily executed, there's never any sense of significance to it. An early battle between Thor and friends and the Frost Giants moves the CGI rapidly. We never feel any suspense for it, particularly once realizing the Asgardians are essentially indestructible. The 3D aspect doesn't do Thor any favors, either, and it should be noted that given the option, you should just opt for standard 2D projection. A mid-way set piece at a S.H.I.E.L.D. complex built around Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, is well executed and offers a cameo that will leave insiders more than a little giddy.

And speaking of S.H.I.E.L.D., the build to The Avengers movie is unquestionably felt within Thor. Fortunately, unlike Iron Man 2, it's not shoe-horned in. There's a naturalness to it that is welcome, so that even when some of the agents directly refer to Tony Stark, it's played for laughs, but it comes off more like part of the world and less like Marvel studio execs hand-writing in script notes.

But back to the titular character, charming and perfect as Hemsworth is and as gifted as Portman is in her acting ability, the love story built between Thor and Jane never gets the time it needs to grow. Here we have a God fallen to Earth and the scientist who finds him. After the initial disorientation Thor has to acclimating both to our world and to not having his abilities, the connection between the two gets rushed. There are a few glances, he tells her about magic and science coexisting, and there's a long drive filled with some character-developing dialogue for her benefit. But they just seem to lock onto each other, and for little more evident reason than he's the star and she's the love interest of this particular story.

When Loki sends a giant, robotic creature to Earth to take care of Thor once and for all and said creature begins terrorizing the small New Mexico town Jane and her team have been residing, that absence of weight is noted. It's a superhero movie. You know our protagonist is going to win out in the end, but the ancillary characters, even the faceless extras who make up the population of the town, could and should be fair game. Unfortunately, the light tone drawn out makes it such that any idea of excitement dissipates quickly.

Thor is a long way from either the top or the bottom of comic book adaptations, but it's that middle of the road feeling, that idea that these are characters - outside of Loki - we never need to or even want to revisit that causes Thor to be much less than a success. When The Avengers comes out, maybe the tone will be just right and Thor, God or not, will have a weight about him. As it is, the Mjolnir he flings around looks light, hits even lighter, and, dare I say it, gives off that hokey feeling we feared from Thor in the first place.

