Years from now, when students at film school wish to study the process of turning a macho movie into a chick flick, Kenneth Branagh’s Thor will feature in the top 10 list to review. For those of you wondering who Kenneth Branagh is, he’s the same chap who played Major-General Henning von Tresco in the award winning Valkyrie and has Shakespearean adaptations such as Hamlet and Henry V to his credit.
So what went wrong with the adaptation of Marvel’s version of the hammer-wielding ‘Alien/ God’? Shoddy story-telling for most part, and a sappy love story that has neither beginning, middle nor depth.
Born in the cosmic realm of Asgard, Thor (Hemsworth) and his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) covet their father, Odin’s (Hopkins) throne through different attitudes. Thor, whom we know on Earth as the god of thunder is the arrogant one, while Loki’s more of a cunning and calculating miscreant. When Thor’s ego-maniacal actions reignite an ancient war with the Frost Giants of Jotunheim, his father strips him of his power and position, and banishes him to earth. Here, he gets into a spot of trouble with the FBI division, SHIELD (Iron Man, anyone?) meets astrophysicist, Jane (Portman) and fights to protect rather than destroy, proving himself worthy to become the King of Asgard.
It’s a great concept with awesome characters. But where did it go awry? Somewhere after the intermission the story-telling went for a toss as the action sequences interspersed with sappy romance. Seriously, there’s actually a scene when our hero gets knocked into the air, quite severely too, by a fire-spewing robot and Jane runs towards him in slow motion, emulating a 12-year-old girl whose hamster has been tossed by the class bully. I’m sorry, were you aiming at catching him, Miss 5-feet-nothing-astrophysicist? This isn’t a Bollywood movie, but plays out like one towards the end. The only Hollywood-worthy trait is the end which is left open-ended in case they want to make a sequel.
Australian actor, Chris Hemsworth is bulky, blond and believable as Thor, as your girlfriend might have already told you. Portman’s just too covered up to distract us from the lack of depth in her character. She’s still a good actress, but if you watch this movie hoping to see an Oscar-winning master at play, you’re going to leave the theatre crying.
Thor is a great concept, worthy to be a marvelous superhero movie. But in the end, it’s reduced to nothing more than a dumbed down version of the original that’ll make girlfriends swoon and leave fantasy and sci-fi cohorts disillusioned.