Sunday, May 8, 2011

Summer Comic Movie Update: Thor

I'm convinced now that every comic book movie this summer is going to be varying levels of awful mixed with varying levels of enjoyable. To that end, I'm going see every, single one (that I want to see) and rank them. Thor being the only one out right now, it is definitely the best comic book movie of summer 2011.

#1 - Thor

There were two really good movies in here. All of the palace intrigue in Asgard was a hell of a lot better than "Clash of the Titans." There was a lot of great acting under the scenery eating characterizations. On the other hand, the story of a god who falls to Earth to learn humility is a very promising one. I wish they could have spent more time watching Thor grow. There's a lot of dramatic and comedic potential to that premise.

What we got were two very different movies smashed together. Every time the movie cuts from the realistic portrayal of a small desert town to an over-drawn CG city made of really shiny brass, it's almost laughable. It's like cutting from "Grapes of Wrath" to "Lord of the Rings." It makes no sense.

I think the movie could have been better if it was structured completely different. What if time passed differently on Asgard and Earth? The movie should have started in Asgard to setup the bigger plot and establish that Loki is evil and going to do something horrible. When Thor gets exiled, the movie should stay on Earth, while Thor has to spend years learning humility. He gets a job, he rails Natalie Portman a few times. He keeps up the heroism, but learns to be a normal person. Only then does Loki come after him and the plot can go back to Asgard for a big finale. That way we could get both solid elements, without the awkward back and forth.

Having said that, it was a very enjoyable film. It accomplished exactly what it promised. We got a comic book movie that didn't just feel like an origin story, and it set up Thor's role in the "Avengers" movie. Most importantly, it was a movie whose plot centers on a Hammer, and the resolution hinged on a lot of smashing. I'd call that a success, barely.

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