Saturday, May 7, 2011
Thor Movie Review - Awesome Worthy of Gods
The summer of 2011 has arrived and you know what that means! The women start wearing less, men start to stink more, and Hollywood unleashes an all our barrage of their biggest films. It's the time of year where all the big studios are like crack whore going through relapse and the only way to survive is to try and bilk movie-goers of every possible red scent. It's a time when us mindless consumers of pop culture enjoy an abundance of action, drama, boobs, explosions, bloodshed, monsters, comedy, and gimmicks and that's just from Adam Sandler movies. To kick things off this summer, Marvel kicks things off with a wad of C4 to ass with Thor. Since Marvel actually started making their own shit under Marvel Studios and not licensing it to asshole third parties like Fox, they've been hitting grand slams that have left comic fans more satisfied than a hippie at a hemp factory.
Last Summer they had Iron Man II. This movie took the star power of Robert Downy Jr., Mickey Rourke, and Scarlett Johannsen to deliver a satisfying if not somewhat predictable thriller. The predictability and gimmick aspects were countered by the overlying continuity the Marvel movies have established. That's what has set them apart from the other superhero movies of the past. These stories are all tied together and will culminate in a cocaine fueled gangbang of awesome, otherwise known as the Avengers movie. Thor is just the next step and it's a big step towards kicking more ass.
Like the Iron Man and Incredible Hulk movies before it, the Thor movie is set up so that the audience doesn't have to know dick about the comics in order to understand what's going on. It takes a similar formula from Iron Man II in that it uses some big name actors like Anthony Hopkins as Odin and Natalie Portman as Jane Foster. Because Hollywood has since realized that any movie with Natalie Portman is sure to attract any young man with a functional penis. There's even something for the Twilight crowd in Chris Helmsworth, who has a tendency to walk around with his shirt off. There are some scenes where all the Bella Swan wannabes out there will need to change their panties. But between the bonerific actresses and studly men, there is a story to be told.
The Thor movie does have the expected and somewhat eye-rolling origins angle. But you can't really roll your eyes this time because the visuals of Asgard, Earth, and all the vivid scenery that were once only depicted in comic books flashes across the screen (and in 3D if you're not a cheap bastard). It's far more stunning than anything in Iron Man or Hulk. The architecture of Asgard and the realm of the Frost Giants is so wonderfully rendered it feels like a comic book pumped with whatever shit Barry Bonds was on.
If you're able to stop drooling over the visuals, the story hits the ground running by showing what an arrogant daddy's boy Thor is. He's not unlike Tony Stark in the first Iron Man movie, over-privileged and an overbearing dick. On the day he's supposed to be crowned king, a couple of sneaky Frost Giants manage to infiltrate the palace. Thor, pissed off that his coronation has been delayed, wants to silence the Frost Giants once and for all even if it means breaking that treaty that Odin lost his damn eye to forge. He manages to convince Volstagg, Hogun, Fandrall, Sif, and Loki to join him on a Bruce Willis style mission. To say it screwed the pooch would be like saying Word War II was a pillow fight. It leads to an action-packed fight, but Odin has to be the one to step in and he's understandably pissed.
As a result of his pig-headedness and douche-baggery, Odin strips Thor of his godly powers and casts him down to Earth. He also casts down his hammer, Mjolnir, but makes sure that nobody can lift it unless they are worthy. And for breaking a treaty, disobeying his father, and being a self-important jackass it's pretty obvious even to an inanimate object that Thor isn't worthy.
From here, Thor crosses paths with Jane Foster. In this movie she's an astrophysicists as opposed to an EMT in the comics. Now this seems a little off because I've met astrophysicists before. I've yet to meet any of them who looked anything close to Natalie Portman. I understand that this is a movie, but even the guys at Marvel probably understand that it's hard to make an astrophysicists super-hot without triggering a few bullshit detectors. But she's Natalie Portman. She won a fucking Oscar for crying out loud. She still fills the role, albeit in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way.
Foster and Thor hit it off immediately. However, Thor goes through some growing pains in terms of being a mortal. He seems to believe that all he has to do is go find his hammer and he can go home. He's willing to blow through SHIELD, giving our old friend Agent Colson from Iron Man I and II a few headaches. We even get to see Hawkeye for the first time. Granted, he's not given much facetime. This is Thor's movie after all, but it's nice to see a few other Avengers that Joss Whedon will put his golden touch on when the time comes. Even with his trusty bow and arrow, Thor still makes it to his hammer only to find out that he can't life it. He's not worthy yet. It's a very humbling experience and one that leaves him more frustrated than all the X-men fans who saw X3.
While Thor is being humbled, we also get another story surrounding Loki. There's a reason he's the God of Mischief. He's the kind of guy who will fuck with you in no fewer than ten different ways and even when it's painfully obvious that he's full of shit, he'll find ten more ways to keep the mischief going. That's what makes him a god. Without getting into too many details, his mischief is tied into every major mishap within this movie. However, what's really remarkable about it is Loki doesn't come off as a completely manipulative douche-bag. What he did was a simple trick that turned into something that even he didn't expect. When a few painful secrets come to light, you almost feel for the guy. It doesn't make trying to crown himself the new All-Father any less a dick move, but everything he does has a purpose behind it and it's not just to blow shit up (although that is a big part of it towards the end).
Loki's mischief eventually leads to an epic confrontation with Thor that goes from the deserts of New Mexico to the rainbow bridge of Asgard. There's action and heart every step of the way. Jane Foster, who seems so utterly obsessed with crunching the numbers when she isn't hitting Thor with her car, learns that there's some magic to the universe. It can't all have fancy names that guys like Albert Einstein can rub in everyone's face. There's something deeper and some of that extends to her attraction to Thor. And let's face it, the guy is a heavily muscled god. Any woman with a partial interest in men would find that attractive to the point of needing to change her panties again.
Overall, it's the most satisfying Thor experience you can get without having Odin himself cram it in your head. There's a perfect balance of the fantasy world of Asgard and the real yet less awe-inspiring world of Earth. You've got it all. Hot women, hot men, action, drama, romance, magic, technology, killer robots, plot twists, and mystery. If that's not enough for you, then you're just being an ass. It's a superhero movie. Don't expect it to read like some artsy foreign film. It's over-the-top, yet wonderfully balanced fun. Plus, it's in 3D! There really is something for everyone to enjoy. You couldn't ask for more if it came with a free joint with every ticket.
Oh, and you'll definitely want to stay till after the credits! Just like with Iron Man I and II, there's an extra scene featuring our old friend Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. It's yet another link to the upcoming Avengers movie that is poised to blow the minds of the next ten generations of comic fans. This comes in addition to the other hints that will likely come with the Captain America movie, which is set to come out later this summer.
Even as the first big blockbuster of the summer, Thor sets the bar ridiculously high. It does so much and does it so well that it's hard to imagine another movie short of Avengers ever topping it. I can safely say without a speck of bullshit that Thor is the best movie that Marvel has ever made. It's better than Iron Man or Hulk. I would put it right up there with the Spider-Man and Batman movies s well. Thor may not be a superhero that shows up on lunch boxes and T-shirts the same way as Spider-Man, Hulk, or Wolverine. But this movie demonstrates why he's one of Marvel's heaviest hitters both literally, figuratively, and everything in between. That's why I give it a perfect 5 out of 5. If you are a comic fan of any type or just a fan of big blockbuster movies, you should get off your ass and see this movie! Nuff said.