2011-05-06

Thor – Fun Thunders Into Theaters

by Yo Snyder

Thor is kind of a risky character for Marvel to bring to theaters. He
isnt as well known as Spider-Man or even Captain America, hes not a
character one can ground in a lot of reality like Marvel has done with
many of its other super hero films, and although hes one of the
building blocks for The Avengers, theres still that chance that
audiences just wouldnt get him. If that happens, well, then Captain
America and The Avengers are going to have a much tougher go of it.
While its still too early to tell just how audiences will receive him,
at the very least Marvel has crafted a delightful summer film thats
fun, exciting, adventurous, and full of plenty of wow moments to make
it enjoyable to watch regardless of whether or not you know anything
about the god of Thunder.

If nothing else, Thor proves that Chris Hemsworth is a legit
film star. While most may know him from his brief but excellent role as
Captain Kirks dad in the Star Trek reboot, many more should
hear of him after his turn as Thor. Hes pitch perfect as the title
character, which is no easy feat to pull off. However, Hemsworth does it
admirably, embodying Thors physical presence and his emotional
presence as well.  In fact, Thors greatest strength is the
uniformly strong cast. Tom Hiddelston is another stand-out as Thors
scheming brother Loki, and if the little clip after the trailers is a
true hint of things to come, we may be seeing much more of him in the
future. It doesnt hurt that all of these solid actors also happen to
have a pretty good director in Kenneth Branagh, who seems perfectly
suited for handling the more poetic, formal realm of Asgard while
blending in some fun humor here on Earth. Without a steady hand from the
director and some solid, believable performances from the actors, Thor
could have easily been quite ridiculous and cheesy. Despite just a
couple of moments where it is that, this film is a rollicking good time.

As the story progressed, there were a couple of things that really
stood out to me. One was how the movie decided to handle the
supernatural and magical elements of Thors world. For whatever reason,
there seems to be a growing trend in films today to explain away the
supernatural and the magical. Im not sure why movies feel compelled do
this as many people going to the movies are looking for magical
fantasies to escape in. Yet here in Thor, were told that the
Asgardians are not gods, per se, nor are their powers magical; at least
not exactly. The people of Asgard are merely very advanced beings who
have a far greater understanding of the scientific workings of the
universe. What seems like magic to us is really nothing more than
science and technology that we do not yet understand. Thor is not a god,
but a practically immortal being from an advanced race that lives in
another part of the cosmos. Im not sure how Thor purists will handle
these modern (or is it post-modern?) interpretations of the character,
but I certainly found them curious. Im fine accepting the supernatural
and magical in a movie about a comic book character known as the god of
Thunder; no need to make it more realistic with a proper scientific
explanation. If I wanted that, Id watch Nova.

The other thing that stood out came at the end of the movie. Jane
Foster (the always reliable Natalie Portman) and Thor forge a
connection; a remarkably strong one considering how much time they
actually spend together, but lets let that go for the sake of the
storys convenience. When they are eventually separated, were told that
Jane is now searching for Thor. How interesting, I thought. Heres a
character searching for god; or at least a god. Or perhaps youd say
shes just searching for the divine, or supernatural. Or maybe, since
this is a more scientific take on it all, shes just searching for
answers. However you want to put it, shes searching; as are we all. And
truth be told, what you seek can be found. Be it for answers or the
divine, however you want to phrase it, what we all are truly seeking is
that which we were designed for from the very beginning; to know God.
Not a god, The God. Best of all, we want to be found. Jane is separated
from Thor and is searching for a way to reunite with him, well we too
were separated from God by sin, and it was he who sought for a way to
reunite with us. And he found it; through sacrifice, death, and
resurrection. He made a way for us to reconnect with him through his son
Jesus, and he tells us all that we will seek him and find him when we
seek him with all our heart (Jeremiah 29). Yes, God can be found. The
fantastic, the mysterious, the divine, the magical, the knowable, and
the answers we all seek can be found; if we seek in the right place.

However, most of you are more interested in whether or not Thor is worthy of seeing this weekend. Well, Id rate it somewhere below Spider-Man 2 and Iron-Man, but certainly above Incredible Hulk or Iron-Man 2 or definitely Spider-Man 3.
Its a fun, enjoyable spectacle of a film that feels very true to its
comic book roots. Its also one that doesnt ask too much of its
audience, as the best summer movies always do, and if you can not bother
yourself to think too much about some it, Thor is a good time
for all. Oh, and if youre really interested in where all these Marvel
comic book movies are leading, be sure to stay till the end of the
credits, as youll get a nice hint. So although the god of Thunder
doesnt exactly soar to new cinematic heights, he certainly doesnt
embarrass himself, he maintains his dignity, and he promises all in his
attendance a good time. If you dont want the good times of the summer
that got rolling with Fast Five to go away, Thor is just the hero you need.

Guide Rating: 5/7