Marvel Studio’s recent successful run of films now ventures into the world of fantasy and myth with the god of thunder, the mighty Thor.
The Thor movie arrived with a rather demanding expectation riding on it. It had to establish the character with audiences, fit within the same universe as the Iron Man franchise, and do so in an entertaining fashion. Kenneth Branagh delivered on all fronts with a tale of epic scope. The story does exactly what it needed to do by explaining and establishing the world in which Thor comes from and showing his journey that would lead him to become one of Earth’s mightiest heroes. While not having a feeling of being part of a lager universe, it does a good job of balancing itself between two different worlds and yet connects them in a way that makes sense. It’s a nearly air-tight ride from start to finish with a great blend of action and amazing emotional depth.
With great actors such as Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, and Rene Russo the performances are top notch here and match the epic size of the picture. Agent Coulson is back, all to briefly, and is brilliant and fun to see again. But it’s three actors that carry the heaviest weight in the movie and do it well. Chris Hemsworth proves his salt as a leading man with his portrayal of Thor. He brings a certain charm to the character’s arrogant vanity and adventure lust but is also quite genuine with the range on ups and downs Thor experiences through his journey. Tom Hiddleston counters the forwardness of Thor by bringing a quiet intensity to Loki that explodes, in certain moments, with surprising force. And Anthony Hopkins, as old Odin One Eye, is of course absolutely on point. And when the three of them have scenes together, they produce moments of immense dramatic depth as would be expected in any other of Branagh’s sweeping dramas.
The Realm Eternal, Asgard, is simply stunning on film. It’s a real treat to see a fantastical place like that realized in such spectacular fashion. Going along with that, the costumes (of Asgardian descent) look great by not being to outlandish and yet not to Earthly looking. However, a little more pop and/contrast in the colors would have been nice. The Frost Giants are an impressive looking menace. They design of the giants is a more subtle approach than most, which gives them a leaner and more ferocious look. And the Destroyer just looks awesome!