Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mighty Thor!!! (review)

The new Comic book adaptation of "The Mighty Thor" is a fairly loose adaptation of the source material. As much as it thrills me to see the God of Thunder brought to life, I've never really been that big of a fan of the comic itself. The whole Donald Blake persona never really hit a spot with me, the romance with his nurse never meant anything to me, and the series was always at it's best when he was just the visiting God of Thunder. So a fair majority of the back story from source material is either ignored or thrown out with nod and a wink to the fans. For the typical fan boy, this is either going to be a great adaptation of some fairly difficult material... or they're going to feel cheated and insulted by the smallness of Thor's scale. Most of the film takes place in the desert or on a sound stage with plenty of green screen CGI effects. It's loud like a summer blockbuster should be, it's action packed, and it caters to the absolute lowest denominator with a constant barrage of low-brow humor and "ass-kicking awesomeness." With that said... I was roughly three steps away from hating the shit storm when I saw the flicker of hope. More on that soon enough.

Anthony Hopkins headlines this film along with Natalie Portman, both of whom chew their dialogue into mulch. Not since Liam Neesons' portrayal of Zeus has an actor given more to his craft. Hopkins is tired... you can tell because he hunches his shoulders, winces with each step, and staggers through every scene with the look of a man who seriously needs to take a crap. I figured that Odin would eventually fall into his deep sleep, but the first third of the film pretty much revolves around him berating the God of Thunder in front of Loki. But as far as Hopkins took the ridiculousness of his role, Natalie Portman seemed intent on making the All Father seem "subtle" by comparison. Portman's blistering smile peels away from her teeth with "awkward pretty nerd goodness" with all the regularity of a John Hughes virgin. She's accompanied by a wisecracking college freshmen hoping to earn some credits for her work with Portmans' scientist character. The sole purpose of this character is to make pop-culture referenced jokes at every opportunity. The heroic science team is rounded up with the presence of a surly professor overseeing the younger Portman's bizarre project of studying... does it fucking matter?!?!?!! Seriously??? It was typical Star Trek gibberish and it doesn't actually MEAN anything... except that the myth and magic surrounding Thor is utterly decimated and replaced with "Alien Technology" on Earth. THE FUCK?!?!?!?!!

Deep breath... because the shining light is on the horizon. Kenneth Branagh takes a shitty script with rotten dialogue and he actually polishes this turd up and creates a thrilling story of his own. Chris Hemsworth is absolutely FANTASTIC as Thor, and Tom Hiddleston chooses a much more subtle and extremely humble approach to playing Loki. And the film is at its best when the focus is on these two characters, and Branagh seems to make certain that editing put the attention on these two characters throughout the course of the film. So while the first third of the film seems destined for a brutal assault on our senses, the project comes together in the second and final acts. The annoying characters fall to the wayside and we're watching Loki fall from grace as Thor struggles to redeem himself.

So, look... this isn't going to be a faithful adaptation of the source material. It sort of feels more like a precursor to The Avengers, reducing the mythology of Thor to some extent in order to preserve the super science of Marvels other signature characters. But it's a fun ride and Hemsworth is fantastic in the lead, so it's definitely worth a watch.

4 out of 5.

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