Sean K. Cureton

Marvel Studios Still Going Strong

In Movie Reviews: 2011 on May 22, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Theatrical Poster

Thor
Directed by Kenneth Branagh
2 1/2 out of 4 stars

Given the fact that Marvel has three big budget movies coming out this summer, and that Jon Favreau has officially said no to doing another Iron Man film, it was important that the first movie they released this summer be good enough that it would make movie goers want to go back to see the others. Luckily for Marvel, Thor is just that good.

Set in a universe with some aspects of Norse mythology thrown in, Thor is essentially a story about the title character’s journey to find his own position in the universe around him in order that he may have both the strength and the wisdom to protect it. Of course, there is also plenty of stunning special effects and fight sequences thrown in along the way, as well as intrigue and betrayal between the characters concerned. But what makes this “superhero movie” stand apart from others made by Marvel over the past 10 years is the fact that it feels like a timeless epic tale of legends. The world of Asgard and the Nine Realms is certainly awe inspiring in its shine and polish, but what makes it really special is how it feels like a genuine society set in a completely different time and culture from our own.

Much of this originality of the universe of Thor, most probably all of it, can be attributed to the expert direction of Kenneth Branagh, whose own experience as both a director and a Shakespearean actor seemed to have influenced his creation of the mythic world found in this film.

It also doesn’t hurt that Branagh found a great group of actors to take on the roles that were needed to make this film as good as it was. From Chris Hemsworth who deftly wielded the hammer of the great Norse God, to Natalie Portman and Stellan Skarsgard who played two of the scientists who find Thor after his arrival to Earth, Branagh was able to cast his film in a way that made all of the roles within it feel genuine and new. Even Anthony Hopkins fit as Odin, despite the fact that many of Hopkins’ recent film appearances have been less than noteworthy.

In conclusion, Thor is a perfect way to start off the summer movie season, as it is both filled with action and timeless themes of courage and justice, and a great continuation of the Marvel universe that was last visited in Iron Man 2. With Thor being released as the first Marvel film for this summer, things look good for the other films Marvel will be releasing later on, and it bodes well for next summer’s long anticipated film adaptation of The Avengers.

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