So as a geek, I guess I should go see movies at midnight on the day they come out, right? I mean, isn’t that what all the fan girls do? There’s just one problem. I like to sleep. And I don’t really like crowded movie theatres. Especially rowdy midnight type movie crowds. I also don’t really do the whole Friday and Saturday night opening thing either. Because well… it’s expensive! And again… crowded.
So I choose to go to the new movies the Tuesday after they open. For a matinee? Why? Because I get to see the show in a very non-crowded theater (sometimes I have the whole theater to myself, which is kind of awesome) and also because the theater I go to (in Dyersburg, TN) has something called Stimulus Tuesdays. Stimulus Tuesdays mean you can get popcorn and soda for $1 each. So add that to the price of the matinee ticket (only $5), and for a total of $7, I get to see a movie in a theater I have to myself (or mostly to myself) with popcorn and a soda. Top that, New York fan girls! Ha!
So this week, I actually just started this tradition. In fact, the last movie I saw in a theater was Iron Man 2. But things were kind of crazy last year (and not in a good way) as well as earlier this year, but I now finally have a summer where I can go to the movies on a regular basis again. And so, the first one I chose was also the first big blockbuster of the year: Thor.
I could not have picked a better movie to start this Tuesday tradition with. Because this movie is GOOD. In fact, I’d even go so far as say it was GREAT. I really wish I had something critical to say, but I could not find a single fault with it.
I’m not a big Marvel comic fan (I prefer Vertigo). But I do typically like the superhero movies Marvel has given us. And Thor is no exception. It starts out simply enough, introducing us to Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and his family, including his father Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins) and his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston). We see Thor as the egotistic overly-good looking and muscular guy who probably is a little too proud for his own good. His father knows this and in the end, sends Thor to earth without his powers (or his hammer) to learn a lesson in humility and what it really means to be a hero.
On earth, Thor meets Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) as well as has a run-in with SHIELD.
Without spoiling anything, I just want to say that as far as superhero movies go, the story here is solid. There’s an element of Shakespeare about it (thanks to great direction by Kenneth Branagh) and it’s really far more than a tale about a superhero. It’s a tale about the lengths sons go to please their fathers (or defy them) and about how far fathers will go to teach their sons important lessons. The film’s action takes place alternately on earth and in Thor’s realm of Asgard and the cutting between the two is done perfectly and keeps the pacing and action of the film going without losing steam.
The acting is perfect. We haven’t seen a lot of Hemsworth in previous films, but he proves himself perfectly cast as the movie’s title hero. Both charming and gorgeous (and shirtless at times… and just… wow), he hits the right note as the prince who would be king. Hiddleston, as Loki, finds that right balance of madness in Loki and I found myself surprised at times by the twists his character takes. Obviously, Hopkins is brilliant as Odin and lends the role a very King Lear attitude.
I especially like Portman. In these sorts of movies, her type of role is usually just a throwaway – a female entity brought in to give the male hero a romantic interest. Portman, however, plays her role with a depth that you don’t usually get from the romantic female lead in such movies. She proves that she has a great command of the character and measures up to Hemsworth, even though she stands a few feet shorter than him.
The sets and special effects are also well done, to the point that you forget that Asgard is not real and that a man cannot literally do all of that with a hammer. Nothing seems over the top, but is balanced perfectly with the acting and writing, which always remain what the film is about. It’s nice to see a superhero movie do that. Because what makes superheroes so interesting is who they are as people, after all. It’s their story and their personal journeys that we find compelling.
Branagh should direct more superhero films. He handled this one deftly and brought something to it that felt new to me.
I also want to point out that I saw the movie in 2-D (I am SO over 3-D). But the fact that this film kept my attention and stayed interesting without all that extra “dazzle” that 3-D supposedly gives movies is only a testament to just how good it really is.
Finally, as I hope you have learned about most Marvel movies: DON’T LEAVE THE MOVIE BEFORE THE CREDITS HAVE FINISHED ROLLING. You should know by now that there’s always a little bonus at the end and Thor is no exception.