Smashy hammer + Norse gods = silliness

As I mentioned a couple nights ago on Twitter and Facebook, userinfospazzkat scored a couple of free tickets to a sneak preview of Thor. So we spent Tuesday night amusing ourselves with that.

Spoiler-free picoreview: fairly silly overall, and not nearly as much substance and gravitas (for such values of ‘gravitas’ as you get in a Marvel superhero flick) as the Iron Man flicks, especially the first one.

And oh god the 3D was a bad idea. If you’re interested in seeing this flick–and it’s a perfectly acceptable even if silly popcorn flick–see it in 2D. The 3D added absolutely nothing and in most of the scenes set in Asgard, it actively distracted from what looked like some otherwise beautiful imagery.

Spoilers behind the cut!

Natalie Portman has been quoted as saying that part of why she wanted to be in this movie was because her character is a scientist, and she was intrigued by the idea of being a role model to young girls who might watch the film. This is a lovely sentiment, except for the part where her character does very little actual, y’know, science. Most of her function in this film is to look admiringly at big blond Chris Hemsworth. Who, let us not mistake, is awfully yummy, but nonetheless it would have been nice to see her have more substance to her role.

And as mentioned, Hemsworth is quite pretty as Thor and Paul and I both bought him in the role completely. He’s NOT a complex character by any stretch of the imagination, and all props to the actor for giving him at least a faint hint of depth, given what little he had to work with.

Ditto for the actor playing Loki. Again, not terribly complex as portrayed in this plot, which is a disservice to Loki as an archetype–although towards the end there is at least one scene where the character did genuinely surprise me. (And since this part is behind a cut, I can actually mention which–Loki’s turning on the Frost Giant assassin and killing him right as he’s about to take out Odin.) Given the flimsy plot he had to work with, Loki’s actor did alright. And, from what little I saw poking around on Wikipedia about the actual Norse myths surrounding Loki, the movie’s handling of his origin story wasn’t entirely off base. So props for that.

Anthony Hopkins as expected was a perfectly suitable Odin, and it actually took me a few to recognize Rene Russo as Frigga, although she was fine too.

Of the secondary Asgardian characters, the one female warrior in Thor’s band of compatriots, Sif, is fun even though she doesn’t seem very close to the actual Norse mythos character of the same name. The other three warriors who hang out with Thor are original to Marvel and aren’t from the mythos at all–which is why I had no idea who they were. They might have been more interesting if I had any background with the comic, but I don’t, and as a consequence they seemed only thinly sketched in to me.

The one secondary Asgardian I really liked was Heimdal, who is again primarily a Marvel invention although he’s loosely based on an actual Norse deity, Heimdallr. He’s played by a black actor, which gave me a moment’s distraction, but only a moment, just because the character is the most awesome of the secondary Asgardians. So that quickly became unimportant.

Hands down the part I liked the best was the callback to Iron Man. 😀 “Is that one of Stark’s?” “Damned if I know, he never tells me anything!”

But I did admittedly also like the Thor Sacrifices Himself Selflessly and then Gets Back His Badass Hammer sequence, and that was the one bit where Natalie’s character’s admiration of him actually worked for me. “Do you normally look like this?” “More or less.” “That’s a good look for you!”

And, even with the annoying 3D, the big smackdown fight between Thor and Loki also worked for me.

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