Thor ⭐⭐⭐ ½ Review by Andrea Carnevali
The powerful but arrogant god Thor is cast out of Asgard to live amongst humans in Midgard (Earth), where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders. Available to watch on Disney +
I still remember going to watch this for the first time, back in 2011. I was never really a huge fan of the original comic (but then again who was back then?) and this was a time before Superhero craze we’re living through today, so I went into this not only with the lowest of expectations, but also with pretty much zero knowledge of this Viking-looking superhero.
Maybe because of that I came out pleasantly surprised and I ended up liking it. I actually liked a lot more than I thought I would.
After a decade of dark movie adaptations of comic book heroes (The Dark Knight), slightly preposterous and heavy-handed ones (Watchmen) full of calculated allegories and deep symbolism, it felt actually quite refreshing to find a film that knew exactly its boundaries and never really took itself too seriously: I mean, after all we are talking about Thor!
Unfortunately this lightness has now been taken to extreme levels turning this particular superhero into the parody of itself (the latest sequel Thor: Love and Thunder was really, really bad in my view), but back then, this was just the right amount of self-awareness needed for this type of film and watching it again today, it made me appreciate it even more.
Of course it’s nothing more than a summer blockbuster, film-making by committee, thought up by marketing campaigners and executive producers with big fat cigars, but mercifully director Kenneth Brannagh (yes, really!”) was able to inject it all with enough mischief and fun.
It might reach the heights of the first Iron Man, and it certainly doesn’t have the invention or heart of the first couple of Spiderman movies, but it’s polished, harmless and well made… and plain fun! And while it paves the way for the future films, it also works as a stand-alone adventure and can be easily enjoyed by the casual viewer (my wife, was dreading it and actually she ended up quite enjoying it too).
Hard to imagine that Aussie actor Chris Hemsworth before this was only known by a few for playing in the TV soap Home and Away. He is a massive star today and owes everything to this role which he seemed to be born to play: not only fitted the part perfectly, but somehow he managed to make a potentially dull superhero into a likable and sympathetic character.
Technically, the film still looks pretty impressive, in fact less cartoony than its latest sequel (once again): production design, costumes, photography and special effects are of very high standards, though the same can’t be said about the 3D conversion, which at the time was pretty much a must for these films.
Ironically, despite high calibre actors playing secondary characters, like Anthony Hopkins , Stellan Skarsgård and Natalie Portman the one who came out on top of them all was a relatively little known Tom Hiddleston, who with his “Loki” created not just a fan-favourite character (who spun many film and a tv series), but gained international fame, winning a Golden Globe Award (The Night Manager) and a Laurence Olivier for his stage production of Cymbeline.
Not bad for a silly looking Viking hero nobody really seemed to be asking for.
Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick, and a co-creator of the Chiswick In Film festival.
Thor is available to watch on Disney +
See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali
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