Is there enough material from Norse mythology for a movie?
The first thing I notice about this movie is it is directed by Kenneth freakin’ Branagh. Know who he is? Basically any contemporary Shakespeare movie starred and was directed by him. Branagh is a classically trained actor, really knows his Shakespeare as any good English actor would. Yet here he is making a big, summer Blockbuster based off of Norse mythology and a comic book. Have the mighty fallen?
No, this is a pretty good movie given its source material. I think if any other director had a go it would end up far less serious than what it is. In fact, you have some heavy hitting actors in this film to give it some weight, including: Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgård (our token Swede, but always a dependable actor) and Idris Elba (granted, in a small role). Even stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman and Tom Hiddleston sell this stuff. In fact, it is the weight of this talent which gives the movie a seriousness it needs to be believable (at least for a non-Nordic audience).
Fortunately, I only knew little of Norse mythology or the comic book going in to this movie. So it was a treat to be introduced to this universe and want to read in to it even further to find out more. As a film, it is certainly entertaining and full of visual flair as we would expect. As an origin story for a Marvel comic hero who would become an integral part to later movies, it also succeeds in giving as background in to who Thor is. Surprisingly, he started off as a pretty arrogant and reckless brat. So much so he even starts a war between his people and the Ice Giants just because he thought they deserved to be dealt with harshly. As we learn, this was part of an elaborate plan by Loki (played with glee and rage by Hiddleston) to get his brother kicked out so he could inherit the throne. As a result of Thor’s actions, his dad Odin (Hopkins) has him expelled to Earth (of course) and removes all his son’s powers to teach him a lesson in humility.
Basically, this movie is about how Thor becomes humble. That’s your Tweet re-cap right there! Yet this is still a fun movie and you get what you pay for. It is funny, entertaining with some great special effects (in particular Asgard). I was surprised at how much heart and seriousness was in this film, but given the cast and its director, anything less would have made this movie just dumb.
If this movie was made by any other director with any other cast, then it would have been dumb and silly. Fortunately, the talent on board here makes this movie very entertaining and with a lot of heart. It is basically a story of how Thor becomes humble, at the expense of a lot of other people and buildings, but it is a lesson learned and worth watching. Especially when you see this group of actors delivering their lines so perfectly given the source material.