Cinema Review: Thor Simon Fitzjohn April 21, 2011 Movie Reviews 1 Comment 1903 REVIEWED BY LUMIN This review is for the doubters: for anyone who believes a superhero film with a couple of Norse gods isn’t for them, think again. For Thor is a true blockbuster in the spirit of early superhero films and is reminiscent of the first Superman film. Children and adults alike (and a hell of a lot of women) with be transported to heavenly Valhalla in a film that mixes comedy, visuals, and some fantastic acting, especially from Chris Hemsworth in the eponymous role, Anthony Hopkins as Odin, and Tom Hiddleston as Loki. Though, I must admit, initially I was a bit worried about Thor. I could quite easily see it descending into farce. So I was relieved when I saw it, pleased by the audience reaction (including a round of applause at the end), and even happier when I saw the early reviews which have all raved about the epic. Why am I so relieved? Well, there’s the fact that Anthony Hopkins is my fellow countryman, that fact that I am a sci-fi nerd – but, as a colleague just pointed out, the fact that I fancy the pants off Hemsworth. So I’m going to have a hard job convincing you that I am in earnest when I tell you to rush out and see this film. The truth is, I have closely followed The Hem’s career, predicting great things for the actor from his early days on Home and Away, through to Hollywood roles in Star Trek and A Perfect Getaway. He may be the embodiment of male beauty (those muscles, those blue eyes, that gravelly voice – the wolf whistles from fellow female journos during the film seem to suggest I’m not alone in thinking this) but, actually he is more than this, a fine actor who has more than proved himself in this role. In fact, The Hem and Hopkins display great screen chemistry in their roles of father and son. Odin is looking to pass his throne to his son but Thor is arrogant, impulsive and dooms the kingdom to war with an enemy – cue plenty of deep-voiced postering. As such, Odin banishes his son to earth as punishment while Thor’s treacherous brother, Loki, conspires to steal power for himself. And Thor has quite an ignoble fall to earth, crash landing on the windcreen of scientists Jane and Professor Andrews (Natalie Portman and Skarsgård). There follows plenty of fish-out-of-water comedy as Thor’s mannered speech and god-like temper tantrums don’t go down too well with the bemused humans. Thor storms into a pet shop with cute pups and demands a horse or the largest dog they can find, he stridently professes he is the son of Odin while smashing coffee cups and thrashing out at hospital orderlies. There are also references to other superhero films such as Iron Man. (Thor will soon be returning to the silver screen alongside Iron Man and other Marvel heroes in superhero-fest The Avengers.) However, the best scenes are in the Norse realm of Asgard, which is pure magnificent fantasy. The realm is reminiscent of Krypton in the first Superman film and the costumes are very 80s superhero, with Thor donning a red cape and shoulder pads looking like the love child of Superman and He Man. Plus kids will adore this film. It reminded me of the thrills I experienced when I first saw The Neverending Story as a child – and Thor is also good, clean fun. In fact, I’m surprised at the 12A rating. Yep, Thor gets his hammer out a few times but it is cartoon violence and is clearly designed to appeal to kids. I was expecting cheese galore from the acting but Hopkins is wonderfully understated and, as he once said in an interview, the story of Thor is pretty Shakespearean. Director Kenneth Branagh clearly maximises this conceit. Is there anything bad about it? Well, I obviously wasn’t worried about it but Hemsworth and Portman have zero chemistry. But, thankfully, any romance is demoted in favour of action and comedy. But don’t take my word for it. Yes, I’m biased but even my ever-patient fiance loved it, as did the male critics, proving Thor can appeal to everyone. And wait around after the credits for a surprise treat for sci fi fans – a teaser of sorts for The Avengers with Samuel L Jackson appearing again as Nick Fury. But I’ll leave my final summing up to Portman’s character Jane. “Oh. my. god!” she exclaims when Thor appears before her in full superhero stance. How right she is. Trevor Reznick Thank you for this review. I have to admit I was starting to wonder if I really needed to see Thor but now it looks like I may be in for a good old-fashioned epic.