So, first off a few apologies considering the lateness of this review. Even El Jefe de Santo has to deal with things other than reviewing movies and making his foes tap out every now and then.
Thor! I will be the first to admit that I was probably as excited a nerd of my stature could be for this movie. It came out the same week as my birthday, it featured the God of Thunder and it had Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins. This was bound to be another Marvel classic.
I paroused early reviews with glee seeing that that Tomatometer rating was quite high in the initial days leading up to it's release. It has, since, leveled off with still a very good 78%. Not quite as high as the original Iron Man which ended up at a 94%. Does that mean its not as good as Iron Man? Well, for starters there is no Robert Downey Jr. so that could be considered a strike against it. It does however feature a star-making performance from Chris Hemsworth as the God of Thunder, strong supporting performances from Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba and Tom Hiddleston. Oh and Kenneth flippin' Branagh directed.
That leads me to the first thing to talk about when reviewing a movie such as this. It is the adaptation of a beloved comic property that really could have been botched. Kenneth Branagh, known more for this roles Shakespeare than anything else, did a fantastic job in bringing the realm of Asgard to life. This is fantasy and mythology that had to be presented with not only some bombast but also accessibility. He managed to do both and do so expertly. The scenes in which the three immortals, Odin, Thor and Loki are present actually crackled from their intensity. The Bard shined downed upon Branagh in this instance and he managed to bring real feeling to these scenes. I was almost as impressed with the dialogue and pacing of it than the action sequences.
The action in the movie ranges from "HOLY SHIT!" to "That's pretty good" honestly. There probably could have been one more large action setpiece. The climax could have been a little better but I'm not complaining too much. The scene, in particular, that stands out has to be the Rambo-esque vignette in Jotunheim floored myself and the rest of the audience. Seriously impressive stuff.
That said there were some minor issues. The first was I didn't really that the 3D was present enough to merit paying extra for the ticket. It wasn't cheaply tacked on 3D or anything, but it wasn't exactly as big a part of it as I thought it would be. That's minor, though.
The thing that I found interesting was the scenes involving our actors in the Earthen realm just didn't quite have the same impact as the ones in Asgard. The ones involving Loki, in particular, just didn't quite live up to the dynamic duality that Loki presented within the confines of the more magical realm. Hiddleston is GREAT in this film and I felt his casting was nigh on perfect.
The humanizing of Thor happens a bit fast, but then again there is a lot of ground to cover in a short amount of time. Portman is a delight and brings a gravitas to the film that is great to have. Hopkins chews a lot of scenery in this but man is it some excellent stuff. Elba is strong as the Guardian as well. Hemsworth, with looks that appear to be forged in some sort of furnace in the far away lands of Asgard not only looked the part but brought a godly amount of charm to his role. We've got a big star on our hands, folks.
The overall look of the flim is stunning at times. The first reveal of Asgard nearly took my breath away and the level of CGI-work in the film is top-notch. The Destroyer was, by far, one of the coolest generated elements in the film next to Heimdall's Observatory. That was just phenomenal.
This film wasn't quite as good as Iron Man, but then again I can forgive a lot considering just how hard it can be to bring something like this to the big screen. Thor isn't an easy property to tackle and Branagh and crew did an outstanding job of it.
One last thing. Stay after the credits. You'll be glad you did.