Should I See Thor?
May 7, 2011

Thor movie poster

I feel like a bad comic book fan this weekend. Everyone’s excited about seeing Thor, the latest big-budget superhero movie, but I’m feeling very ambivalent about it. I have never liked the character much — the exception, Thor: The Mighty Avenger by Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee, was killed young — so the reasons for me to go are weak.

To support more superhero films? They certainly don’t need my help, with three more — X-Men: First Class (June 3), Green Lantern (June 17), and Captain America (July 22) — due this season alone!

To enjoy the movie? Well, nothing I’ve heard about it has excited me much. Natalie Portman’s ok, although I like her friend Kat Dennings much better, but the plot sounds predictable, and I’m not attracted to the visual concepts. Even fans are giving it mixed reviews.

To spend money? I’m not interested in 3-D, since it risks giving me a headache, and I’m very much not interested in the associated upcharge. I am curious to find out how well the movie does over the weekend, with so many people going to see it.

Have you seen it? Did you enjoy it? Is it good enough to entertain someone who isn’t predisposed to love it?

Update: The weekend sales figures are in, and while Thor was number one, its estimated take of $66 million wasn’t outstanding, putting it behind such previous successes as Iron Man and Spider-Man when the opening weekends are compared. Many of those tickets were the higher-priced 3-D versions, which means in number of tickets sold for its first weekend, it did not do as well as previous Marvel movies Fantastic Four, X-Men, or Hulk. In comparison, last weekend’s debut, Fast Five, opened with over $86 million. Additionally, the audience for Thor was 63% male.

18 Responses  
David Welsh writes:  

One of my favorite movie critics, A.O. Scott at the New York Times, said it was basically identical in formula to the Iron Man movies — lots of talent, generally overly serious but with some winks, and very little in the way of liveliness or creative ambition. I know a lot of people liked Iron Man, but it bored me to tears, so that made my decision for me.

Lissa writes:  

I’d recommend seeing it. It has its flaws but they were outshined by how fantastically the Asguardians were cast and acted. Thor as a character was great – much more charming and true to the original than the generic trailers would have you believe, plus theres plenty of humour in the film as well. There was also lots of set-up for The Avengers and little Easter eggs for comic readers. Skip the 3D and you’ll be in for an entertaining watch :)

dave golbitz writes:  

I think “Thor” is fine for what it is, an overly bombastic and CGI-laden superhero romp. It has aspirations of “meaning” and “subtext” (why else would they bring in Kenneth Branagh to direct it), but it’s basically just a big, dumb superhero movie.

It is better than “Iron Man 2,” which isn’t saying much, but, the first “Iron Man” is still the gold standard by which Marvel superhero movies should be judged, and “Thor,” while it tries hard, doesn’t quite match up.

Chris Hemsworth is very good as the fish-out-of-water thunder god who must learn humility, as is Tom Hiddleston as his jealous brother, Loki. And Kat Dennings is pretty funny. But Natalie Portman and especially Anthony Hopkins were wasted.

And I’m not really sure Branagh knows how to direct an action sequence. Not on this scale, anyway. Many of the big action sequences were quite muddled.

Johanna writes:  

I have problems following a lot of action sequences these days — it seems to be part of the expectation that they’re confusing. I thought about bringing up Iron Man myself in my post. I loved that so much that I almost want to never see another superhero film, because nothing will be that good.

If I have time to go to the movies this weekend, I want to see Something Borrowed before I see a “big, dumb superhero movie”. I am glad to hear, Lissa, that there’s a good amount of humor, since I find that necessary to the genre.

Ralf Haring writes:  

The action sequences are few and far between, and they are either a tad muddled or relatively short with a one or two standout moments. Most of the movie is spent pinging back and forth between two different plot threads on Earth and on Asgard.

I think this is probably the most “civilian-friendly” Marvel movie since Iron Man. Lots of the non-comics folks I went with seemed to enjoy it as did the audience in general.

There is definitely quite a bit of humor and the leads all bring a nice amount of charisma to their roles, including (unexpectedly and disproportionate to his screentime) Idris Elba’s Heimdall.

And, of course, if you do see it make sure to stay after the credits. Par for the course with Marvel movies.

caleb writes:  

Hmmm…I’m going to write my thoughts up at some point, but it’s not as “grown-up” a superhero movie as the Iron Man movies. It seemed to me like part of it was missing, like it had a beginning and an end but no middle. I don’t know that it demands to be seen on the big screen though, especially since the 3D sorta makes a lot of it hard to look at. Good cast though.

