If you’ve been excited to see Thor, I’ve got good news for you! It’s everything you want it to be, and with the exception of a few small disappointments (which you may or may not agree with), it's a stunning film.
Rather than gush on about how incredible the special effects are, or how brilliant the cast is, or how it leaves you wanting more, I’ll break this review down into some of my key praises and gripes...
--- Chris Hemsworth is one of the best-cast superheros ever. Not only does the Australian actor exude the royal arrogance, physical strength and masculinity that makes people trust Thor’s authority on saving them, he has a special man-child quality that makes you believe that the mighty Thor has an innocent heart.
This is a career-defining moment for Hemsworth, where you’ll forget the box office stinkers he was in, Burlesque and A Perfect Getaway (both of which I personally enjoyed, despite the critics). He actually beat out his own brother Liam for the role. And ladies, he’s easily the best eye candy in (or out of) a superhero costume, possibly ever. ( Sorry fellas, had to get that in.)
--- British actor Tom Hiddleston is perfectly cast as Thor’s brother Loki. His eyes pierce the screen with equal parts of frailty and menace, and he’ll manage to garner some sympathy from you as he evolves into the shapeshifting villain he’s known to be in the comic books. Although Loki’s magic was always something he’d experimented with, in the film we actually get to witness the growth of his confidence with his craft.
--- The city of Asgard and the rainbow bridge is simply every ounce of eye-popping goodness it should be. If you see this in IMAX (which I highly recommend), you may feel a bit woozy as the Asgardians run back and forth across the barrier-free bridge with tsunami-like waves crashing underneath. Yikes! In all fairness, I think this movie will be equally enjoyable without any 3D at all.
--- Colm Feore is brilliant as the Frost Giant’s King Laufey, even though you don’t see his face. Scary! If you do want to see Feore’s face however, you can catch him as Cardinal Rovere on Showtime’s new series The Borgias (which is awesome, by the way).
--- Darcy, Darcy, Darcy… she’s ‘just’ a sidekick of the leading lady, but Kat Dennings (Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist) is a hilarious little scene stealer.
--- Would you ever expect anything less than greatness from Anthony Hopkins? He’s both fierce and fatherly as King Odin, and can do more intense gazing with one eye than most actors can with two. The chemistry between Odin and Thor made the most impact for me in the film.
--- In reality, the “when Thor met Jane” storyline could be an entirely different movie, and the rest of my “con” list is probably more about director Kenneth Branagh and the writing team’s effort to keep the movie’s length shorter. They’ve done an excellent job with this movie, so that said, I’ll keep my whining to a minimum.
--- If you’re going to see Natalie Portman Black Swan you, you’ll be a little disappointed. Her role as the helpful earthling scientist Jane Foster is important, but the love story in the film is difficult to invest in. In the original comic, Jane worked for Thor under his ‘cover’ Dr. Donald Blake, but in the movie, she bumps into him (literally) as Thor.
--- On another love story note, the character Sif, played by Jaimie Alexander, doesn’t really get her just due. Sif is the sister of Heimdall, and was Thor’s girlfriend as written by Marvel. I didn’t get any of that chemistry from the film, as they seem merely like childhood friends.
In the comic, the Thor and Sif are only separated when Thor is banished from Asgard, but Sif doesn’t display much real passion in the film, or jealousy over Thor’s apparent new thing for Jane. In fact, Sif (who is supposed to be the Goddess of War) smiles too much, making her seem a bit simple.
[Side note: in Norse mythology, Heimdall and Sif were both fathered by Odin via different women (he's a God, he can do that!), so it all gets a bit incestuous if you think too hard on it...]
--- While Idris Elba’s portrayal of Heimdall is perfect, we never get to see him out of that bulky costume. Sorry ladies.
--- I found the Warriors Three to be a bit wimpy in their fight with the Destroyer. Maybe I was expecting too much from them...
--- The talents of Stellan Skarsgard (Erik Selvig, associate of Jane Foster) and Rene Russo (Frigga, wife of Odin) aren’t really utilized much. They’re both great actors in their own right, but the characters are buried a bit in this storyline. Frigga does show out when it comes to protecting her family though, which shows she’s a great woman, considering neither Thor or Loki are her biological children.
--- And on that note, where is Balder? Did I miss something?
Despite my very nitpicky cons, I cannot tell you enough how much you'll enjoy Thor. From the fight scenes to little gems in the dialogue, it's a great ride!
I’ll end it here because I don’t want to give up any surprises, but in closing, I will say this: don’t you dare leave before the credits are done rolling!! Be sure to check back and let us know what you thought of the film too!
Now get on Fandango and get your tickets - Thor sure to be sold out this weekend, so hurry!!!