By Odin’s beard, let Thor 2 be an improvement

By Kevin McCabe

 

By the time Thor hit the big screen in the spring of 2011, the build-up to an even bigger Avengers release was already in place.  We had been given tasty morsels of semi-sweet chocolate Marvel with The Incredible Hulk and both Iron Man films.  And quickly on the heels of a shirtless Chris Hemsworth, was an equally stripped Chris Evans as Captain America: The First Avenger, to round out the group. I’m sure we will be talking about this collection of films in decades to come as we do now with the original Star Wars trilogy. Let’s just hope they don’t go down the same path that Lucas did and stick some Jar Jar Binks character into a prequel that disappoints all of us.

For now my focus is on Thor, and in my opinion it’s the weakest link in this chain. The out of this world locations, while necessary and in keeping with Stan Lee’s original 1960’s comic book series, were over the top with CGI. I understand the landscape of Asgard is supposed to be fantastical, but it looked like they borrowed building and scenery ideas from every other-worldly movie done in the last 15 years. It was inconsistent, very distracting, and didn’t truly help the story.

 

 

The other major flaw in my opinion was the A-list cast they pulled into the film that did nothing more than add their names to the marquee. With stars like Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Rene Russo as his mythical mother Frigga, and Natalie Portman as the love interest Jane Foster, they had a Yankees-type starting line-up. Sadly, they performed more like the Mets. I see that Hopkins and Portman are already signed up for Thor 2 coming out next year. I pray the new director and writers better use the talent at their disposal.

 

 

Despite these shortcomings though, Thor is still an impressive film. Kenneth Branagh skillfully introduces us to Thor’s half-brother Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston (also signed on for Thor 2). We get to see his character grow and mature into the typical jealous brother. Their relationship fuels the storyline here, and again in The Avengers. And I’m looking forward to watching it fester in the next installment. Hiddleston does a good job of making you loathe him one minute, and then feel sympathy for him the next. He and Hemsworth are a good matchup with nice chemistry, but I wish I could say the same for Portman and Hemsworth.

 

 

We are also briefly exposed to Jeremy Renner’s Avengers character, Hawkeye. As with Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow in Iron Man 2, Hawkeye shows us enough mystery and skill to let the viewer know there’s something bigger in store. However, I would have liked to see a bit more action or back-story here.  Having him perch above the hammer impact site for five minutes of footage just wasn’t enough. We get only a little more history in The Avengers from both these characters. Maybe it’s because they don’t possess actual superpowers or the money to create them, but I think their roles are critical in order to properly balance the team. I know I’m not alone when I say that a separate movie about Hawkeye and Black Widow would be as well received as Thor, if not more so.

 

 

It’s a difficult task to successfully weave together almost a dozen or so key roles into a single storyline. To give each of them enough face time and depth of character so any one of them could support a full story… well that would take hours and hours. We’ve already been fortunate enough to have these six full-length feature films devoted to Stan Lee’s Marvel creations. And there are already plans for at least another four installments. I can’t wait. (And actually, I’m going to see The Avengers again this afternoon.)

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5 thoughts on “By Odin’s beard, let Thor 2 be an improvement

  1. I too am a Mets fan, but I’m a realist when it comes to the Mets and Yankees in the past decade. I just don’t think they got it done. If I had to list the top 10 movies respectively done by Hopkins and Portman, Thor probably wouldn’t be on either list.

    The only reason Jane Foster ‘fell in love’ with Thor was because she saw him half naked. That screams integrity. And I’m never talking about Hemsworth’s body again.

    1. OK Kevin. You being a Mets fan legitimizes your analogy. Remember, A list players (like the Yankees) can underperform (like Scarlett Johansson, if you even consider her A-list), and B-list players can overperform (like Chris Hemsworth, who is about to rocket into super stardom).

      I said right after Thor came out that “in 2 years, Chris Hemsworth will be one of the top leading actors in Hollywood.” We’ll see if that holds up. A year later, he’s already done Avengers and will be almost headlining Snow White and the Huntsman.

      I’ll accept your challenge of listing the top 10 movies of Natalie Portman’s career. List your top 10 and we’ll see if the Buried Cinema crew agrees with your list. I think Thor lands in the top 10.

      Lastly, there is no shame in talking about Hemsworth’s body. We acknowledge that it is amazing and that’s all.

  2. 1) First of all, you’re ugly. That just needed to be said. I’m sorry that I had to be the one to say it, but it needed to be done.

    2) You comparing this cast to the Yankees and the Mets? Are you seriously trying to pick a fight with me here? First of all, the Mets have a better record than the Yankees. And if that was your point, you’re right. This cast was amazing and did a fantastic job. If I were to go by the script alone, I would not have believed there was any reason that Jane Foster would love Thor. But because it was Natalie Portman playing the part, and because she did such a fantastic job, I believe that they fell in love. Was there chemistry? Absolutely yes.

    3) I sort of agree with you that the out of world locations were a bit strange and very different from the rest of the Marvel movies, but Kenneth Branaugh manages to make them work. He is an excellent director and he can make even the amazing seem normal. Also, as an add-on to point #2, he gets the most out of his actors. See: Any other Kenneth Branaugh movie. Also see our podcast on As You Like It.

    I want to say more, but I’m not sure if your article should be dignified by more commentary. Needless to say, I disagree with your assessment of this movie and I think you need to talk more about shirtless Chris Hemsworth.

    That is all.

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