Sunday, May 1, 2011

Thor

♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

I never really had an interest in Thor’s story as part of the Marvel Universe and I know hardcore fans would probably grill me alive for voicing this opinion. Blame it on my limited exposure to Marvel through X-Men. Those dudes are mutants, but strip them off their powers and you see a bunch of outcasts easily relatable to each and every bullied nerd out there. Thor, on the other hand, is a god. So how could I actually relate to him? How could you? At least the film tries to reconcile those differences.

Before the opening credits, we are shown the trio of Jane Foster and friends chasing some astronomical storm somewhere in New Mexico and when they finally see it they accidentally hit Thor with their van. What follows are the opening credits and a flashback that serves as a background to the main character’s universe. Here he is presented as the very same god of thunder that the Vikings worshiped eons ago, except that it is further explained how he really is not a god but rather a member of a race similar to humans with a much more advanced civilization hidden somewhere in another galaxy. In short, aliens. They have these mortal enemies who resemble a bunch of fugly orcs with the ability to freeze anything through touch. Iceman would have felt at home. The story revolves around this war between the two races and planet Earth just serves as a detour for Thor’s exile due to his hardheadedness.

His arrogance and the comedy of errors that ensue because of it give the film a much needed comic relief. The problem is that the planet just gets caught up in all these. Once Thor finds a way back to his own realm, you could not care less what happens to him. He is out of the planet. We are out of danger. In fact, it is only in that scene after the closing credits (yes, there is one) where a direct threat is actually posed to Earth. This is my problem with this movie. It is not about a bunch of freaks banding together in a struggle for acceptance. On the contrary, it is about this alien who is forced to visit the planet for a few days and goes back to his own realm after some drama and some fling and goes on with his life. This then again brings you to the question, why should we care about Thor? And perhaps, more importantly, why should he care about us? Let us hope that this gets answered in the Avengers movie. For those who could not wait, you could always hit the books... I mean the comics.

At least Natalie Portman gets to do something light. No obsessing with ballet. No stabbing Winona Ryder's face. Just a lot of giggling like a teenage girl. She comes close to emulating Halle Berry in her post-Oscar Catwoman fiasco but at least here she is just the love interest. If the movie fails, Chris Hemsworth would probably get the bigger bulk of the blame.  Besides, the Oscars is like the Olympics of acting. Once you get a medal, you could afford to chillax. Chris Hemsworth channels Thor's arrogance convincingly, more so with that hammer in hand. He does look like a god especially during the facial close-ups, must be the golden hair and the fierceness of the facial features.

Overall the movie feels incomplete and detached from the rest of the Marvel universe. Shield is shoved down your throat, perhaps as a way to counter this argument. Something just feels wrong. In a way it was like watching a spin-off of Clash of the Titans set in another universe because of the god angle and the mere existence of Asgard. Perhaps that is how it differs from majority of the superhero stories in the Marvel universe. This one is not Earth-centric. And if a movie is not that focused on us, why should we give a damn. Right? Still giving it four clovers for the CGI porn and the uplifting universal message of hope, which serves as every one's battle cry in this movie.

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