Kitten writes:  

Though I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it, I will say that the action scenes are fairly straightforward. I also do not like the trend towards confusing fight scenes which are impossible to follow.

Grant writes:  

I had mixed feelings about it. I think it was because this was the first in a batch of new Marvel movies and partly because Brannagh was directing that my expectations were higher than they should have been.

But the fact is this doesn’t look like a Brannagh film. It looks like generic director guys film. That for me was the biggest disappointment, that the only evidence that this is a Brannagh movie is that we see his name in the credits. His films, like em or not, have a wonderful frenetic, bubbly energy to them. His films have an inherant love of “film” and “acting”. Traits that this one is lacking.
And even the credits are kind of bland. Plain white text? Really? The opening credits for HBO’s Game of Thrones is more interesting than roughly half of this movie. A full episode is more entertaining than this ENTIRE movie. I wish Brannagh would have cast this with the actors that he uses in his Shakespeare films. I would have loved to have seen Derek Jacobi or Brian Blessed as Odin. Or Max Von Sydow.

I do have to say that Hemsworth is terrific and endearing. It’s a testament to him that I ended up enjoying the film in spite of so many flaws. Portman, Hopkins and Starsgard are really phoning this one in. The effects were hit and miss. There were lots of missed opportunities. I want to love Marvel movies. Probably more than most because I did grow up with the terrible live action Marvel tv movies of the 70s (all of which I have bootlegs of. I know..I have a problem) so I‘m more appreciative of the fact that we can see these characters on screen with todays technology and see them come alive like we never could or as I often thought we never would. Consequently I tend to cut the new films some slack. This wasn’t as good as the Iron Man movies, wasn’t as good as the first two Spider-Man movies, wasn’t as good as the Ed Norton Hulk movie. But it was better than the FF films, Ghost Rider, Daredevil and Electra.

And there was good stuff. The Hammer effects are awesome and Idris Elba is a lot of fun. The Warriors Three and Sif alone are wooden and boring, but for some reason, when they have a scene with Hemsworth, they all kind of come alive. It’s fast paced and not too long. A lot of the appeal is it’s “oh hey look, it’s Hawkeye! It’s Walt Simonson!” factor. But if that sort of thing is lost on you, if Marvel continuity is lost on you, then that’s one less thing in the films relatively small plus column. In the end, it feels more like a prologue for Avengers than it‘s own movie. I have a feeling that the dark horse Marvel film of the summer will be Xmen: First Class. Ironically, the one that has nothing to do with the Avengers.

Wait for the DVD.

Paul O'Brien writes:  

Don’t bother with the 3D, by all accounts it’s a dodgy conversion. But the film itself is much better than I was expecting. It’s a perfectly entertaining action movie with some good performances.

Ralf Haring writes:  

One thing I’ve read in certain pieces that I agree with is that it feels like a beginning and an end with no middle. Thor’s exile on Earth to gain humility and become worthy just kind of happens without much time being spent on it.

I had to search pretty hard to find a showing to go to that wasn’t in 3D. The largest and nicest theater near me was exclusively showing the 3D version.

david grindle writes:  

without trying to over evaluate the way a film is constucted or cast i can only judge on the enjoyment factor. I loved it, being a comic book fan from the 60,s ,& still am i might be biased but i don,t think they could have done it any better.
roll on the next one

Aaron writes:  

I would recommend it. It’s a very entertaining little film that is well made and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It won’t leave you hungry for more, like the first Iron Man movie did, but I think if you’re looking for a fun day at the movies, I think Thor fits the bill nicely.

Jim Perreault writes:  

I thought it was a fun movie. Nothing deep, but fun action scenes, decent amount of characterization. There was chemistry between Portman and the actor playing Thor ; I think that’s what sold me on the film. I also like how they built up the conflict between Loki and Thor.

My main complaint is that Asgard looked too generic CGI and not Kirby enough for my tastes.

If you’re in the mood for a competently done popcorn flick, I would recommend it.

Ray Tate writes:  

Honestly, you should see Thor.

Like you, I was never that keen on the character–loved the art though, but the aspects comprising the vainglorious Thor in the beginning of the movie mature into the Roger Langridge, Chris Samnee Thor Mighty Avenger at the end of the film, and Thor the Mighty Avengers is the best treatment of Thor ever.

