It’s no secret that I love movie adaptations of comic books, but I’m not one to see any and every superhero flick. Unless the heroes truly appeal to me (such as Superman, Spider-Man, the X-Men, and The Dark Knight), I’m not one to rush out and see every single comic movie that gets made (or remade). There really needs to be some kind of draw, whether that be a fun story (Iron Man) or, more likely, the addition of actors I enjoy (Hulk). With Thor, there really wasn’t too much of a draw on any count. I didn’t know Chris Hemsworth as an actor – although I later realized that he played the role of Captain Kirk’s father in the Star Trek reboot by J.J. Abrams, and I had been so impressed by his performance that I actually looked up his name in the credits… only to forget it entirely by the time Thor came along. I also didn’t have any interest in a story about the God of Thunder and his “magical” hammer. A hammer? It just didn’t appeal. And everyone I knew who saw Thor when it was released had said it was a mostly awful film, including my twelve-year-old nephew, and when a pre-teen says a comic movie is terrible, I believe it to be worse than the worst. So I never really intended to ever watch Thor.
Yet, this year is the release of the Avengers movie, and I knew that the character of Thor was part of that team. I also knew that all of the origin movies regarding those superheroes had been designed to lead right into The Avengers. And when it comes to movies that like, I really do want to have all the information. I hate the idea of missing the little jokes and winks and nudges that will surely be included just because I don’t know the backstories. So I bit the bullet this week and watched Thor under the guise of getting all the facts, and also because I just find Chris Hemsworth kinda darlin’. Interestingly, that’s all it took for me to really enjoy the movie.
Thor is not a good movie, but it’s also not as horrible as I imagined. It’s told in equal measure on two planets, Earth and Thor’s home world of Asgard, with Thor being banished to Earth while a war begins in his homeland. I enjoyed seeing the two arcs play side-by-side and found the stories on Asgard to be much more enjoyable than the ones on Earth. That’s likely because I’m a sucker for special effects and really cool artistry, and the realm of Asgard has that in abundance. It also far greater villains than those in the Earth story, and that goes a long way toward my enjoyment. Still, what I truly loved about the movie was Hemsworth’s performance. He played the entire film with great joy and abandon. Even when Thor was brought low by humility, Hemsworth seemed to have a twinkle in his eye that said, “Look at me! Dude, I’m playing a superhero!” It was like watching a boy with new toys, and I found it utterly charming, making the movie a great lot of fun to watch.
Ultimately, I’m happy to know the story of Thor but I’m more excited to see him take up his place among the Avengers. I’m also thrilled that Hemsworth has been “discovered” by Hollywood now and will get more opportunities to grow his talent. I’m especially excited for his involvement in the remake of Red Dawn, coming later this year. He has taken up the role of Jed, originated by Patrick Swayze, and I honestly can’t think of anyone better suited for it. What Thor has done for me is place a new actor on my radar and prepare me for a much-anticipated project. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a big win!
Oh, and also… that magic hammer is insanely awesome! Who knew?!?
movie stills via IMDB