16 December 2011

Movies: Thor

Thor (2011) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0800369/

Action Adventure Fantasy

Based on the Marvel comic Thor. Any resemblance to Norse mythology is purely cosmetic.  Any resemblance to the Marvel comic I'm unsure of as I didn't read that series.

Hulk's review:
Thor make Odin mad. Odin cast Thor to Earth to teach him lesson. Thor meet earthlings. Loki does bad things. Thor smash.

Thanks, Hulk!

Even though this film is clearly a set-up to the upcoming "The Avengers" film it actually stands well on its own. A nice little Thor on Earth origin story.  Has its humorous moments, action moments, great special effects, decent cast, decent story to follow. I liked it. It wasn't a waste of time.  It's turn-off-the-brain entertainment. Kinda predictable in some ways, but action-y enough too. And I do hold appreciation for Branagh's direction of the film. The guy is good, and he did good with what he had to work with. By that I mean script/production/studio pressures.

If you plan on watching "The Avengers" it is worth it to watch this at some time beforehand, just to have the background. This lightens the load of "The Avengers" having to spell out all the backgrounds of all the heroes, otherwise the first 3/4 of that film would be showing us the origins of all the Avengers team members. As it is they'll probably have to chew up time to introduce a few new ones anyhow.
What is nice about them all (Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk) is there is a bit of planned continuity to keep everything in the same Marvel universe. Unfortunately due to licensing and rights ownership issues a few other Marvel character/franchises are owned by other studios and are rather excluded from that Disney-owned Marvel Universe continuity at this time. Maybe some day if deals are renegotiated or properties bought back or something.

That said, here's where holding opposing opinions at the same time gets fun.  On the stand-alone-as-a-film level I can appreciate that the film is entertaining. But in the context of the glut of comic book adaptations hitting the screens recently this is just another one.
In many ways the Thor film feels like the recent Hulk films, and in some sense like a lot of other comic-book-to-film adaptations. You have the hero of the film, you have the love-interest, you have some large organization trying to suppress/control/destroy, be it government or government arm or whatnot, you have personal crisis and overcoming that crisis to some degree. In some ways its almost the same core script, just change the names of the characters, the costumes, the special effects, minor details. Cap'n 'Merica is in the same boat.  At the same time I see it all fits in the bigger picture leading up to "The Avengers", and appreciate that they are taking this route to get there.

The trend of the major film studios to throw shovelfuls of comic adaptations, reboots, remakes, rehashes, sequel-prequels and rewritten formula scripts at us is fatiguing. Especially when you realize they're all the beginning to look like the same stories redressed. What we as viewers do have to look forward to is it is a game of diminishing returns and some day, when enough diminishing happens, we'll have other trends to look forward to and watch all the studios go through the same motions in some other genre.

So on one hand I enjoyed the film, on the other, it is tiring. But I'll keep subjecting myself to 'em. And they know that. Which makes me part of the problem.

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