So Thor: Ragnarok is coming out in a couple of weeks so I thought I'd give the other two Thor-centric movies another shot. I don't remember them too favourably, but I'm a fan boy, so watch them I shall.
I'm trying something a little different with a segment I'm going to start writing called "A Fanboy Reflects." In these articles, I'm going to give my impressions of the movies as they stand before watching them, then watching it, and seeing if my opinions change or not.
Welcome to my review of Thor. By the way, 100% spoilers follow.
Before the Rewatch
My initial impressions of both Thor movies are not favourable. I find the concept of a Norse God in such a technology-based superhero universe a little out of left field, and I find the dialogue to be a little too corny.
The original Thor is directed by Kenneth Branagh, a fantastic actor and competent director. But, he is a classical actor, often appearing in Shakespeare plays and adaptations. From what I remember, I remember thinking that about the original Thor movie. "Shakespeare done badly."
The corny and overuse of flashy words pulled me right out of it, and sometimes the plot and delivery were just laughable, especially from Chris Hemsworth trying to pull it off. The man definitely has the physique, but not the acting chops for such a serious approach to the character.
I don't think it's a stain on the wider cinematic universe, but it is definitely in the weaker corner of it.
The 1st Act
So the first thirty minutes of the film are where my problem with the dialogue definitely stems from. Not only is it "hammy" and overwritten, but they definitely over-rely on expositional sequences rather than actually showing events to tell their story.
I feel very little connection between the two central brothers of Thor and Loki, and almost feel that we could spend a lot more time with them growing up.
The fight in Yodenheim is a good-watch though.
"I Give You My Word... I Will Return..."
So my main issue with this film so far is actually that the pacing grinds to a halt the moment Thor gets to Earth, and doesn't pick up until we get to the final battle with Metal-Man (didn't hear the name, can't be asked to look it up).
The middle portion is just a large amount of treading water to get to the reveal that Loki betrayed Thor, which would be ok if it was a reveal to everyone, and not just Thor. Because we as an audience know pretty much that he will turn bad, it rips the suspense out of it.
So what were my overall impressions of Thor?
The dialogue, whilst hammy, overwritten and cheesy, serves a purpose. It gives the Asgardian's a lofty sense of superiority that isn't too heavy and making them difficult to relate to, and for that it works. However, the dialogue, especially when Loki twigs he's a frost giant, does go overboard on the cheese quite considerably.
Loki is hands-down the best thing about this movie. Tom Hiddleston is superb in this role, giving the character a depth that the script does not just from the way he carries himself. However, his turn to being the main villain is so over-telegraphed that it is no surprise at all when he starts to hate everyone. Also, the fact that he's half (or full?) Frost Giant (from memory) is never brought up again in the wider MCU, and doesn't give him any particular edge over the heroes.
The White Walkers... sorry, Frost Giants, are the most paper-thin source of antagonism I have ever seen, even by the MCU's standards. They have little motivation, other than "let's destroy the Asgardians, just because," and whilst they have a couple of good throw downs at the beginning and the end, they just don't pose any threat, which is always a problem when you introduce a villain that has been defeated before, and don't give them anything new. I know they're not the main focus of the film by any standards, but they could've done with a little more depth outside of Loki turning blue.
"This drink, I like it... Another!"
But from the antagonist to the protagonists. What do I think of Thor as a character? Honestly, in this film, I don't like him. He's, quite frankly, a self-obsessed dick throughout a large portion of the film, especially in Asgard. I know the point of the film is him learning to be worthy, but when your central protagonist is an obnoxious, self-centred brute with little redeeming quality, it's difficult to be invested in him. The writers do make an attempt at making him charmingly likable with a few jokes and quippy one-liners but, personally, they didn't stick the landing.
Jane Foster is also a character there just so they can have Natalie Portman be a love interest and, to be honest, she snoozes her way through this role a little. Her little group serve as a good way in for S.H.I.E.L.D. (who show up, cuz MCU), and Kat Dennings gives some good moments of comedy, mispronouncing the name of the hammer and stuff (an obvious joke that is still funny).
This film also serves as an introduction to Hawkeye of all people. Who shows up for five minutes, grabs a bow, threatens to shoot, and then doesn't, rendering him a completely pointless inclusion. To people who aren't clued in on the comics, he must seem like a really strange inclusion, a regular S.H.I.E.L.D. grunt who appears out of nowhere and chooses a bow over a gun, but hey, he came into his own later.
I sound like I'm complaining a lot, but I do find enjoyment in this film. The action is well shot and Asgard is a beautifully structured location, even if both action and location are a bit reliant on CGI, which in some cases has dated a little bit, but I try not to hold that against films too much. Hemsworth, Hiddleston, and Hopkins are good in their roles, and Hemsworth especially comes into his own towards the end of the film.
Do I still think it's one of the weaker corners of the MCU? Yes. There are much better films in this canon out there. But, do I think it's not worth watching? No. Like I said, it's fun. It's what I like to call a "noise movie." Something you have on in the background whilst your doing other things like cooking or studying or, in my case, writing reviews when you should be studying.
So Thor? Have you seen it? Have you re-watched it recently?