A Nerd’s Review of the Marvel Cinematic Universe… Thus Far, Part 4

Up for review this time is Thor, starring Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgard, and Sir Anthony Hopkins. It was directed by the always brilliant Kenneth Branagh.

Thor

It’s been a while since I’ve done this, but I had to wait until Christmas to watch Thor again.  I saw it in the theater, but it had been since last May.  Thankfully, my wife fully embraces my nerdyness, and she bought Thor for me for Christmas.  She would have bought it anyway, since she thinks Chris Hemsworth is the hottest thing walking the earth today.  She even bought it on Blu-Ray so she could she him without his shirt in HD.

I really need to find this guy and whoop him.  Or get him to eat a few dozen Krispy Kreme donuts.  Then he’d get all fat and greasy.

That wouldn’t work.  She likes fat guys.  She did marry me, after all.  So I’ll just whoop him.

Anyway, Hemsworth hating aside, Thor is a solid flick.  Back in November, I said Iron Man is the best Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU) flick.  That said, Thor is a very close second.

A lot of nerds grumbled and raised a stink when Marvel announced they hired Branagh to direct Thor.  How could he make a good movie?  He’s never done a blockbuster action flick.  All he has done is that Shakespearian crap.  Personally, I have enjoyed Branagh’s movies, especially his Hamlet and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  I thought that a guy with his pedigree was a good choice for Thor, because in the classic Thor comics, everyone in Asgard spoke like they were written by Shakespeare.

Kenneth Branagh proved me right.  It didn’t hurt that he filled his cast with extremely talented actors.  Hemsworth, who was previously known as Captain Kirk’s father in J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek, is perfect as Thor.  He’s huge and plays Thor with a gusto, but he also knows when to tone it down and play it serious.  Natalie Portman is always good, and she plays a good down on her luck college student, and she has good chemistry with Kat Dennings, who plays her assistant.  Have you seen Dennings’s sitcom, 2 Broke Girls?  If so, she’s the same character, the resident smart-ass.  Anthony Hopkins is amazing as Odin.  To me, the standout is Tom Hiddleston, who plays Loki, the god of mischief.  He seems to be a nice guy at first, but he has an underlying anger and jealousy that shows through his nice guy act.   He is good at playing the slimy, lying bastard that is Loki.

The movie isn’t without its flaws, though.  When Thor is banished to Earth from Asgard for disobeying Odin, he loses his powers because of his cockiness.  He realizes his faults all too swiftly.  Literally overnight.

A lot of nerds also raged when it was announced that Idris Elba was cast as Heimdall, the gate keeper of the Bifrost bridge, which connects Asgard to the other realms.  You see, Elba is black.  In the comics, Heimdall is white.  Did these nerds not realize that this is the 21st century?  Just because the guy is black, that doesn’t mean he can’t play the character.  In my opinion, he was awesome.  His presence was commanding, and he was a badass.  But, that isn’t a flaw in the movie in my eyes.  I don’t care what color he is, as long as he does justice to the character.  And he does.  It’s like Michael Clark Duncan as Kingpin in Daredevil.  I don’t care that Duncan is black and Kingpin is white in the comics.  He has the size and the voice Kingpin needs.  And Duncan was a bright spot in that crapfest.

It helps to know a little bit of Norse mythology going in, but not anything deep.  Just know that Thor is the god of thunder, Loki is the god of mischief, and Odin is the chief god, and is called the Allfather, and father of Thor and Loki.  Also, know that Earth, or Midgard, is one of nine realms that Odin rules.  That’s about it.

Overall, Thor is a very good and entertaining flick, with a good story, good acting, and good directing.  The sequences in Asgard are amazing, and the fish-out-of-water stuff on Earth is good, as well.

Also, look out for cameos from Thor writer J. Michael Straczynski and Stan “The Man” Lee as rednecks trying to recover Thor’s hammer.

Join me next time when I rant about, rave on, and review Captain America: The First Avenger!

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