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[Insert MC Hammer Joke]
At this point in time, releasing a Thor movie runs into two giant problems: there needs to be an origin film and we’ve seen those a thousand times before; and this origin story is the kind of high fantasy stuff that makes most moviegoers glaze over.
These two problems then create one giant problem: This film is fucking boring.
But, y’know what? I’m okay with that. Because Kenneth Branagh, in all his understanding of the techniques of archetypal storytelling, did the best he could to make it kick some serious ass.
It honestly seems that, by choosing Branagh to direct, they were for once focusing more on the story than on the shit blowing up. Which is impressive,, because it usually seems to be the reciprocate. Let the noise tell the story, let the plot fill in the gaps; whereas, in Thor, the story is king and the action is ancillary.
The reasoning for this, I’ve gathered, is that this is the latest in a number of origin films. Spiderman, Batman, Superman, Green Lantern later this summer, Captain America later this Summer, Daredevil, Iron Man–you get it.
Thor is late to the party and, as a result, we’ve all seen the fallen hero turned stronger hero story before.
So it has to be really really good to keep our attention at all. Otherwise we’ll lapse into thinking about how awesome Spiderman was as mind trails off and away from the film.
Thor attempts to reach this level of “really good,” but it falls just short–hence the middling reviews of a lot of people.*
* – Walking into the theater, I heard a little boy coming out exclaim “THAT WAS AWESOME DAD!!” Walking out of the theater, I heard a 20-something dude on the phone someone, “That was awful.”
So View Thor Less Like A Film and More Like a Pilot Episode…
Given the move toward focusing less on a single film and focusing more on a franchise, movies with built in fan bases are now looking far into the future and what they can do with the story.
But in order to get you there, you have to start somewhere, as with any television series.
And pilot episodes, against the rest of the series, usually suck. But they set a lot of things up for future episodes/films, and that’s what they’re really there for.
We are here to see Thor stop being a total dickslap and start becoming Thor, the humble protector of humans. Just as we were there to see Spiderman stop being such a pussy. And to see Batman learn how to channel his sociopathy in a helpful way.
With that in mind, then, this film succeeds. It is the pilot episode for both Thor ad infinitum as well as for the Avengers movie coming in 2012.
…and Just Enjoy the 3D.
The 3D in this movie is killer–and worth the ticket price alone of the final credit sequence. I really like 3D when it works on a purely “making things seem fucking huge” level (cf. Up, the dildoes in Jackass3D), and Thor uses this technology like that to a T.
But if you’re looking for swords and things to fly out at you, don’t get the 3D ticket. There’s not much of that stuff going on. And I figure only people studying Freud are really interested in it given that you’re basically pushing a giant phallus into the viewer’s face. But I digress.
So Now Then.
Yea, the movie works on several different levels, and it consciously makes an effort to keep it from being boring, but, at the same time, I couldn’t help but nod off at times.
And I got the feeling that everyone else there felt the same way because most of the theater (save the ones who know to wait til the end of the credits on Marvel movies–you get rewarded, don’t worry) rushed out and were trying their best to immediately get on with their lives.
Which sucks because some of the best 3D in this film comes during those end credits. And having people wandering in front of you is annoying.