Friday, May 27, 2011

"Thor" is the stuff of Saturday morning cartoons

Two Stars

“Thor” is kind of a silly film, and it’s a mystery why the director is Kenneth Branagh, the director of mostly Shakespeare movies. Yes, I know, he probably got paid a lot better to direct “Thor” than he did to direct “Titus” or “Hamlet”, but still it’s kind of a perplexing choice. The scenes where Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is in another realm (universe? a friend of mine pointed out that its perplexing. How did anyone miss the realm that seems to be floating right above earth?) Anyway, the good news about this film is that everyone seems to be in the joke. While films like “Spiderman II” seems to take the idea of a superhero seriously, “Thor” seems to laugh at itself at times. The audience I saw it with seemed to be laughing at certain scenes, like when Thor tastes coffee for the first time, throws it down on the floor and says he wants more or when his friends from the other realm show up, all dressed up in their gear in the little New Mexico town Thor showed up in. “Thor” starts out in their own realm where they are at war with ice creatures (I’m not sure if that’s the right term for them). Thor is going to become king in the beginning, but soon makes a mistake by fighting the ice creatures without his father’s permission. I’m not sure if I was supposed to laugh out loud when Thor’s father shows up on the horse, and Thor turns around and goes “Father, we can fight them together!” but come on.

Anyway, of course, on earth, he meets a scientist (of course, the scientist is Natalie Portman), and they end up falling in love. She falls in love with him after he shows her the stars. But things get messy when the evil government comes along and takes away all her files, because the government is trying to figure out about the hammer that Thor left in the ground. No one can seem to pull the hammer from the ground. I don’t really know why the government cares about a hammer no one can pull from the ground. Natalie Portland is probably the most attractive scientist I’ve ever seen (no offend to scientists). She has another scientist with her, who also is very attractive (Kat Dennings) and a guy who is helping them lead their science experiments (Stellan SkarsgĂ„rd) Anyway, Thor crash-lands on earth, after his father banishes him. His father falls into a deep sleep, and his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) takes over. He becomes king, and he betrays his brother and his father by going over to the other side. Anyway, there’s a lot of mythology going on.

There’s a lot of stuff going on. Including betrayals, fights with giant robots sent from the other dimension and so on. The scenes where he is battling in the other dimension felt like a Saturday morning cartoon to me. The film isn’t all bad, and has some laughs. At least we know that even the cast has a sense of humor about this, but the problem is that for those who want a serious superhero movie, “Thor” isn’t really it. The current films, “Spiderman” “The Dark Knight”, "Iron Man" and "Superman Returns", takes the idea of a superhero more seriously. The villain doesn’t really measure up either. We kind of understand why he would go to the dark side, but still he doesn’t really fit the bill. There are way better superheroes and way better villains. “Thor” seems weirdly outdated. He runs around without a shirt on, all strong, with long hair and talking about how he needs to go back to his world to fight.

Going back to the conversation I had with my friend, she said she was annoyed they messed up with the mythology and that mythology is interesting the way it is. I’m no expert on mythology myself. As I said in another review, while I was in college, I just hardly passed Greek and Roman literature. That being said, I hear that Rick Riordan’s bestselling YA book series, “Percy Jackson”, which is about a kid who discovers he is half Greek God and goes on adventures that include mythology probably did a better job of not messing with mythology so much. Though, with today’s fantasy and science fiction, there are plenty of better superheroes out there. The kind of superhero, a strong, shirtless man from another realm has kind of seen its day as far as superheroes go. We love Spiderman, Batman and Superman because let’s face it; they are still kind of insecure. Heck, why can’t Percy Jackson or Harry Potter be considered superheroes these days? That being said, “Thor” is a fun film. The problem is that there are just better superhero movies than “Thor”. Part two of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Harrows”, opens in theaters this summer. Harry Potter takes its fictional tale very seriously, as does Batman and Spiderman and Percy Jackson. Harry’s not really considered a superhero. Though, who’s to say who isn’t one these days?