54. Thor (2011)

Hammer time!

Directed by: Kenneth Branagh
Written by: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman

I had mixed feelings about Thor before I saw it. The posters looked like your typical high concept Hollywood movie and the character of Thor had never struck me as a particularly exciting one (mind you, I’m no nerdy comic book fan) in the sea of more popular characters like Batman, Spiderman, Superman and so on. What made me see it, however, was Kenneth Branagh being signed on as director. With roots in Shakespeare, I thought there was some genius in the studio decision that Branagh would be a good choice to take on a superhero steeped in Nordic mythology. I hope I’m not making too tenuous a link here, but I think Branagh’s appreciation and expertise in texts of old have a great bearing on how successfully Thor turned out to be.

Old fashioned values of courtly romance never went astray either

From the very beginning of the film, Thor sets up a pace of storytelling that is to-the-point, compelling and fantastically engaging. For those who only recognize Thor as a big hulking guy who flies with a hammer, Thor makes you realize that there is actually a great story behind the muscles and long blonde hair. With sibling rivalry and a father who is determined to teach Thor a lesson for being arrogant and war-hungry, Thor’s struggles at home and on planet Earth (to which he is banished to) raise some pretty interesting ideas about what it means to be a hero and how timeless and universal these concepts are, regardless of what planet you’re on.

Thor also takes full advantage of the 3D revolution that has taken over our cinemas, but rather than being another annoying trope of a Hollywood blockbuster, it is hard not to become entranced by the visually spectacular realm of Asgard and the fantastical imagery of the cosmos. Beyond the technical, Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman deliver unannoying performances (as may have been expected), making it look almost too easy to pull off charm and likeable qualities.

If you have been withholding from watching Thor because you think it might be cheesy or annoying or just plain old bad, I recommend leaving your prejudices at home and giving Branagh a chance to wow you with a funny, moving and highly entertaining superhero movie that makes Thor worthy of joining The Avengers (which I am SO FREAKIN EXCITED ABOUT).


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