Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


THOR (2011). Director: Kenneth Branagh.

When Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the God of Thunder, disobeys his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins), the latter strips him of his powers and hammer and banishes him to Earth, where in a self-sacrificing moment he eventually regains his power -- alas, too late to save this surprisingly dull movie. Inspired by an excellent comic book series created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby back in the sixties, the movie certainly has a wealth of history and great stories to draw upon, and it does make use of some of the mythos, such as the rivalry between Thor and his brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and the menace of the robotic Destroyer. Unfortunately, Branagh is absolutely the wrong director for this film, betraying absolutely no flair for well-crafted action scenes, which tend to be just as tedious as the rest of the movie. The kingdom of Asgard is only mildly impressive, the producers eschewing the Kirby-esque grandeur of the comic book, although the rainbow bridge is an attractive sight, and the climax that takes place on it is comparatively exciting. Hemsworth is okay, but he takes a back seat to Hopkins and Hiddleston. Natalie Portman is so blah as Jane Foster that it's hard to realize that she's the same Oscar-winning actress from The Black Swan; she does nothing for Thor and the film does nothing for her. But at least she's not as bad as her silly associate with thick collagen lips who is presumably comedy relief but is only even more irritating than Jane. Patrick Doyle's music does most of the work in drumming up any suspense or excitement.

Verdict: Slow and unmemorable on virtually all levels. **.

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