Thursday, May 19, 2011

THOR is MIGHTY Indeed!

Another movie review that I just haven’t typed in yet until now...


I’d mentioned an interest in the film a few times before. A little recap: Despite my now “dislike” of superheroes (due to over-saturation in the film industry for my tastes) I wanted to see THOR on account of its connection to Norse mythology. I think Norse myths are way underused in cinema. Thus, again despite the fact that it’s the Marvel Comics version of the mythos, my starving for those characters and places on screen brought me to the theater.

I’m quite glad, too. If you know me or read a lot of my posts, you’ll know that I usually have a bone or two to pick with something even if I like it. Well, not this time. I loved all of it, as is. I bet there are die-hard Marvel THOR fans out there put off by this or that change and I certainly do sympathize with them. But two factors must be considered:  First, I’m not a Marvel THOR fan. As in, I didn’t know terribly much about their recreation of him. Second, comic book heroes are a special case, in many ways. Their origins and storyline details (unlike original screen characters and novels/stories) are reconfigured, reinvented and tweaked all the time, it seems. Especially when changing the medium from the comic pages to the screen.

That all said, I reiterate: I really liked this one. It had a perfect blend of the preposterous and the plausible. They knew when to make fun of the ridiculous set-up and when to be utterly serious. And those serious times didn’t feel as if they were preachy.  Instead they're integrated nicely into the tale. A good example (which is only a minor spoiler - don’t worry, it’s not going to “ruin” the film) of the bridging of comic book-ness and ‘real science’ comes in the way of a bridge, actually. Perhaps (I hope!) you’re aware of the Norse mythology Rainbow Bridge to Asgard, the home of the gods. Well, this movie has that bridge - but they turned it into science’s infamous “wormhole.” [A tube-like gateway shortcut of sorts across two different and vastly far away regions of space.]  And here, when you go through a wormhole it’s all colorfully zipping by...hence, the Rainbow Bridge!  Makes almost too much sense, doesn’t it? That kind of logic and coolness is jam packed into the film.

I also really liked that Thor didn’t come to Earth with amnesia. As I looked into the original Marvel, it turns out that he did forget his identity until he once again found his hammer. Well, let me tell you, if the film had mucked about with “Who/where am I?” on his part it would have become quickly tiresome. Having the other characters fuss about trying to figure out the deal with him proved much more interesting. Since Thor knew himself the whole time, he’d been all that much cooler and “bad ass.” It left more time for the action and the development of situations. Can’t see that happening if we’d spent half the film trying to get to him being Thor again.

It’s paced well, too. It knows when to “slow down” and have tender moments between characters and when to ram into "mega battles." I also have to hand it to the costumes. No offense to anyone, but some of the outfits in the original comics are just...well, they’re pretty awful. The film version managed to keep what is good about them and enhance that into something fabulous without loosing the integrity of the original designs. In that way, it matches the myth/science match-up prevalent in the flick. That also applies to the set designs for Asgard.

Oh - the legendary Stan Lee has the best cameo!

If you need a good escape into a realm of fantasy that packs a punch, treat yourself to THOR. It’s a heck of a ride... and yes, I want the sequel. (Though having perused through the later escapades of the comics, I suspect that it will rise to a level of silly that will put me off...) But for now, it delivered exactly what I wanted.


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