YOU ARE AND OLD MAN AND A FOOL. Served.
I'm sure you guys love it when I ramble about subjects connected the concept of reviewing of a movie only in passing right? Well its happening. Thor is the first in the glut of Marvel movies set to hit our unsuspecting screens over the next couple of years, there's this, Captain America, The Avengers and grosses forthwith allowing, many more to follow. Marvel studios was met mostly with cheer from the fans, because it represented a by the fans, for the fans mantra that comic book die-hards had wanted from the beginning. They were tired of the co-productions, of the watering down and of Ang Lee's Hulk. And Marvel studios represented just that, the prospect of fan service. But here's the thing about fan service. It leads to some spineless, incoherent movies. Movies to where telling a good story is secondary to someone's suit of Armour looking exactly right, where compiling the Avengers universe narrative is more important then doing an individual film justice. Content becomes more valuable then execution, which is the kiss of death to any film. And Thor, which feels like someone said 'Right you've got to have this, this, this and this in it, logic be damned.' Suffers as a consequence.
Objectively, I think comic movies tend to be better when they have a 'fuck what the fans want' policy, and just concentrate on making a great movie, that if is good enough will be accepted by them anyway. Christopher Nolan mixed up a ton of official storyline shit (Two-face's origin story etc.) for his batman movies, but because they were of a high quality, nobody gave a shit. Yet I can't name a loyalist comic book movie that really blew me away. Because they're all like Thor, beautifully realized yet disjointed, segmented and soulless. The First Iron Man avoided this fate solely on the back of Robert Downey Jr's talents, but Marvel's subsequent releases The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2 and now Thor are the most expensive patch-quilts of movies you've ever seen, too many boxes to tick and too little time. Its a shame, because I think there's probably a great movie to be made out of the concept of Thor, but Marvel's got way too many wheels to spin.
Chris Hemsworth, no doubt cast for his bulk rather then his acting talents, is actually a goofily charming presence as Thor, in an 80's Bruce Campbell kind of way. Not necessarily the best of actors, but a winning one. His role is pretty thin, to be honest, but compared to the famous talent elsewhere in this film, you feel Hemsworth is the one doing it least for the pay-check. What's even weirder is Anthony 'doing it for the cash' Hopkins is probably the least guilty offender of this. He commits to his character, and doesn't ham it up in that predictable Hopkins way. No that prize goes to Natalie Portman, who phones it in so blatantly and passively in a year where she's set herself apart so noticeably, its close to shocking. Still her role is nothing more then 'the girl' so I guess who can blame her. Tom Hiddleston is a little hit and miss as bad guy Loki, veering between interesting and hammy. I think Idris Elba's deadpan Heimdal was probably my favorite performance, but this movie simply had way too many characters and too few that make an impact. To be honest I could have done without the Earth stuff entirely, and have it just focus on the pseudo-Shakespearean Asgard drama. It wouldn't have been great, but when this movie stops dead so Agent fucking Colson can turn up for half an hour to remind us that yes in fact, The Avengers is coming out in 2012.
There's a lot to look at in Thor, Asgard looks pretty stunning, and I guess there's a sense of fun to it at least, but it's so ultimately pointless. Particularly when it asks us to buy that Thor and Portman have fallen in undying love in about two days. Ditch half the cast and spend some time making me believe that, instead of showing me a bunch of guys no-one cares about but the die-hards. There's a reason fan-fiction isn't as good as the real thing, it lacks interest in doing anything that isn't easy or obvious, and if Marvel insist on making 200 million pieces of fan-fiction in a world where The Dark Knight exists and expect to be taken seriously, well. Its just going to feel childish.