Thor serves up a satisfying popcorn flick that is charming at times and visually entrancing, but plays itself very close to the chest without taking any risks and providing compelling emotional stakes.
This Marvel Studios film follows the story of Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Nordic god of Thunder from the realm of Asgard blindly attempts to impress his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins), but in doing so, causes a war, resulting in Thor’s banishment from Asgard to Earth.
Directed by Kenneth Branagh, Thor’s introduction into the MCU is portrayed by Chris Hemsworth; who gives a fairly mediocre performance in his first outing as the titular hero. Thor opens up with a fast paced action sequence and powerful visuals providing us with imposing world-building and captivating family dynamics while simultaneously expanding the MCU to magnificent scale. The sequences that take place on Earth is where the film loses momentum and becomes a slow-burn with little pay-off. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) being the love interest for Thor comes across as awkward and forgettable as she doesn’t really serve a purpose for the narrative except being a romantic link for Thor to care for. The dynamics of Thor, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is what needed more focus so that the last act felt earned.
On a visual note, the film does a great job with Asgard as they displayed the film’s metallic grandeur with a beautiful golden tinge. Locations such as the rainbow bridge are both innovative and stunning that made me wish we stayed in Asgard longer. The Earth sequences are set in New Mexico which is jarring at first as we transition from Asgard to the unpleasant plain-looking Earth location – supposedly this location was chosen for its low taxes in filming.
While the setup is strong and provides insight into the potential of the direction this film could have taken. Thor ultimately results in being a mixed bag that succeeds in entertainment but stumbles in its attempt at achieving compelling emotional stakes.