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Monday, July 25, 2011  

M. Ovie Reviews: Thor

Still powering through my backlog of unreviewed movies. It hasn't been quite two months since I saw this, so it's still pretty fresh in my mind. Don't worry.

I'm glad to say that my habit of seeing movies while almost completely ignorant of their source material is holding up. I knew very little about Thor going in; just what everyone else knows, plus a joke about Thor deciding to go down to earth to get some human poontang that ends with the punchline, "You think you're Thor? I can hardly thit!"

Luckily, Febrifuge was along as my guide. He was the ideal companion to see this movie with, because he is not only a long-time comics fan, but also Nordic. And he dug it, so there you go.

Of the few reviews I read of this movie, critics seemed to be divided pretty starkly into Earth and Asgard camps, according to which sequences they preferred. I can see both sides. On the one hand, Asgard is everything that Clash of the Titans tried and failed to do with Mount Olympus: gorgeous, eye-popping, colorful. On the other hand, I really dig New Mexico.

Thor the character starts out as a guy you hate: a stubborn, arrogant dickhead who needs to be taken down a few hundred notches. Fortunately, he soon is, at least cosmologically. But he's not actually humbled until quite a bit later in the movie, and despite his plummy British accent, charming smile, and well-conditioned blond bob, it's kind of hard to root for him until that happens. Then, feel free.

And speaking of cosmology, it's a pretty bold move to make Thor's best earth friends scientists who are trying to figure out the workings of the universe that Thor hops around in like a subway commuter. The band of physicists led by Natalie Portman (as all groups of scientists containing Stellan Skarsgård invariably are) just happens to be working on some grand unified theory that just happens to match up with Thor's nine realms. Lucky, that. It just goes to show that if you're going to go into theoretical physics, best to keep things vague so there's still room for a comic-book superhero to drop in and say you're pretty much right.

Even I know that you can't tell a Thor story without Loki, but I have to admit Loki threw me for a curve on this one. He's Loki, what do you want? Even knowing to look for him, I didn't realize who he was for his first few scenes, because who ever expects Loki to be the biggest sourpuss on the screen? But that works to the film's advantage. One always expects the Norse God of Mischief to at least look a little…you know…mischievous. But even when he's playing the trickster, his "Ain't I a stinker" face is about as convincing as Jack Bauer's. Which is not a bad thing. In a way, the biggest trick he plays is on the audience, because when you think you've got a handle on Loki's plan and motives, you're wrong. Which is cool.

So I will say that you don't have to be a big fan of comics or Norse mythology to enjoy Thor. I will say it helps to have seen both Iron Man movies, because then you'll catch a nice shout-out or two and also know to stick around until the very end of the credits. And the movie wisely leaves a few questions open, chief among them the issue of whether Natalie Portman can still thit.

posted by M. Giant 9:05 PM 0 comments


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