Movie Reviews: Thor

I’d actually given up writing reviews for movies, since I really don’t go to see that many in the theater.  But I made that decision back during the fall of last year, when nothing came out, so I figure I could try my hand at doing some more reviews now that the Summer blockbuster season is starting, which is when I go to see movies the most.  It also doesn’t help that I have my reviews scheduled several weeks in advance, and I don’t like posting more than one review per day.  And since I can’t really plan exactly when I’ll be going to the movies (more like I don’t plan, I suppose I totally could plan when to go) I don’t like writing these because they break my schedule.  But since I already have a double Toriko anime review planned for next week, I might as well reschedule my Blue Exorcist review to make it a double review on Monday, when I would normally review Beelzebub.

Be warned that there will be some minor spoilers in this review, so be careful.

When I saw the first previews I thought this movie looked goofy, but would be worth a shot.  What I got out of that shot was a movie that was enjoyable, and fun to watch, and was overall a satisfying experience, but had a few flaws that keep it from being really good.

That being said, I’ll start with the good stuff.  I think Chris Hemsworth did a good job portraying Thor, I can’t really say how close he was to the source material, since I never read the comics, but he was the main reason the beginning of the movie was so much fun.  The best part of the movie is easily the parts midway through the movie where Thor is spouting lines like, “You cannot face the might of Thor!” right before being tranquilized.  And I guess it didn’t hurt that the movie got their shirtless moment in for the ladies.

Maybe I’ve been spoiled by superhero movies like The Dark Knight, but the plot felt incomplete.  As we approached the climax I couldn’t help but think that something was missing.  I can’t say what exactly that was, but in the end it felt like not enough time had passed for how the movie ended.

And yes, now we get into the flaws, because that’s more fun to read about than what the movie did right.

The biggest flaw was that Loki’s character was all over the place.  For most of the movie it felt like he was playing the role of the antagonist just because he’s meant to be the antagonist.  When he ascends the throne everyone reacts like this is some terrible event, which it is, because the plot demands it.  But as far as Loki is concerned, he has given the viewers no concrete reason as to why him becoming king would be a bad thing.  Other than one guy suggesting that Loki was responsible for Frost Giants breaking into Asgard, because he knows magic and a magician could have done it.  Seriously?  That’s your reasoning?  And worse yet people believe him!  But that isn’t even the worst of it!  The worst part is that it happens for no understandable reason!  Sure we get a suggestion of a reason that he’s bitter because Odin lied to him all his life, but his misdeeds extended beyond learning the truth about his birth.  So if he’s evil because he was lied to, then why was he evil before that?  And it doesn’t help that he’s meant to still be understood as being sympathetic.  Either he’s a tragic character, or he’s the villain because the writers say so.  Overall, a confusing character and not in any good way.

This is the biggest problem with the movie.  I was trying to keep up with the plot, but because the pot was driven by Loki’s actions, which were themselves dictated by the plot, I felt like I was trapped in M.C. Escher’s nightmare.

In itself the unsatisfying plot can also be linked back to lack of time.  I honestly think the movie would have benefited from another half hour to let things develop, but this would have been impossible since Loki already destroyed any chance of the plot actually making sense.  But there was an aspect of the movie that wasn’t connected to Loki, and that could have used the extra time.  And possibly some actual chemistry.  I am of course talking about: The Romance.

To be fair, I don’t really think time would have salvaged this romance.  It was boring and predictable.  I didn’t particularly care about the female lead, who was just your basic independent woman.  Movies need to understand that romance for the sake of romance is worse than no romance at all.  And if there is a connection to the plot, such as, Thor learning to love humanity because of the love of one woman, then show them actually falling in love!  Don’t just tag on the romance like an after thought.  It needs to actually be an important part of the story and character development, or it needs to get the hell out of my movie.

Perhaps I’m spoiled, after all I read a lot of shonen manga, where romance gets very little focus.  But it is shonen manga that actually knows how to develop a romance properly.  Odd, I know, but it’s true.  The focus is on developing friendship/teamwork or whatever between characters.  They develop real chemistry and are enjoyable to read about, whether or not they are romantically involved or not.  And at one point the thought enters your mind as you read, “Yeah, I could see these two working as a romantic couple.”  And lo and behold, you have become a shipper.  The thing is that you were made to care about the relationship because it was properly developed.  And if you’re anything like the average shipper, you care a lot!  To the point where you will defend your ship, whether it’s actually canon or not.  Because you care.

Nobody will care about the romance in Thor because the romance does not have any sincerity to it.  It’s there because it’s meant to be there, just like Loki was the bad guy because he was meant to be.  I guess in the end that is the true flaw of this movie.  Everything is because it is meant to be.  Characters do because they are meant to, characters are because they are meant to.  Characters just exist simply for the sake of existing.  Nothing happens organically, it’s an example of a fully planned story going horribly wrong.  The characters just don’t spring out from the screen, even if you did see it in 3D (and if ticket sales are any indication, nobody did that). 

Overall this movie was entertaining, and I did enjoy it, but I would recommend waiting until it makes its way into a dollar theater near you, or renting it.  I wouldn’t pay full price, unless you really, really like paying full price.  Don’t get me wrong, I still think you should go see it, but I can’t recommend it as the greatest movie ever.  It is adequate, but only just.  You’ll be entertained, unless you’re the kind that picks at the inconsistencies in a movie and then blog about it.

Oh yeah, and the CGI was meh.  It did what it was supposed to, but a lot of it just didn’t wow me.

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