I’m a big movie geek, though not nearly the same kind of comic book geek. I have no vested interest in any comic book characters based on their print versions. (Except for Watchmen.) My familiarity with Thor begins and ends with the extremely scant knowledge I have of the original source material, that he’s some kind of Norse god. And he has a hammer.
I’ve enjoyed all of the Marvel produced films to date. Iron Man was perfect, Iron Man 2 was less so, but still a lot of fun. The Incredible Hulk was some kind of awesome. Add to that I’m a fan of the director (Kenneth Branagh) and some of the stars (Natalie Portman, Stellan Skaarsgarg, Anthony Hopkims, even Chris Hemsworth), and I suspected I would love this movie.
I didn’t love it. I liked it, I guess, but not nearly as much as the other films I’ve mentioned. Hemsworth’s Thor is a bull in a china shop kind of guy. The evil (?) Frost Giants from the Realm of the Really Muted Color Palatte sneak into Asgard and almost steal the Box of Making Things Freeze. Thor decides he must fight them with his mighty hammer. He does, but it doesn’t go well, and Daddy (Anthony Hopkins as Odin) has to save his Viking bacon. This incident is enough to convince Odin that Thor isn’t ready yet to take on the mantle of King, so he banishes the boy to Midgard (aka Earth) to learn humility.
The stuff on Earth is the best part of the movie for me. Natalie Portman is a scientist who stumbles across Thor (who is conveniently wearing Earth appropriate garb) and she becomes convinced that, yes, he is THAT Thor. There’s also a fun sequence with Agent Coulson (the SHIELD guy from the Iron Man films).
But the real story, plotwise anyway, happens on Asgard. There’s a lot of scheming and betrayal and angst and Odinsleep. Who’s the real bad guy? What’s his plan? Will Thor ever get that awesome hammer back?
Of course he will. But after the engaging and vaguely realistic Earth scenes, watching Thor throw that hammer around a CG backdrop of a world that doesn’t even try to seem realistic, I was bounced out of the film a little bit. There were some surprises, but everything was tied up in a neat little bow. Or, more accurately, it was precisely NOT tied up in a neat bow in a way that leads, inexorably, to The Avengers in 2012.