Posts Tagged ‘Kenneth Branagh’

Even if you don’t like Thor, you will go see it because you want to know what’s happening in the Avengers movie.

This is a trick comic companies have been doing for years: You only buy Uncanny X-Men, but they want you to also buy X-Men, X-Factor, X-Force, Generation X, Astonishing X-Men, Wolverine and Dazzler. So, they parse the story up and put a page or two into every title, forcing you to buy it.

Now, just think of it as a multi-million dollar film deal. They want you to watch each one, so they put Samuel L. Jackson into all of them, and spread the storyline around a bit, and then you’re hooked.

That said, it was a good movie.

Acting was solid. Costumes. Sets (except the New Mexico town seemed like it was built in the literal middle of nowhere).

Loki’s plot was good. He had me guessing. And he was a well-rounded character, not what I’d expect. Also, I appreciate that his plot wasn’t a MacGuffin. He had a real motivation, and it was layered.

The only issue was there was a bit of a reality problem. Like I said in:

I just don’t buy the idea of a beautiful young single scientist who just so happens to be in the right place at the right time. Maybe there are hundreds of young, gorgeous scientists who are busy chasing storms, spelunking volcanoes and exploring ancient ruins. Anyway, half of the movie is in Asgard, which has a lot of digital animation. And the other half is on Earth, with this relationship that’s blossoming between a scary stranger and a brilliant scientist who turns into a 13-year-old schoolgirl every time the Thunder God smiles in her direction.

I asked my friend Michelle, one of the people I saw it with, if she thought it was too weird. She didn’t think so. My reason for asking is that most super hero movies to date have been pretty grounded. Ideas like mutants and radioactive spider powers introduced slowly and carefully. Then, we have the 9 realms, Asgardians, Destroyer, the Warriors Three, Heimdall (who kicked ass) and the Rainbow Bridge. And…wow…is this too much for people to swallow?

Granted, maybe this movie isn’t for grandma and grandpa. Unless your grandpa is Stan Lee.

It helped that Sif and the others were pretty one-dimensional to begin with. You’re not really going to get into the mind of Fandral or Volstagg. That’s OK. You got enough of them to know their motivations, and not to get them confused with other characters in armor.

It’s worth seeing, if you can suspend disbelief about gods and about awkward romance blooming. Especially if you want to see Avengers.

Disclaimer/background: I’m a traditionalist. I don’t think people should break rules of storytelling unless there’s a good reason. I write comic books, short fiction and children’s books. Just to put my comments in perspective, these are my interests and favorites: My favorite superhero is Spider-Man, and I also like Justice League and Batman. My favorite comic writers lately have been Kurt Busiek, Peter David, and Geoff Johns. I am a huge Transformers fan. In children’s books, I go either simple or meta: either really simple stories or books about stories. In movies and books, I am more impressed with something small that makes me feel something rather than something I’m told is a “must-read” or a must-see.”

I make silly videos and post them here:


I was never much of a Thor fan. I like the character all right, but all that “thou” and “zounds” got really hard to read. But what’s worse is the continuity. It’s hard enough to learn of the Norse mythology, but then it’s blended and mixed in with half a century of Avengers and other stories.

So the lesson here: If you’re going to borrow a mythology, either stick to it 100% or just take a few things and ignore the rest.

Because continuity is a huge wall to a new reader. Add a complex second backstory – mythology – and you’ve just built the wall higher.

Anyway, the trailer was good and bad.

It gave me a few small chills. I liked that this is a story of Thor’s redemption. In the comics Thor is a blowhard and only sees things in black and white. But I never really thought of him as a problem child. But yeah, he got tossed from Asgard. He’s like Lucifer, except it didn’t turn out the same. I wonder if Thor and Mephisto ever had a talk about that.

Other good things: The actor (despite the guyliner) looked the part. He’s an unknown, which is good. It’s directed by Kenneth Branagh, which is a curious choice. The costume and hammer all look good, and even Loki’s horns don’t look ridiculous. I was able to guess that certain characters were Fandral, etc. just with a second of screen time. And Jesus Christ, Destroyer?

I’m guessing that SHIELD guy bites it. He’s done amazingly well for a nobody character who I thought was an extra until the very end of Iron Man.

The Bad:

It isn’t really Bad as unexpected. Maybe I was the only one who was imagining this, but I wanted this movie to be more of a sword and sorcery epic. But the trailer shows explosions. Loud music. Thor knocking through an unending supply of generic guys in black.

It looked like every other super hero movie trailer. Maybe that was the editor’s fault. Maybe Branagh is purposely trying to ape comic book movies for fun. Or maybe he was told to do it. Or Marvel is trying to cash in on what made Iron Man tons of money. (Charismatic bad guy’s path to redemption littered with badder bad guys and rock music.)

Super hero movies have become a genre at best, and a formula at worst. Let’s try to make each one different.