Filed under: Features | Tags: Anthony Hopkins, Bestof2011, Chris Hemsworth, Kenneth Brannagh, marvel, Natalie Portman, Thor, Tom Hiddleston
If you’re settling down to watch something this Saturday evening that isn’t the X-Factor Final – then today’s highlight from Gary might just put you in the mood for a certain Asgardian with heavy duty tools at his disposal.
For me Marvel have been producing some of the BEST comic book movies in recent years and 2011 saw two released, Thor and Captain America. I’m a fan of both characters but I think Thor had a more significant impact. Hearing that Kenneth Brannagh was going to be involved as Director filled me with a “What are they thinking?” approach to it…..but gradually I came round to the idea and after seeing the movie….I can’t believe I ever questioned it…..in fact, I’m disappointed that he won’t be returning for the sequel. He managed to pull together a top cast for it, Anthony Hopkins as Odin (GENIUS idea), Natalie Portman as Jane Foster (good call), Tom Hiddleston as Loki (made for it) and Chris Hemsworth as our hero Thor played a blinder throughout as the warrior banished to earth to learn humility. The fact the story for the film had J. Michael Straczynski involved only cemented this as significant addition to the Marvel movie line….all on the way to the impending Avengers release in 2012.
Straczynski’s inspired run on Thor mad sure that he could transfer a feasible plot of Norse Gods crossing into the realms of Earth and for me….that mix had to be right for it to work. More time on Asgard made sure that we got a good feel for how the Gods of Asgard work and how they deal with the dangers outside their own realm. The “die-hard” fans would call into question the casting of Idris Elba as Heimdall…..a Black actor playing a significant character in the Thor universe saw a racist fallout online which was completely unjustified in any realm. In fact, Elba gave one of the strongest performances among the hefty supporting cast.
A steady pace throughout the film, some smart ideas tied in the whole Asgard/Rainbow Bridge/Earth crossing and we were on a winner for the duration. Throw in the usual appearance of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Clark Gregg as SHIELD agent Coulson (or “Son of Coul” as Thor would say) and more fan boy nods than you can shake a Mjolnir at and there’s no real way this could go wrong. For me though, the success of the film rests on Hemsworth as Thor……and as a relative unknown at the time of casting (Outwith Neighbours or playing Kirk’s Dad in Star Trek) he pulled it off….with a strong switch between arrogant Asgardian and humble earthling who sacrifices himself for good.
Overall, I think that’s Marvels strongest approach when it comes to these movies, they manage to make it open enough to the movie-going masses while maintaining the attention of the comic fans. We get a cameo by Stan Lee as you’d expect….and a glimpse at Hawkeye for the true Marvel fan. Then to top the whole thing off, you’ve got the usual end of credits scene which ties into the next big Movie blockbuster on Marvel’s horizon, Captain America. So for me, Thor was well-paced, engaging, fun and everything I’d wanted from a movie about a Norse god on his way to becoming a member of The Avengers.
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