More than the other Marvel projects Thor has faced a distinct level of scrutiny and skepticism. The balancing act of creating mystical elements and other-worldly settings while remaining grounded enough to fit in with the other stories was sure to be a challenge. Rising above expectations that may have been lowered due to those doubts, Thor delivers a compelling and flat out entertaining ride.
Set to become King of Asgard, Thor is cast down to Earth by his father Odin after proving to be immature, arrogant, and rash. His brother Loki remains and is in line to take over the throne. As a mortal Thor finds himself at a loss for what to do but soon ends up taking a liking to the humans and becomes a protector while at odds with Loki.
The advertising might lead one to believe that Thor is cheesy but it actually takes things quite seriously. There are some genuine laughs particularly as Thor struggles with adapting to Earth. Overall though the stakes are heavy and the film doesn’t stray from that or make light of it. There is a gravity throughout in dealing with all the various conflicts that have been ongoing or arise.
Chris Hemsworth is quite good as Thor carrying with him charisma and vulnerability in a believable performance given the development of the character throughout. Natalie Portman is suitable and charming in the role of scientist Jane Foster who stumbles upon Thor after his arrival. While they have sufficient chemistry, and their interactions are often amusing, the relationship between the two didn’t really have enough time to fully develop.
In all the story was well presented and accessible, while sufficiently setting up threads to be capitalized on in future films including The Avengers. On minor gripe comes with pacing that was slightly inconsistent. The introduction of Asgard dragged a bit while the interactions on Earth were somewhat rushed. That makes those connections to other characters and SHIELD feel paper thin while Thor’s attitude changes are more abrupt than would be ideal.
The cinematography is fantastic and the fight scenes surprisingly thrilling. As far as the 3D, the conversion was done well, and it provides some additional depth which is valuable in scenes on Asgard and on the planet inhabited by the “Frost Giants”. It still probably isn’t worth going out of the way or paying extra for but at least the conversion was a quality one.
Thor is a really fun movie that packs in great action, unique settings and scenery, and an interesting story. Despite some elements that were not completely developed due to time constraints, Marvel has delivered an overly enjoyable standalone film that will transition the character well into The Avengers and then the likely sequel.