Friday, May 6, 2011
Mr Bombastic!: Thor - Trailer (OFFICIAL)
With comic book movie adaptations pretty much an assembly line affair these days, its harder to really assess each new creation on its merits.
One standout point for this latest Marvel epic is volume. In a genre marked by loud, busy pictures, Thor could have easily taken on Shaggy's "Boombastic" as its theme song. It yells, bangs, whooshes and barrels its way through roughly two hours in bringing the story of the Norse god of thunder into the 21st century where, of course, everybody's favourite bogeyman, "The Government" is waiting to muddle and mess up things.
And yet, there is - to coin a dancehall phrase - a "bashment" quality to the boisterousness of both the film and its main character. Director Kenneth Branagh decided to chuck his Shakespeare credentials out the window and delivers a mildly asbsurdist, even sardonic take on the superhero, jostling between the New Mexico desert and an Asgard that looks like every archtitectural student's worse thesis flung together. As a kind of mythological gatekeeper between these worlds, Idris Elba (whose token blackness sparked some controversy), picks up on the director's lead and radiates the best kind of cool. His performance says "So what if this is totally incredible stuff? We're doing all right."
As the earthling love interest, Natalie Portman does little to reverse my long-held antipathy toward her, but the inclusion of Kat Dennings as her sister almost makes up for it - perhaps she and not Portman should have been the love interest, but that's obviously NOT a risk the studio was going to take.
In the lead role, Aussie Chris Hemsworth, a sort of buff Brad Pitt, is similarly taking some of the air out of the Thor mythology; you can almost see him suppressing a chuckle or a smirk even as he rails against the "Frostchilds" (the evil race that is seeking to take over Asgard) or upbraiding his own father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins, in an uncharacteristically earnest performance).
As the sort of leading edge of this year's superhero movie tsunami (there's Captain America, Green Lantern, The Avengers and more X-Men still to come), Thor grabs the genre, holds it upside down by the ankles, and gives it a fairly good shake. You won't get much out of watching tis spectacle, but on the other hand it isn't boring, which is more than can be said for many of its cohorts.