Jeremy's Rating: 5.5 out of 10

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  • Guest2
    Well, considering it's something like 95% on RT, I'd say your opinion is the bottom minority. For the most part, people have really been enjoying this. My guess is you're one of those fanboys that complain about everything not being authentic enough, while still having no idea as to how the movie industry actually works. My review of this 1/10.
    • Xerxexx
      Its an opinion, his opinion...you don't have to agree with it, no need to insult.
      • Guest2
        Yeah, it's his opinion, and I have a right to disagree.And for the record, I've never liked this guy's reviews. He's way too fanboyish for my tastes. Just my opinion.
        • Chazzy
          More like a 79% on RT, but whatever.
        • Angry Chief
          You're out of your element. If Jeremy's reviews are to fanboyish for you, then why the hell do you read them?
          • Angry Chief
            too*
        • Xerxexx
          I disagree with Kirk's reviews all the time, but no need to attack him for it.
          • Guest2
            These guys are failed film students cum bloggers. They're not film critics or film makers. Their opinions are no more accurate than Joe Schmoe.
        • Angel
          I disagree you are not worth of a reply. So thats it.
    • SkaOreo
      I'm not a fanboy. In fact, I don't give a shit about Thor as a character. The review is absolutely spot on, and I don't understand the high praise the film has been getting. Is it entertaining? Sure. But is it a great film, not even close. It's the type of superhero you watch, enjoy with your buddies, then forget by next weekend. Honestly, your "butthurt" post makes you sound much more fanboyish than Jeremy.
    • Chip_Tha_Ripper
      I wemt to Jordans commans In Utah to see this in IMAX 3D. im going to chalk up all these poor reviews to you seeing it in a crappy theater. The only disappointment about this movie was reviews like this. go see it again and orgasm.
  • Prnc_2002
    Perfect Review, i see everybody gave good rating for this movie but i felt 5.5 of 10 is right. Average movie
  • Chris A.
    While I went in with low expectations, I still think Thor deserves at least a 7. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Needs a little less Kat Dennings.
    • Chris A.
      And a LOT LESS 3D
      • I was "forced" to see it in 3d because the normal projector broke and the theater "upgraded" us to 3d or we could wait over an hour for the next regular show. I found the 3d to be pretty useless and way to dark in the Asgard scenes
  • Ravek019
    This review is confusing... It seems that the reviewer was well entertained and enjoyed his experience despite the flaws mentioned and at least more than half the film, based on the things said to be liked, should have been worthwhile. Therefore I don't understand why it only has a 5.5/10... the review indicates at least a 6 or 7 minimum. Did Jeremy just have a sudden surge of depression or anger as he set up the rating?
    • TheTruth
      He's the reviewer. If he says he thinks the film is a 5.5, then that's what he thinks it is. How can you decide that his score should be higher? If he thought it was a 6 or a 7, he would have put that.
      • Ravek019
        No, I'm just saying that the number seems to conflict with the content of the review.
        • I agree, the review was much more positive than the score suggests.
  • Ravek019
    You said that the characters and acting were generally good and positive,. and didn't even comment on the settings, interactions, plot or rest of the movie, and yet you claim that it is entirely disappointing because the action felt rushed?
  • frndwhocares
    I am
  • frndwhocares
    I am pretty sure this Jeremy guy sits home taking uppers or smoking meth! All the people in the audience at the theatre I was in who saw the movie THOR stood up and applauded afterwards. That speaks volumes!
    • Chazzy
      The people at your theatre must not watch many movies.... like at all.
    • I've seen applause at a lot of utter crap. Maybe they were clapping because their pain was over :) I enjoyed the movie and would rate it about a 6, but I saw it in a crowded theater and the response after was a feeling of mildly entertained and no clapping
  • Lorathan
    I my self as well as my husband and son are HUGE Marvel fans. We say Thor today and LOVED it, however you are so right about the 3D. I really wish that we had done the 2D instead, at least we know not to do Captain America in 3D.
  • Lorathan
    Sorry for the typo's it is really late.
  • gusto
    fast 5 got a 8 out of 10 and Thor got a 5.5 ? sorry guys i just can't wrap my head around that. i think just based on Tom Hiddleston performance itself the movie is already at least a 7/10, he's perfect as Loki. i do agree that the plot's rushed but considering the duration of the show and the necessity setup for The Avengers movie, i think the director did quite well.
    • Guest2
      Like I said earlier, these fools have no idea what they're talking about. I mean are we that deluded to be happy if Kirk and his fanboy friends give a film a great score? Who cares? These guys are failed film students cum bloggers. They're not film critics or film makers. Their opinions are no more accurate than Joe Schmoe.
  • I can't believe how good everyone is saying Thor is. In this poll it has over 90% posative. Poll: http://www.wepolls.com/r/201332/Did-Thor-live-up-to-the-hype Let's all vote on it and see if we can't make it reflect reality. It sucks.
  • Jon A.
    Jeremy here is an idiot. He'll be the only one who'd say Green Lantern rocks when it comes out. Who wanna join the mob I'm gunna gather around his place to beat him up and rape him then burn his place?
    • That's a bit over the top dont you think? No one forced you to keep reading once you decided to not like his review.
  • Anon
    Good review. Though i think u were a little harsh on the rating.
  • Ryderup
    Why are everyone getting so hostile? It's his opinion...
    • Anonymous
      Aren't you familiar with the #1 rule of internet opinions? If you don't agree with the majority you're either a fanboy, troll, retarded or "just don't get it". There is no such thing as personal preference!
  • Ivan
    Fanboy review... All there is to say .
  • XXX BLK
    I enjoyed the movie was entertain and didn't see it in 3D....I want give it a rating because it's not a "Gone With The Wind" or "Scarface" I got what I was expecting a action movie with side effects and will continue to see Marvel movies
  • king james
    The movie was definately good. I also thought the graphics were fine. I'll never read another one of your reviews againy your terrible pick a new job.
  • Revkrazy
    A lot of talk about Thor being the best comic book Movie since The Dark Knight. What do you think ? Vote now! http://www.wepolls.com/p/201332/Did-Thor-live-up-to-the-hype
  • Nightshade
