It seems like an age since I went to the cinema and so yesterday I trekked off to Greenwich to see Thor.
Branagh’s take on the Marvel comic begins with Odin’s defeat of the Frost Giants in a difficult, at times clunky, prologue to the main action held together by the silky smooth tones of Anthony Hopkins. The first act focuses on Thor’s inevitable exile to earth in a none too subtle coming of age story that while providing entertaining spectacle after spectacle is hard to follow due to the continuing poor standard of editing in mainstream Hollywood that puts store by test screenings over the basics of film making. Or perhaps Ken was rusty?
The casting is pretty strong with even Chris Hemsworth* delivering the laughs despite some appalling dialogue. Hopkins is arguably just calling it in during points but I remain an unashamed fan of my countryman and he’s still better on such occasions than most other character actors. Portman is good but criminally under-utilised, as is Tom Hiddleston as Loki fighting valiantly against a C grade script.That said the film is markedly more successful than either of the Hulk films with a great deal to be said for the smattering of character development that I presume Branagh brought to the piece.
The real story is whether Marvel’s chess like positioning of its film titles can actually deliver the super-movie that The Avengers is clearly intended to be..? Like its other properties Thor carries the obligatory Shield short after the end credits, there is a sense of build to this and quite a few references to the other marvel properties throughout the script in a move that really is very unusual for film. If they manage to pull this off it’s likely to be epic but they still need to find a way to get past the smelly corpse of the Hulk franchise.
The film is flawed but with a generous low expectation, and some popcorn, the laughs and the spectacle make for an entertaining hour or so.
* I’m not entirely sure the ladies are there to see Hemsworth’s comic timing. I could be wrong…