Film: 'Thor'; Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman; Director: Kenneth Branagh; Rating: *** 1/2
It will go down in history as the most elaborately planned movie franchisee, spanning years and different movies (including sequels) and multiple characters with individual films. And despite knowing that such an extravaganza can be possible only from the marriage of one between Marvel and Hollywood, you continue to marvel at it. The latest marvelous addition to this collection is 'Thor'.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the son of Odin (Anthony Hopkins) a god, grows up to be a warrior too arrogant of his strength to maintain a fragile peace in the kingdom. Seeing his arrogance Odin takes his power and casts him to earth so he can learn to be humble.
Devoid of his power and unable to even move his weapon, a hammer forged from a dying star, he, with the help of a kind scientist Jane (Natalie Portman) learns the value of life and a humility and in the end is ready to sacrifice himself to save his friends.
'Thor' was a dangerous gamble for Marvel. He is not one of the popular characters among the avengers. To dedicate and entire movie, some would have said, was foolhardy. But the film 'Thor' amply illustrates that if the will is right, creativity can indeed be brought to be a good slave.
'Thor' is Hollywood extravaganza at its best. It is expected of a film of this magnitude to have good effects. However, the film understands that the effects have to serve the story and not mask a nonexistent one. To bring out human elements in a story about gods, takes skill.
Also the costumes, set design and magical elements are put up in such a way as to make the clan of gods look like and advanced alien race rather than a magical race of gods. That gives the story a science fiction angle, like the other films in the Avengers' series, 'Iron Man' and 'Hulk', and the upcoming 'Captain America', instead of a mythical, magical dimension that would not have fit in with the others.
Chris Hemsworth has gained more than few pounds for his role as Thor. From his impish arrogance of 'Star Trek' to the magnificent arrogance of a god, he has come a long way both as an actor and as a star.
The film would delight fans of Avengers and Marvel comics with its hidden references. So we see the agent Coulson from SHIELD we first encountered in 'Iron Man'; Samuel L. Jackson makes a unaccredited appearance after the end credits; and there's reference to Tony Stark, Jeremy Rainer in a small cameo is set up to be 'Hawk Eye' in the 'Avengers' and Loki is set up to the arch-enemy for the 'Avengers'.
The Marvel master, Stan Lee too makes an appearance in a funny cameo. Fans should sit through the last credits, for a minute extra that has become an USP of this series.
'Thor' makes a good metaphor against vanity. One should not be too proud to be strong and that wisdom is worth aspiring for. Hope Marvel would have the wisdom to continue with good cinema in the next 'Captain America' and 'Avengers' offerings.