It’s taken me so long to get this up I bet you all thought that I’d Thor-gotten to write up this review didn’t you…
Sorry please Thor-give me Thor now on I’ll try and hold back of the puns…
So Thor. The latest film to come out of the Marvel Studios, this time directed by Kenneth Branagh, well know for his Shakespeare and (in my view at least) being a generally more serious performer. Certainly not a name that I’d associate with a comic-book film. So it was a great surprise to me when I watched the film just how well it worked.
The story is split over two worlds – New Mexico, Earth and the Asgard city. The Asgard city has been beautifully rendered giving a very futuristic cityscape that feels real and solid, something that could be based on science, whilst at the same time feeling ancient and based on science – it’s really beautiful to look at and the set design/costumes really help give the film additional weight and feeling. The New Mexico set parts of the story contrast well with the gleam of Asgard, showing a dusty run-down town in the middle of the desert, the film seems to be trying to capture the feel of small town Americana and it does this nicely.
I found the story was a good one – cleverly balancing comedy moments with scenes of more drama and tension. The relationships portrayed between the characters seemed strong and believable, there were some really good, exciting action sequences showing that the characters having the powers of Gods and using these. There was also scenes where it was all on a more small scale, looking at the relationship between two brothers and their Father where the film could have easily lost its way, but instead the leads give very highly nuanced performances.
Chris Hemsworth is fantastic playing the lead character – he is big and brash, he plays an arrogance that you would expect to find in a young man having these fantastic powers, but at the same time he doesn’t play this so over the top that you don’t root for him. I found his portrayal making Thor and instantly likeable character – you can see why the accolades of his peers are put upon him, and why others will follow him into the heart of his enemies layers. Tom Hiddleston plays a very layered performance as his brother Loki – this is possibly the more complex part to play due to the two-faced nature of the god of Tricks, but the role is also performed well – you feel for the character as they go through the film, the arc the character is taken on is interesting and at no point does the plan they are working too seem unbelievable. Anthony Hopkins as you’d expect also gives a very strong performance – playing a wise but frail leader of the gods – a man who has made mistakes in the past and tried to make amends for these.
As the film finished I found myself wanting more – I’d really enjoyed the time watching the film and would happy watch a sequel. This is one of the comic book films that manages to hit all the right notes, being light-hearted and serious at the same moment, presenting interesting characters and with the fantasy worlds feeling real and looking fantastic at the same time. Please can we have more like this in the future?