RANT: What happens when the studios offer so many versions of a film? Not only has Paramount released Thor for normal theatrical 2D viewing, but also released the film in Real D 3D and IMAX 3D. Are the studios offering enough choices that appeal to all audiences and their wallets, or simply deluding and desensitizing the masses?
SYNOPSIS: Powerful but arrogant Norse thunder god warrior Thor is banished to Earth from Asgard by the AllFather Odin, forced to learn humility as a mortal.
Kenneth Branagh, no stranger to classical tales in front and behind the camera, takes on one of the strongest and mythical characters in the Marvel Comics canon. Hulk may be the strongest when the green goliath is engaged, and Captain America may be the conscience and heart of the Marvel universe, but Thor is the regal mix of the two.
Based on a story crafted by Mark Protosevich and J. Michael Straczynski, a screenplay written by Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz and Don Payne from the Marvel Comics source material from Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby, Branagh brings to life the Mjölnir hammer-wielding Asgardian thunder god Thor. Part original origin, part modern reclaiming of the hammer, Thor has a something for every fan and newcomers alike.
Chris Hemsworth (Star Trek reboot) bulks up to embody the arrogant young god Thor. Banished from the realm of Asgard by his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins), Thor is striped of his powers and sent through a wormhole to New Mexico, USA, Earth. Found by Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), Thor must find his destiny in order to regain his powers and favor from Odin. Along the way, Thor's brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) looks to destroy the inhabitants of the planet and SHIELD director Nick Fury and agent Coulson try to determine the secret of the Mjölnir hammer fused to the New Mexico desert landscape.
Marvel Studios Films Thor brings to life the most important aspects of the Norse thunder god. Gone are Dr. Donald Blake and his walking stick, which when struck to the ground transforms the doctor into Thor. In the 1960s, Blake was perfect as the weakling foil to the nigh-powerful god. In the 21st century, audiences can adjust to a more rich mythical Asgardian origin story.
A perfect mix of a mythical other-realm fantasy and a earth bound Arthurian coming of age drama, Branagh brings us a difficult tale to show on the silver screen. How does one present Asgard? How will the Rainbow Bridge translate to film? The makers of Thor give us a kingdom worthy of of Middle Earth, steeped in magic and gold. In stark contrast, the New Mexico desert paints the somber sandy setting fit for a banished pre-king and god of Asgard.
Chris Hemsworth as Thor is perfectly arrogant as a brash spoiled reckless prince of the realm and decidedly filled with regret and loss once in exile on Earth - all the emotion seering into us from his piercing blue eyes. And while Natalie Portman as Jane Foster is similarly driven in her pursuits of science, along with her colleagues Darcy (Kat Dennings) and Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård), her chemistry is more felt from Thor's heart. Joining Thor in his pre-exile escapades are Ray Steven as the younger LOTR Gimly-esque Volstagg, Josh Dallas as the swashbuckling Princess Bride clone Fandral, Jaimie Alexander as the severe but gorgeous warrior Lady Sif, and Tadanobu Asano as Hogun. Tim Hiddleston as Loki is picture perfect, feigning innocence and compassion while he plots much magical mischief against his brother Thor and his father, Odin.
Thor is not the typical super hero film fare. Branagh brings a dramatic shakespearean tragic feel to the realm of Asgard and its neo-norse robed inhabitants. Back on Earth, Thor must endure an exiled existence where he is not worthy to pull the proverbial sword from the stone, namely the Mjölnir hammer from the New Mexico rock bed where it is fused. The feel of the film is alternately filled with levity, drama, action and heart. Some may not be able to rectify the stark (not an Iron Man reference, I assure you) contrast between Thor's time in Asgard and on Earth, but every swing and throw of his hammer against the Destroyer, a legion of Frost Giants, or against his traitorous brother did bring the thunder and lightning for me!
As with every Marvel superhero flick of recent age, stay to the end of the credits for another easter egg for hints for upcoming films. And unless you are a 3D nut, you can pass the 3D in favor of the 2D screening.