Thor Movie Review: By Odin’s Beard, T’is a Thor-ough Treat!

If you are reading this, then you’re probably a big Thor fan like me. The God of Thunder has hit Philippine cinemas straight from the pages of Marvel Comics. I am an avid follower of Thor for various reasons. But primarily, my fondness for this character is rooted from the fact that I really enjoy reading Norse Mythology in all its forms. Besides, unlike other favorite comics superheroes, the Thunder God’s story is the only one oozing with godly essence. Here’s my take on this year’s Thor movie, directed by Kenneth Branagh with screenplay by Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stenz, and Don Payne and based on the comics story by J. Michael Straczynski and Mark Protosevich.

Thor Movie (2011)

I Hate Spoilers, But Thor Told Me to Write Anyway

If you’re not familiar with Marvel Comics’ resident superhero god, here’s the rundown.For centuries, the realm of Asgard – led by the All-Father Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins) – had waged war against their sworn enemy, the Frost Giants. These monstrous walking popsicles, led by Laufey, wanted to conquer all of the nine realms under the World Tree, also called Yggdrasil. Finally, in 970 A.D., a big battle between the Asgardians and the Frost Giants ensued. Needless to say, the Asgardians (also called Aesir) won the day. As a trophy, Odin seized the Casket of Ancient Winters which provided the power (think of it as the freezer coolant) to the Frost Giants.

Fast forward to the present, all of Asgard was about to witness the ascension of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) as successor to Odin. But this most glorious of days was interrupted by a small band of Frost Giants who had deviously entered the city of the gods to retrieve the Casket. And they almost succeeded in obtaining their target had they not been fried to bits by the Destroyer, an indestructible suit of armor created by Odin himself and intended to be the last line of defense of Asgard.

After the dust had settled, the young arrogant Thunder God wanted to know why and how those Frost Giants were able to sneak into the weapons hall of Asgard. Thor proposed an attack on Jotunheim (home world of the Frost Giants) to show the frosties who’s the boss in all the Nine Realms. But Odin ordered Thor to do no such thing as it could ruin the current truce between Asgard and Jotunheim.

Thor stubbornly disobeyed his father’s orders and went to Jotunheim anyway, accompanied by Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander), Volstagg (Ray Stevenson), Hogun (Tadanobu Asano), Fandral (Joshua Dallas), and Loki (Tom Hiddleston). In Jotunheim, Thor’s party engaged the Frost Giants in a skirmish, which quickly snowballed into a full-blown battle involving six Asgardians against hordes of frost giants. Armed with his hammer Mjolnir, Thor is simply unbeatable. In the last minute, Odin arrived mounted on his eight-legged steed called Sleipnirthe. The All-Father stopped the fight, brought Thor and his company back to Asgard, and ultimately banished Thor to Midgard – that’s Earth. And that, my friends, is where the Thunder God’s – and Earth’s – troubles have begun.

The Bottom Line

The essence of the story is Thor’s human element. Here’s an arrogant, selfish, vain god cast down to Midgard by his own father Odin who wanted to teach his boy a lesson or two. In short, even gods need some spanking. One isn’t born into whatever he wants to do in life. Oftentimes, we have to lift our own hammers and fight for what we believe is ours for the taking – just watch out for government guys and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents!

I must admit, Thor movie has exceeded my expectations. For the past few months, I was worried that my favorite comicbook character’s jump on the big screen will be the cause of his downfall. Also, it didn’t help me a bit to know that director Kenneth Branagh, while he is a great great actor (remember Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets), is best known for his directorial works that focus mainly on Shakespearean plays.

Sure, the way that Asgardians talk to each other would have big similarities to many of the characters in William Shakespeare’s theater pieces, but we’re talking Norse legends here not some cross-eyed lovers or English kings. But after watching Thor movie, I take it all back. All my doubts about Kenneth Branagh’s ability to bring to life one of the most beloved characters in the Marvel Universe are all without substance.

The film was able to seamlessly combine the worlds of gods and mortals into one kickass story. Sir Anthony Hopkins as the All-Father Odin is just phenomenal. Even Hollywood newcomer Chris Hemsworth truly embodies the physical features of the Thunder God and was exceptionally extraordinary as Thor. The supporting cast also delivered. As for Loki, it would seem that Tom Hiddleston was conjured by the gods themselves to play the role. He’s just so convincing.

In terms of visual effects, Thor movie also got everything right. The rendering of the Bifrost bridge was just plain awesome. Plus, the Destroyer armor is truly alive. Costume design is also very impressive. Overall, avid fans will find an instant sense of endearment to this Thor movie adaptation.

On the downside, I think Volstagg was not as huge as he should have been. And I still prefer Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) as nurse or medical doctor rather than an astrophysicist. Also, I can’t help but ask where Balder and Tyr are? Perhaps, we’ll see these characters in the sequel. Yes, shameless as it is, Thor is one of those flicks that I would love to have a sequel.

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