The Warriors Three and Sif are well portrayed. Heimdal is badass. Natalie Portman is extraordinarily engaging as an intelligent Jane Foster–in the comic I thougtht she had the singular ability to faint a lot.

The film has a good sense of humor when Thor is humbled by Odin’s punishment, and Odin played by Sir Anthony Hopkins is utterly fantastic. I wasn’t all that happy with the way Odin was presented in Fear Itself–a borderline senile old man who hates humanity. The Odin I remember, the guardsman of the innocent, is in the Thor movie, and Hopkins really just embodies this role. You cannot see a hint of the actor.

I also liked that Thor is really science fiction. The movie slyly references the idea that the Asgardians are not true deities but highly sophisticated near immortal aliens. I was impressed.


Rob writes:  

Hm. I saw the movie over the weekend with my 10-year-old son. I’d say it was as good as it had to be, but no better.

Like Grant, I was surprised when Kenneth Brannagh’s name showed up in the credits; it didn’t feel like one of his movies while watching it. We also couldn’t figure out the final twist in Loki’s plan–yeah, he’s the master schemer, with plans within plans and secrets hidden behind other secrets, but everything after the scene in Odin’s bedroom feels like it came from a different draft of the script than the one used in the first 3/4 of the movie.

And I’m smacking myself that I didn’t recognize the Hawkeye cameo. (Will and I were asking each other, “Why did he pick a bow instead of a rifle?”) In my defense, it’s been more than a decade since I’ve read an Avengers comic, and isn’t Hawkeye dean anyway? (Or did he get better?)

Rob writes:  

Dead. Not dean. Thought I’d caught all the typos, too….

Steely Dan writes:  

I never understood the appeal of the Thor character. I can’t stand 3D. None of the trailers impressed me in the least.

And yet “Thor” was surprisingly entertaining. Is it good? Meh. But it’s not bad. What it is, though, is extremely charming.

The script is very thin. Like others have written, it feels like there’s a half hour missing from the middle of the film. And there are a couple of plot holes big enough to drive a truck through (this isn’t really a spoiler considering that they’re both going to be in “The Avengers,” but why does Thor tell SHIELD agent Coulson at the end that they’re both on the same side when SHIELD spent the entire film antagonizing Thor and Natalie Portman?)

I was really looking forward to the Asgard scenes, and they’re fine, but it’s the love story and the humor of the earth scenes that were the most fun. Parts of it were laugh out loud funny (in a good way). But I still question why the film was set in New Mexico. I’ve never been to the state, but I hear it’s very pretty. Yet you wouldn’t know it from this film as it presents it as a generic desert setting. Thematically, I think it would have been more interesting to set it in an area of the country that more closely resembled Norway, like maybe Minnesota or someplace cold with a high Norwegian population. Or better yet, set it in Norway.

I know next to nothing about Thor aside from how he is presented in the first two “Ultimates” books (which I really liked), so I have no idea how important the Frost Giants are to his mythos, but I found them to be a really bland villain. Loki was more interesting and more tragic than I expected, but it seems they only scratched the surface with his potential.

In the end, this was essentially just a transitional movie: it continues plot threads begun in “Iron Man 2″ (particularly the SHIELD plot line), and sets up for “The Avengers” (especially the post-credits sequence which I think was the best yet from all the different Avengers films). And really, my primary interest in these films is how they’re creating this branching, non-linear story from otherwise unrelated films and culminates in “The Avengers,” something which really hasn’t been done before. Such obsessive attention to continuity annoys me to no end in the comix, but for some reason here in the film universe (probably because it only a half dozen films and not hundreds of monthly comix) it actually has me excited.

So I recommend it conditionally. Relatively speaking, it’s the weakest of the Avengers films so far (I’d rank them: “Iron Man 2′” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man,” “Thor”), but it fills a narrative role in the six-film “Avengers” cycle and was a lot of fun. I also have a feeling that I’ll like it more on repeat viewings (“The Incredible Hulk” didn’t impress me so much in theaters, but having seen it on DVD twice more since then, I like it a lot–I think “Thor” will have the same effect).

Thor — The Movie » DVDs Worth Watching writes:  

[…] In an attempt to answer my question, Ed was kind enough […]


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