A Fresh Perspective on Thor

I’m going even deeper into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or is that just sideways?) as my journey through the first five movies of the MCU continues. With three movies done, I’m onto the last two, and the first of that two is the one with the Norse god of thunder. Fourth stop, Thor.

Unlike Iron Man 2, Thor received universal acclaim from critics, so I can’t say it’s underrated like last time. What I can say, however, is that Thor defiantly deserves the praise that it’s been given. From start to finish, it’s really very good. And I mean Iron Man good, not The Incredible Hulk good. Sorry, Hulky.

First things first: the acting. Chris Hemsworth isn’t quite as good as Robert Downey Jr at playing the arrogant superhero (but then, who is?) but he still does a great job as Thor, nailing every aspect of the Norse god of thunder. Natalie Portman is stellar as Jane Foster. Anthony Hopkins is pretty good as Odin. Idris Elba makes the most of his limited screen-time as Heimdall.

But the star of the movie isn’t any of these people (in my opinion, anyway). It’s Tom Hiddleston, playing Loki. Loki is quite a complicated character and I imagine he’s pretty hard to play, but Hiddleston is excellent throughout. I have to point out the ‘TELL ME!’ scene, which shows how good an actor he really is. If you haven’t watched Thor and you’re not convinced, go search ‘Thor tell me’ on YouTube. Seriously, do. And while you’re at it, look at the trailers for Avengers, just because you can.

In the previous three ‘Fresh Perspectives’, I haven’t mentioned the director once, and since the director of Thor is pretty notorious, I thought I ought to mention him. ‘Him’ being Kenneth Branagh. Branagh often directs Shakespeare films, and he was selling Thor as a sort of modern Shakespeare story in pre-publicity. While it’s not full-on Shakespeare, you can see what he’s talking about, and Branagh puts a distinctive stamp on the film, which is pretty rare for  a Marvel movie. Sadly, he won’t be back for Thor 2. Let’s hope Alan Taylor (who’s going to direct the sequel) has picked up a few tips from Branagh. And that he doesn’t actually adapt a Shakespeare play for the story.

If there’s a fault in Thor, it’s the fact that it feels quite small-scale. Yes, we go to Asgard and Jotunheim (realm of the Frost Giants) but there’s not really a sense of urgency that there is in other movies where the world is at stake. And when we go to Earth, the action is confined to a small town in New Mexico, and the SHIELD headquarters in the middle of nowhere. Even The Incredible Hulk had a big finale in New York. (Sorry again, Hulk. I liked your movie, but not that much)

That’s only a small nitpick, though, and the rest of Thor is impeccable, from the acting to the script. And besides, we’ll get plenty of Thor-in-the-city (now THAT is a spin-off title) in Avengers Assemble. But I’d still like Thor 2 to go to somewhere else on Earth, or failing that, another realm or two. From the signs we’ve been getting, we’ll probably see a couple of new realms in the sequel, which is good news.

And finally, to the post-credits scene. Which is really quite exciting. Not only do we see Nick Fury again, but we see that Loki has returned! Now, how on Earth (or Asgard) does he get out of that wormhole? And how does Thor get back to Earth. I have just three words. Damn you, Marvel!

There’s just one stop left before Avengers Assemble, and that stop involves a super-soldier, a shield, and massive robots punching each other in the face. I made that last one up, thankfully.

Last stop, ‘A Fresh Perspective on Captain America: The First Avenger coming next Wednesday.