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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thor (spoilers)

As promised, some thoughts on Thor! I'm coming at this from four perspectives: first, that of a person who genuinely enjoys films; second, that of a person interested in paganism and portrayals of pagan stories in the media; third, as a comic book reader; and fourth, as a feminist.

Given that...I actually don't have much to say. SHOCKING I KNOW. Guess I'm still distracted by this.

For perspectives on the pagan aspect, I would direct you to the Wild Hunt's post about the movie, because it includes some interesting links to a variety of reviews, as well as over 60 comments that are actually worth reading. Thor is not in my personal pantheon, I'm not Asatru, and I'm not qualified to comment on the sticky topic of seeing one's gods on the big screen. Bastardized, blasphemied, homaged, or reinterpreted: take your pick.

From a strictly film-goer's point of view, it was a well-made popcorn movie. I can get behind such films; this summer is going to be full of them and I'm looking forward to it (thanks, AMC, for showing me every single action movie trailer worth seeing!). The action was pretty tight, Branagh must've known that there were some ladies and gay men in the audience, because damn that was a long, lingering look at Chris Hemsworth's abs, the CGI portrayal of Asgard was spectacular, and the acting was generally solid, especially from Tom Hiddleston as Loki and Idris Elba as Heimdall.

For the comic book fans--sure, why not. I don't read Thor, but my manfriend is more familiar with the stories associated with Marvel's version of the Thunder God, and he was pretty pleased. I was glad to see the Hawkeye cameo. I like Clint Barton and I like archery, and he's going to be in Avengers, and it was quite a bit neater and more subtle to include him in a small scene rather than attempting to shoehorn in the Incredible Hulk or Iron Man. I thought Jeremy Renner looked pretty great in character.

And the feminism! Well. I have to say I was rather pleased with Jane Foster's character (portrayed by Natalie Portman). She's an astrophysicist who just wants to get her work done, doesn't take kindly to it being lifted by S.H.I.E.L.D., and goes to great lengths to get it back. The role could very, very easily have been strictly love-interest, so props to the writers for fleshing her out substantially. No idiotic costume changes, no running in heels, and the cooing over aforementioned Hemsworth abs seemed, in conjunction with her character as established, refreshingly forthright and straightforward: she's got the hots and she wants to lay it on him. So she does, without sacrificing her interests and career. Sif and Darcy (Kat Dennings' character), however, got some short shrift. Sif came off as the Warriors Three's token lady friend and Thor's line about how Sif was the first warrior maiden was a touch unbelievable, given that the Asgardians are essentially a warrior race. It WAS nice that Sif followed up that line by pointing out that she did all the work. Dennings as Darcy was funny, but that was her sole purpose.

So there you have it: a basically better-than-average summer comic book movie. Cheers to Thor and its crew for delivering the first of the season.

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