Marvel Comics has been mining it’s treasure trove of material, at a multi-million dollar level anyway, for over a decade now. It started with their holy grail: The X-Men, the penultimate, be all/end all of superhero flicks, in 2000 and hasn’t
With all of this money spent both behind the camera and in the theater, Marvel and all of the studios, actors, crews, and writers have successfully jump started a genre that was all but dead just a few years ago. (Did YOU see the 1994 version of Fantastic Four? Well no one else did either) Now they can even take comics that seem like horrible ideas, and make excellent movies out of them. Case in point: Thor, a norse god, son of Odin, and just all around reeking of cheese. The brunt of innumerable jokes over the years, Thor and his “magic” hammer burst on to the big screen in Hollywood epic fashion this weekend… kicking off the big summer movie season for 2011.
When I first took Thor seriously was when I realized that Kenneth Branagh was directing it. The Shakespearean actor/writer/director is known more for his 4+ hour depictions of 500 year old plays than an uber-CGI action blockbuster. Then I heard about Natalie Portman and didn’t care how bad it was going to be… cause I’ll sit in a theater seat for 2 hours and watch her drink a Pepsi or something… it doesn’t matter… as long as the camera is on her.
Well I can say I’m extremely happy I was wrong. Thor is a great movie, in the vein of Iron Man (1, not the victim of the writer’s strike that was 2), and nearly as awesome as the immaculate Batman movies from Christopher Nolan (hands-down the best “hero” movies ever made, super or not). Kenneth Branagh hits the nail on the head, pun intended. Thor has everything a superhero movie should, and to tell the God’s (I’ve got a million of ’em) honest truth, I think this is the best Marvel movie yet. As good as the X-Men movies were, I hate Bryan Singer and think he should be banished from Earth, because he did them wronger than wrong.
Thor treads a very fine line between cheesey and cartoony, yet weaves between them like a figure skater.
Thor belongs to a race of beings that live in space, in the city/galaxy (calaxy?) of Asgard, son of Odin and brother to Loki. The movie side-steps the whole “god” issue by telling a backstory where early man worshiped these beings “like gods.”