For those who are not big into comics, The Avengers is what happened when Stan Lee decided to create a team of all the greatest superheroes in the Marvel universe. The Avengers have had many members since the first edition back in 1963 with notable members including fan favourites like Captain America, Wolverine, Spider-Man and The Hulk, and lesser known characters like Iron Man, Hawkeye and Thor.
Back in 2005, Marvel Studios had an idea, a 10 year plan with nine films that would revolutionise the comic book movie industry. They wanted to create a movie about The Avengers but to do this they needed a clean slate, meaning reboots to established franchises (ie. The Hulk, Captain America and Spider-Man) and the creation of new franchises for the lesser known characters (ie Iron Man and Thor). These franchises now share the same history, there are cameo’s by different characters in each movie (like Samuel Mother-Fucking Jackson as Nick Fury), each movie has an after-credits scene that hints at what will be in the next movie, and they are all contributing to the fast building anticipation for The Avengers movie.
Last night Nicole, Alaisdair and I went to see Thor, the latest piece in The Avengers puzzle. For those that dont know, the Marvel character Thor, all his brethren, and the frost giants are adapted directly from Norse mythology, with Marvel going to great lengths to explain the existence of Asgard via science (read more about Norse mythology here: http://www.norse-mythology.com/). Thor (played by Aussie Chris Hemsworth) is a hero, a stereotypical hero, the God of Thunder who wields the enchanted hammer Mjolnir. He is young, headstrong, cocky, and supremely confident in his own ability to fix everything through brute force. After re-igniting the war with the frost giants Thor is banished to Earth as a mortal, his powers stripped until he becomes worthy of them once more.
For the ladies… and Alaisdair.
As we have come to expect from Marvel Studios, the audio and soundtrack and visual effects were absolutely stunning. Asgard looked amazing, and I loved the way they brought the Bifrost Bridge to life. Simply amazing. Their outfits were fantastic, the frost giants just looked scary, and the fight scenes were well choreographed.
There wasn’t a great deal to the story but then again this movie wasn’t really about the story. Natalie Portman plays the love interest, and she plays it very well, but in the end were not really all that interested in what’s happening on earth. We want to know what’s happening on Asgard and what is happening with those bloody frost giants. The main purpose of this film to provide the audience with an entertaining history lesson about Thor that will make The Avengers a better movie, and Marvel Studios certainly achieved this. There is a key word here that sums up my whole experience with this movie, and that is entertaining. This movie is so much fun from start to finish, the acting is great, the humour is funny, and as I have already said the visuals are amazing.
I didn’t like the 3D, it was barely noticeable and in the scenes were it was noticeable it was poorly implemented. There was probably 5 minutes worth of good 3D (the credits and the Bifrost transportation) 15 minutes of blurry headache inducing 3D (some of the full on action sequences tried very hard to make me queasy) and 100 minutes worth of me wearing stupid 3D glasses whilst watching a 2D movie. I think Jon Favreau said it best when he mentioned at Comic-Con that “Cowboys & Aliens has been filmed in glorious 2D”. I’m over the whole 3D experience and unless James Cameron is onboard and doing it right like he did in Avatar, I don’t think I will bother with 3D films again if I have the choice.
In summary, Thor has really kicked off the American summer blockbuster season with a bang. Big heroes with cheesy one liners doing big action sequences, its got everything I love about a superhero movie and is going up to #2 on my list for Best Movies of 2011