The 70s, 80s, and 90s were an era of shit-covered nightmares for Marvel Comics fans who wanted to see their favorite superheroes in live actiony glory (with movies that sucked so bad that not even Mystery Science Theater 3000 would touch them with a ten foot rubber dick [remember the TV Spider-Man movies, the Dolph Lundgren Punisher — which sadly was still better than the Thomas Jane Punisher — and the horrendously low budgeted Captain America starring JD Salinger's "I'd do anything for a dollar" son and an Italian Red Skull?). By the late 90s I was so ready for my favorite superhero-supplying company to make something, ANYthing, to match DC Comics' upperhand on cinema (or TV) up to that point.
But then my prayers were answered when we got the pretty awesome Blade, and then Bryan Singer's excellent 2 X-Men movies, and then the superb Iron Man flicks... It looked like Marvel could do no wrong (what are you talking about? There WERE no Fantastic Four movies? You crazy), but then I heard that they hired Shakespearian actor/director extraordinaire Kenneth Branagh to make a Thor movie... Whaaaaaaaaaaa? That made no sense to me. Thor Odinson was a mighty god of thunder and weird Norse shit, no? How would they make a story based on him, set in the Marvel Universe of the previously released Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk flicks, and make it any fun? And Kenneth Branagh? Really, what has he done since that not-so-great Frankenstein film all those years ago. Okay, he did make Dead Again, but that was back in like 1992!
Wait, what was that? Anthony Hopkins as Odin? Natalie Portman as Thor's love interest, Jane Foster?.... That kind of hooked me, but then the images of the costumes and some early special effects shots were released and I found that I was definitely willing to give the finished product a shot, by Odin's beard!
So it finally came to pass that Thor was verily released into theaters nationwide... And it was good. No, it wasn't Iron Man good, but it was fun, BIG, and an incredible sight to seeth with yon fleshy, non-eternal eyes: the world of Asgard (the home of the Norse gods) is absolutely beautiful; the battles between Thor, the Warriors Three, and Sif versus Frost Giants and other spoilery enemies were glorious to beholden; and SHIELD's presence in this flick actually made a lot more sense in the grand scheme of things as compared to Iron Man 2 and its forced build-up to The Avengers movie next summer. But I'm getting way ahead of myself. You want to know what it's about no doubt, and so I shall oblige you, mortal pissant.
Thor is about Thor Odinson, Norse god of thunder, being a little too proud for his own good, and through his overbearing personality being tricked into starting a war with the race of Frost Giants with whom the King Odin-led gods have had centuries of uneasy peace running between them. This causes Papa Odin to spank his blonde, hammer-weilding son into mortality, banish him to Midgard (i.e. Earth), and refuse his boy even the solace of his godly weapon, Mjolnir until he proves himself worthy of calling himself Thor. Then the Odinson has to tool around Earth for a while, meet some local yokels, discover what it means to be a god again, and then final battles, explosions, etc. occur. And there is much rejoicing.
Yes, it's pretty damn cliché, but the actors have so much fun with it, the FX are some of the most impressive I've ever seen, and that dude they got for Thor was pretty much the best casting choice for any superhero ever. He doesn't just play the blonde beefcake as an arrogant and full of himself dickhole, his take on Thor is that he's a fun guy to party with, but he just believes he's indestructible and untouchable, and even if he doesn't do as his father tells him he figures "what the hell? Who cares." And hell, up until the start of the movie his personality seems to have gotten him pretty far in life.
Anyway, while Thor is mortal, and he almost totally hooks up with Natalie Portman's astro-physicist character, that's when Thor really becomes something I wasn't expecting. There really isn't much of a "fish out of water" story going on here (just a few small, and actually funny jokes about him being a deassigned god among men here and there, like Thor looking for a horse), but instead the focus is all on Thor, mighty Thor coming to realize that he has been beaten, has nothing to truly live for anymore, and how all he wants is to go home. There's one scene where he pleads with the king of the gods by almost begging on his hands and knees "Can I go home now?" wherein you FEEL his pain and humiliation... And the once proud son of Asgard just doesn't care that he's crawling, he just wants to go home... It's actually very moving, and played wonderfully. I lost myself in the character of Thor so readily that I was shocked when I thought back on it as we left the theater. Everybody else was talking about the big action sequences, how hot Natalie was, how unneccesary her student worker was except for her punchlines, and how cool the Destroyer was, but I just kept thinking about how real a character Thor was, and how that badass motherfucker swirled and then flung Mjolnir with him still strapped to it into the sky. Holy fuck that was awesome!
Oh, and one of the other big things I was extremely impressed with was how half the movie was actually set in Asgard or one of the other Nine Realms besides Midgard. They didn't go the Masters of the Universe path and put 99% of the movie in a modern Earth setting to save a few bucks. This thing looks reeeeally expensive, even though most of the Earth scenes are in a podunk desert town in the American Southwest (which was used to great effect to show how far the Thunder god had indeed fallen).
Pretty much the only thing I didn't like was how little the Warriors Three and Sif were used. They did some goodly fighting in the beginning, true, but in the end they just mostly stood there and got slapped around like Moe, Larry, Curly, and Shemp by the big bad. That kind of took me out of the story a bit. Those Norsegods/goddess were war fucking machines, dammit! Really now... The grand finale made up for that little setback, but it was still there as a slight blemish. Oh well. Nothing's perfect (except Sarah Brightman).
I could so totally beat that dude who played Thor in arm wrestling, or in my favorite game I invented known as "Punchy Punchy in the Face with Brass Knuckles." I rule that sport. Hell, let him try and bring his wimpy little hammer into the ring if he wants to! I'll take that hammer from him, and shove it up his ass and say "Shazam!" and let a bolt of lightning fry him from the inside out! Then I'd pleasure myself with his women in front of him! Screw you, Mr. I-Think-I'm-So-Hot Thor!
Okay, so if I review this movie and mention Chris Hemsworth (the man who plays Thor) is the perfect male specimen the Rossman will mock me for being nothing but a giddy schoolgirl who can't help but swoon at a naked male chest, but if I review the movie and refuse to say anything about the man's gorgeous six pack then I'll get labeled a lesbian, and he'll hold that over my head forever and a half. So, I'll just say that Thor and all comic book movies suck, and the Rossman can go blow himself.
Notes from the Rossman: What a giant lesbo.