Thursday, 5 May 2011


I am rather ashamed to admit that I had little to no knowledge of Thor when Iron Man 2 came out last summer and featured the end clip of a hammer in the middle of the desert. I remember turning to my cinema buddy at the time and saying "huh?"

I was further shamed when my brother told me that my 5 year old nephew's reaction to the same clip was "THOR!" shouted very excitedly. It turns out that my nephew has quite an extensive knowledge of the marvel heroes, and as such, maybe I should sit down with him for a lesson some time?! It turns out that even without the history lesson, I was actually quite looking forward to seeing Thor. The trailers looked good, it had Natalie Portman who I'm a big fan of and Chris Hemsworth - who made a big impression on me in his 5 minute role in 2009's Star Trek - had been cast as Thor. I was starting to think this could be good.

So it was with great honor that I accepted an invitation to go and see Thor with my two nephews, my brother and my sister in law during my recent trip home. I'd planned to watch it when I came back to Brighton but I couldn't turn down the chance to see it with my young nephew as he's such a huge Thor fan! This also meant I would be present for my youngest nephews first ever 3D cinema experience. So I'm sure you can imagine that I was doubly honored to have been invited to join my family for this treasured moment.

So with 3D glasses on and my nephews fingers in his ears (coz it's just a little too loud for the sensitive hearing of a 5 year old), we sat down as a family to watch the mighty Thor.

The film opens with Thor's (Chris Hemsworth) arrival on Earth. His father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins) has cast him out of the kingdom and his home planet of Asgard, for re-starting a war between Asgard and the ice planet Jotunheim which is the home of the Frost Giants. Upon his arrival he is hit by a car being driven by scientist, Jane (Natalie Portman). He's quickly up and about and searching for his hammer which is the source of his power. Anyone who's seen the end of Iron Man 2 will know that the hammer has been found by the members of S.H.I.E.L.D (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division) and is planted quite soldly in the ground. At the same time we follow Thor's brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who may or may not be trustworthy in his quest to become the new king of Asgard.

I don't know if it's because I was with my family, and in particular my young nephew, who was so excited to see Thor, but I loved it. I found this to be one of the most enjoyable comic book/superhero movies I've seen in a long time. It had the humor that made Iron Man stand out from previous comic book adaptations (as well as a funny reference to Tony Stark), but for me, the human element is what gave Thor its heart. Natalie Portman was so perfectly cast as Jane, continuing the theme of more lighthearted performances which I love seeing her in. She was brilliantly accompanied by Stellan Skarsgaard and Kat Dennings, who I loved in Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist (and who I've been dying to see in another good film since I saw her in Nick and Nora). As much as I praise the humans, the Norse Gods were also perfectly cast. Chris Hemsworth has a star making performance as Thor and if I may also add, is very easy on the eye. Loki is cunningly played by Tom Hiddleston and Anthony Hopkins is imposing yet warm hearted as Odin.

The other thing that really impressed me were the sets and effects used to create the worlds of Asgard and Jotunheim. Both planets looked so real and so different from each other (and different from the New Mexico setting on Earth) that you forgot you were watching a set or a green screen. I particularly loved the Bifröst bridge and the way it was lit. Really stunning. This was a big job for any director to take on, the fact that it was Kenneth Brannagh who took the challenge - someone you would never normally associate with this type of film - makes the end result even more incredible.

I was relieved that the film not only got 2 thumbs up from my nephew but that he loved it so much he also awarded it a score of 20 out of 10. A recommendation I am happy to endorse if you're taking a child to see this epic tale. For the adults, my verdict is an enjoyable, awe inspiring addition to the marvel movies. Thor receives a respectable 8.5 out of 10.

Viewing Date - 1st May 2011
UK Release Date - 27th April 2011

Cast Overview:
Chris Hemsworth ~ Thor
Natalie Portman ~ Jane Foster
Tom Hiddleston ~ Loki
Anthony Hopkins ~ Odin
Stellan Skarsgard ~ Erik Selvig
Kat Dennings ~ Darcy Lewis
Clark Gregg ~ Agent Coulson (S.H.I.E.L.D)
Idris Elba ~ Heimdall
Colm Feore ~ King Laufey
Rene Russo ~ Frigga

Director ~ Kenneth Branagh
Writer(s) ~ Ashley Miller (Screenplay), Zack Stentz (Screenplay), Don Payne (Screenplay), J. Michael Straczynski (Story), Mark Protosevich (Story), Stan Lee (Comic Book), Larry Lieber (Comic Book) & Jack Kirby (Comic Book)