    As a fellow reviewer, I think whatever this reviewer thought is fair enough, being his opinion and all...But in my opinion, as a fan of Thor and a reader of the comics, this was a VERY good adaptation of Thor, it was fun, enjoyable, they got the characters right, the acting right, the action and the acting and film was good, but not overdone, which was great. I could see many other actors/directors very easily screwing this up but considering it is an introductory movie which has to introduce 2 different interdimensional worlds etc. it was VERY WELL DONE and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I didnt think the romance was rushed and whenever there was action it was great, it also wasnt canned action in the sense it was like...ok here we go...its been a while now, lets get the action rolling. The story was good, not too complicated but not as dumb and plain simple as some other films, it relies heavily on inter-family ties and the ending not being a typical fairytale ending was also a plus point. Well I enjoyed it and I thought it was great fun and a great movie with an awesome cast and very well directed, and most importantly, they got Thor right in terms of the comic. I just cant wait to see him in the avengers...
  • anon
    @Jeremy: Go watch Bryan Singer's superhero flicks !!
  • Samadams
    6 out of 10, Thor is contextually difficult to portray for an audience with a certain expectation per the original comic, for my money Thor should have been more of a god (like in clash of the titans) than a demi god with mechanical..
  • BIG R
    I haven't seen it yet but I'm seeing it tonight. Is there anything after the credits as far as easter eggs go?
    • Yes, and its potentially the best post credits scene I have ever seen.
  • Awell91
    I thought it was a pretty good adaptation of Thor. I was a little worried while watching the trailer, but it turned out to exceed my expectations (which were neither bad nor good). Now I'm just worried for Captain America.
    • Darth Pimpin
      Yeah the trailer scared me too, but the movie was cool. Natalie Portman kind of irritated me though.I don't know why...
  • Mcfitz
    You MUST walk in to a movie like this and expect almost nothing... that's the only way your going to take out SOMETHING! For hardcore THOR fans clearly each person will have their vision about what EXACTLY the movie is supposed to be like. These people will be disappointed no matter how good it is. It was a great intro to what THOR is like. It's special effects and sound stole the show. Sure the relationship between THOR and his love interest was cheesy... but meh. I looked past that. A decent attempt over all.
    • Anon
      if I expect nothing I wouldnt be walking into a movie now would I?
  • Lamar
    Thor was a superbly entertaining film. 5.5/10 doesn't do it justice at all. All the Asgardian characters were acted out very well, especially Thor and Loki. The movie deserves a 7 at the VERY least.
  • Super
    A good film reviewer doesn't only include one's valid opinion, but that opinion is backed upon well-read knowledge of film and journalist's objectivity. The probably with the negativity towards the film is that it's warranted if a person just doesn't like the film for whatever reason. But, objectively Thor is a film that could have gone completely wrong for many reasons. They humanized the character and brought the unbelievable to mesh with the real-world plot. The focus of the review should include the film was an achievement in being entertaining. What more could have this film done? It was a perfect as a modern Thor film could have been. Absolutely.
    • Anonymous
      "Thor is a film that could have gone completely wrong for many reasons." Yeah, you're right, it could have been much worse.
  • Cody W.
    I think people had their expectations way too high again, I thought it was great. Completely disagree with the critiques on the Jotunheim battle sequence, that was just fuckin sweet.
    • Darth Pimpin
      The lightning strike and the head shot. S I C K
  • Carlos D
    It's not bad, but it's not good. 5.5 is fair, I think. Thor's friends are goofy morons and Thor himself spends a good amount walking about with a ridiculously self-satisfied smile. Natalie Portman's character was studying what exactly? Why did her research correlate with wormhole Norse-planet travel? How did Thor's doodles around planets in her book reveal anything to her? My point is not to nitpick but rather to say that in the realm of fun summer superhero movies, it's been done better and more efficiently. Thor wasn't a disaster and the mythology didn't seem totally ridiculous, but its far from as well oiled a machine as Iron Man, Spider Man 2 and X-Men 2 (Nolan doesn't really make 'fun' movies, so not the same genre.)
  • I do have to say that i left this movie feeling confused... It was the first time I didnt understand if it was a good or bad movie... The movie is made in such a way that it turns out to be completly neutral. I'll just end up forgetting it. I wont remember it for it beeing good or bad... it will just fade away from thought. One day I might recall it, but it will just be: "Oh that one."
  • Rp1n
    I concur. When a film has as its main producer a former VFX producer and credits the VFX Supervisor and VFX Producer before the main cast, it's a good bet that the film is mediocre at best. Politics abound. THUD! Waste of money.
  • Anonymous
    A movie about a Norse god played by an Aussie Irishman, and directed by the same guy who made the disastrous remake of Frankenstein.... gee, what could go wrong?!
  • Sandhwaddell
    All these people who review these need to read the comics to understand the hero. Thors hammer should be light to him idiot it's his and he is a god the story of the hammer alone explains that. Do some research. By the way to all critics why don't u get a real job and do a little something we who do call work for a living. In closing I would like to see u do better with any of it.
  • Belyeudevil
    I agree, the 3D was horrible and it just went straight down hill from there.
  • Shaww32
    i thought the movie was good at any rate if they made it just like the comic then it would not stand on it's own and all i can say about how fast thor and jane fall for each other love at first site it happens all the time 75 % of merriage's today are love at first site i like it and i will be seeing it agian  
  • Eximius
    For generally enjoy Marvel's films, but coming with lowered expectations of it I was pleasently surprised. Its humor supported the story and the set up for the Avengers was essential to the movie I did respect. To be honest the rushed action was understandable despite the amount of CG. I agree the performences were great and true to the characters they entailed. A worthy buy in handling its elements. I give it a 7.5/10, good but not great. And Jeremy your review does conflict with the score you gave it. And it didn't cover what was essential for the negative turn on the score. Just so you know, cosider more valid points. 
    • Twistedmetal32
      shut the hell up. his review was fine. 
  • Sweet Sweet Chet
    I'm not super-keen on the mythology of Marvel Thor, and think I they probably could have gotten away with changing more of the 'canon,' but I think this film more did its job (especially compared to other superhero films). Having just seen Captain America, Cap is a better film but has more dramatic stuff to work with that we Earthlings can relate with (WWII etc.). I thought Thor might be a disaster and was pleased that it was handled with some humor and the heavyweight actors in the right roles. I'm very pleased we'll be seeing Loki again, as he's been one of the best Marvel villains in ages.

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