God of thunder? Thor misses and hits a finger.

By Mike Shames
[contributor]

Grade: B-

There’s an abundance of graphic novel/comic book movie adaptions. Thor is the latest, while we still wait for Green Lantern, Captain America and the inevitable Avengers movie.

One thing most movie critics fall into is expecting such adaptions to be movies like The King’s Speech or Paul.

This is the wrong mind set when going into see these kind of movies. Think of them as a comic book, where the pictures move and you don’t have to read speech bubbles. Once you enter this mind set the movies become more enjoyable. Such is the case of Thor.

Thor is a good comic book movie, despite of some minor issues. The story is told in a comic book fashion, starting off with a bang.  A massive space vortex appears in the sky, and poor Thor gets hit by a research vehicle.  Next, we get the back story that leads us to this dramatic and humorous entrance.

This is a classic comic book device that would bring a potential reader to buy it to learn more. What we see next is another classic fall-of-an-arrogant-god-prince story line.

Thor goes against his father’s command, starts a war, and then is banished to Earth to learn patience and humility. On Earth he is hit ― twice ― by astrophysicist Jane Foster (a change from her role in the comic). After some bravado and social adjustments, Thor realizes that he’s human, screwed and stuck.

The plot is full of little jokes and cheesy scenes.  Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is contently ogled by Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and her assistant Darcy, especially when his shirt is off. The dialogue is sharp and well written, with a hint of Shakespeare thrown in for flavour. However, the plot is simple and predictable.

There is some hearty banter between Thor, his brother Loki and their friends. Jane stumbles and fumbles her words like a teenage girl around Thor, unless it’s about her work. The best part of the plot is the concept that Thor presents Jane. In his world there is no separation between magic and science.

As a Sci-fi nerd and a fan of magicians, this was a very interesting concept. To Thor, things that would seem magical are simply the products of technology. Think, if a man from the our time was placed into the Renaissance era, wouldn’t something like a cellphone, iPod or a thermos seem magical?

This also gives Thor some character depth and intelligence. Up to the scene where he explains this idea, he comes off as an arrogant, hammer-swinging, spoiled brat.  It makes for some funny scenes once he arrives on Earth, like demanding a horse or a horse sized dog from a pet store.

The rest of the characters are very forgettable.

Jane is as dimensional as piece of paper, with Darcy, Thor’s friends and the other gods following her example. This was somewhat upsetting in regard to Odin, played by Anthony Hopkins. While his portrayal of Odin was wonderful, the role wasn’t very large and yet he was the most in depth character other then his sons. Even then, the character was flushed out in a rapid fire flash back. Portman wasn’t at her greatest; her character either was a swooning teenager or a bull head scientist.

Darcy is a clueless student assistant who is more of a squeaky third wheel. Anyone else is so forgettable it’s not worth talking about them.

This movie has rode on massive advertising and promises of 3D graphic excellence. Even in 2D, the graphics are awesome. But it did allow us to see the movie for what it really is, rather than be overwhelmed with the 3D technology (also no distracting pain).

The sets are beautiful and the costumes for the gods are amazing. The home of the Gods―Asgard―is a stunning set, with the grandeur, scale and drama of operas; only gods and kings could live there. The costumes are equally elegant, and fairly true to the comic book versions. But some of the fight scenes are shot “in the action” and personally that style annoys me, you can’t really see what’s going on.

The sets add to the epic scale of the fights, as you would expect from a fight amongst gods. And since it wasn’t in 3D, I got to see the movie was a lot of flashy colours and not much else. Last problem with this movie is the blatant advertising of the entire Acura line.

There is one particular scene were a group of government agents are in the desert after something arrives on Earth, it’s basically an ad for all the cars Acura currently makes. I wouldn’t really care about what car they use in a movie like this, but when they shove it into my face like that, it ruins the movie―completely.

Having bashed this movie for the simple predictable plot, poor character development, flashy distractions and insulting in-your-face advertising, I have to say that, yes, it was fun – but as a comic book, not as a movie. I laughed, saw some epic fights, and had to stop my friend from drooling over the shirtless Thor.

For that reason alone, I think guys can get away with dragging their girlfriends to this movie. If anything it’s a fun summer movie that anyone can enjoy, whether in 3D or not. Just don’t expect anything riveting or award worthy.

It’s entertainment, like all comic books/graphic novels.

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