Director: Kenneth Branagh
Cast: Anthony Hopkin, Natalie Portman, Chris Hemsworth
The Pursuit of Power Pollutes our Minds
Thor is an epic adventure about Thor, a powerful but arrogant god whose reckless actions trigger a war. As a result, he is stripped of his powers by his father Odin and banished to Earth where he has to learn what it takes to be a good leader.
Like Iron Man, one of the reasons for Thor's success is the three-dimensional and pleasing protagonist that the audience cares about. Thor is not only a mighty warrior with a powerful physique, but also a loyal friend. However, as a prince born to inherit the throne, he is petulant. Because of his impetuosity, shortsightedness, flashes of rage and disrespect, his father deprives him of his powers and exiles him to earth in the hope that he will become more humble and mature. Unlike other superheroes who gain their superpowers when bitten by a genetically altered spider or hit by a gamma blast, Thor becomes a mortal, like us. Owing to the loss of powers and a beauty's love, his heart is softened. Despite the flaw that Thor's personal growth, i.e. the learning of humility, and his interest in Jane Foster are underdeveloped, Thor is still a charismatic character whom the audience aspires to be.
What makes this movie so relatable to me is the breakdown of the family. Speaking of family, Thor is no different from us. He also has to deal with family issues, e.g. sibling rivalry for power and attention, a son's impatience to prove his worth to his father, Loki's hatred for his father, etc. That the pursuit of power pollutes our minds sounds plausible. Several scenes showing the confrontations between the father and the son are emotionally affecting, thanks to Anthony Hopkins, an acting legend, whose nuanced performance as an aging king and a distressed father who is hurt and disappointed by his son is very convincing.
The delicately crafted Marvel universe sets the scene for this epic adventure. Earth, Asgard and Jotunheim are beautifully shot and their unique features are highlighted. For instance, Thor's stay in remote New Mexico symbolizes the fall of the god. While his arrogance and passion are highlighted in his glowing golden world, his unequaled courage contrasts sharply with the scary snowy world. Thanks to the jaw-dropping IMAX 3D images, the convincing set design and the cool costume design, the three distinctly different worlds are brought to life within the same reality. What's more, that science cannot explain everything and Norse mythology is real adds romance to the story.
Albeit not on a par with Spiderman, Thor is a success as a commercial popcorn movie blending together different genres, mythology, action, a character study, romance, family drama, etc.
P.S. Make sure you stick around till after the closing credits!
Reviewed by: Kenji Chan