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    Thor Is The New Crocodile Dundee Minus The Knife

     "My son, you are in a movie where your dialogue will be uninspiring. Impress the ladies by taking off your shirt. It's the only hope for Asgard."

    For some reason I feel the need to apologize to my elders. The children of my generation have kind of grown up and are making movies they’ve dreamt about since their adolescence. In that youth, we idolized the endearing tackiness of Flash Gordon. In that youth there was a variety of balance between creative adaptations, like Blade Runner and dark children’s stories, like Labyrinth. Thor makes me wish I was a kid again. Probably not in the way that ‘copy & paste’ sentence is overused in the description of a guilty pleasure. Thor is tacky. Thor is nonsensical. Thor is entertaining.

    This arrogant Norse god ripped out of the pages of a Jack Kirby-inspired script is quite the hunk. I had doubts about Hemsworth, but it turns out this wall of a man fits the bill -- as best he could. “As best he could” -- it sounds like an insult. It sounds demeaning to an actor who actually elevated a script as unsurprising as the fans that would come out and support such a tired piece of work.
    The second act of Thor revolves around Hemsworth's character getting lost in several shirts at the local Banana Republic. You'll be happy to know, he found his way out of one.
    If you’ve never seen, read or heard of Marvel Comics “Thor”, know that he wins. No matter what adversity, or how pompous the ham-handed writing projects this character of being, Thor will inevitably win. Because it would be too risky to have the hero lose in a $150 million dollar film project. Ruins a potential franchise. So you, the viewer, have to sit through a magic-filled version of Crocodile Dundee. Hemsworth is adorable, what with his Shakespearean accent mixed with Phil Hartman’s Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer disposition.

    I will admit, in this age, where depending on computer generated worlds sterilizes any hope of me becoming invested in the lore, Thor’s Asgard was where the movie had weight. The stories of the Warriors Three and Lady Sif seemed abandoned for a more light-hearted romp on Earth.
    Skarsgaard and Dennings' characters assist Portman -- who plays an astrophysist -- in investigating the rarity of strange, attractive men falling from the sky. In an act of military stealth, the group decides to hide in a lab that is almost entirely surrounded by glass. Brilliant.
    While on Earth you’ll find secret law informant agency, S.H.I.E.L.D. an organization that was much better suited lurking in the shadows. Now the agency seems to have no problem setting up a large campsite in the middle of New Mexico. How is it possible that reality on planet Earth is more distorted than that on Asgard?

    The plot takes a bigger nosedive. Let us summarize Thor’s banishment to Earth and eventual moment of clarity. After a blatant act of god-like numb-skullery, Thor is forced to live with us humans for the weekend. He just needed to get a whif of Natalie Portman’s scent to realize life was worth living with humility. I guess it’s also implied that ‘fine pieces of tail’ [because that’s how she’s written] like Portman’s, are worth protecting. Sidenote: I’ll never understand a god that chooses a Natalie Portman, when there’s a perfectly good Kat Dennings standing right next to her.
    Here we see Portman & Dennings stare at a computer screen. You'll be happy to know that the "She's All That" approach of making an attractive woman look unattractive still applies in this movie. Give her some ugly clothes, dress her in muted tones, glasses and VIOLA! Hideous. [Kat Dennings, you don't fool me one bit!]
    While on the topic of the supporting cast, director Kenneth Branagh is the only director suitable to shoot a film such as this. You wouldn’t expect Brett Ratner to reign in Stellan Skarsgaard or Anthony Hopkins would you? It takes a director actors respect to get the performance that’s necessary for the role. The only problem was when the movie turned into Thor Goes To Earth romantic comedy -- the role identity was misplaced. Maybe it was when the story began alluding to the Sword In The Stone, or when Portman was goofily staring at Hemsworth’s eight-pack abs. However, could you blame her?

    Somewhere in Thor there was a story that painted an expensive backdrop to our child-like imaginations. Asgard seemed rich with deep history and turmoil. There were layers to landscapes laced with strong men and women, but only in the palace. The computer generated architecture of Asgard will suffice as a mirror-image of the film’s plot. It gives off the impression of a densely populated universe, but you only see a spotlight on a handful of people. The spotlight is shaky. The colors change every other second to keep the AD/HD audience from looking away.
    The entirely CG world of Asgard is quite breathtaking. Hard to believe some of the best warriors and brilliant thinkers reside here. That is until several shots reveal that most of the landscape is quite vacant. Apparently even Asgard is suffering from some sort of economic downturn. Art imitating life?
    Branagh, as director, is responsible for Thor being the clumsy fish-out-of-water tale it is. However, I don’t fully hold this against him. This past weekend I couldn’t find but four screenings that showed the movie in plain old-fashioned 2D. I got a free pass to see the film in the overly available 3D screens at my theater. Hollywood wants you to see Thor in 3D. They want you to see an empty world with capable actors hollering at tennis balls. Tennis balls that will later be filled in with movie magic. Magic that the movie Thor isn’t trusted in delivering to it’s audience.

    It isn’t all bad. Much like the movies we cherished as children and quietly cringed when revisited as adults, Thor has some special moments. Hopkins as Odin was absolutely worth watching. Odin embodying a ‘strong when he has to be’ god, as opposed to Thor’s ‘strong because he is’ was an interesting parallel. The slapstick camaraderie of the Warriors Three made me remember what I liked about having action figures and fabricating tales of the impossible.

    Though I feel Asgard has issues of reflecting any real civilization, there was still a hell of a lot more life in those segments of the movie, than when the mighty god of thunder crashes to Earth. And in doing so, the plot with it.
    Here we see Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston. A very capable actor, but due to broad writing he serves as one of the most obvious villians in Marvel film canon. Just look at that helmut, that's a villains helmut if I've ever seen one!

    In writing this, I had to parse whether I’d rather spend two-hours in a world obviously generated by ones and zeroes as opposed to supporting what Thor actually turned out to be. I think it’s sad that these were the only options I could think of. Other than not making the movie at all, I can’t see me going back to Thor, let alone inviting others to take the trek with me. Nine-year-old Isaiah, yes. Unfortunately, the young suits at Marvel missed the endearing nature the tacky films and comics procured.

    Stories of this nature needn’t be unintentionally vacuous. And tacky shouldn’t be confused with tactlessness. It is possible to look back on a far-reaching epic tale fondly given it’s many flaws. Sadly, Thor, will not be so fortunate.

    I Give Thor...

    But hey, at least their attractive right?

    The “He Got His, But You Didn’t Get Yours” Award


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