Being of a certain age my generation grew up reading all the Marvel comics and Thor was always my personal favourite, so without hesitation I eagerly purchased a couple of tickets to watch Thor the movie on its opening night in 3D at the Golden Screen Cinema in Queensbay Mall, Penang.
Under the direction of Kenneth Branagh Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is depicted as the powerful but arrogant son who is heir to Odin's (Anthony Hopkins) throne. Thors' character displays the impetuosity and immaturity of youth and the dangers it can create, it is an age old story about a son disappointing his father and having to learn the lessons of life the hard way.
Odin had decided it was time to allow Thor to be crowned king of Asgard but when the ceremony was interrupted by an inconceivable raid by Asgards bitter enemies the Frost Giants it enrages Thor and he is out for revenge for ruining his day.
Against the advice of his father Thor leads a raid on Jotunheim the home of the Frost Giants and in doing so the peace which has lasted for 1,000 years is broken.
Odin is outraged, he understands the futility of war through its death and destruction and he realises that Thor is not ready to become king. As a punishment he banishes Thor to Earth and strips him of all his mighty powers, so Thor the immortal god of thunder suffers the humbling experience of becoming a mere mortal.
Odin also casts Thors hammer (Mjollnir) to earth with the words that only a real king who understands the meaning of humility will be able to carry it and wield its mighty powers. In scenes reminiscent of pulling the sword from a rock to become king all and sundry turn up to try their luck at lifting the hammer until the mysterious government agency (SHIELD) turn up to start their own investigations.
The involvement of SHIELD is a pre-cursor to the forthcoming Marvel studios movie The Avengers whereby Thor will form an alliance with Iron Man, Hawkeye and Captain America.
The opening scene in Thor sees him landing in the New Mexico desert where scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) inadvertently hits him with her truck while driving to investigate an atmospheric disturbance. The chemistry between Foster and Thor is evident from the start but it is not significant enough to hijack the whole theme of the movie.
After some comical scenes in the hospital the movie really gets going when Asgard is introduced through the words of Odin explaining to his (then) two young sons Thor and Loki the history of Asgard over a millennia. The emphasis is on the battles with the Frost Giants that ultimately led to their defeat and Odin taking away the mighty source of their power.
This introduction to the world of Asgard is carried with aplomb by the engaging Hopkins and gives an understanding to viewers unfamiliar with the Thor character and the mystical realm he calls home, Asgard.
The fight scenes also make this an enjoyable movie to watch in 3D especially those on Jotunheim and when the Destroyer is sent to earth to kill Thor and his comrades.
During Thors banishment his devious brother Loki plots behind the scenes to take advantage of his absence in a bid to be crowned king of Asgard. It is here we find the true nature of Loki as he weaves his devious magic, lies and trickery to become king of Asgard.
There are some very accomplished performances in Thor with the outstanding Anthony Hopkins as always shining through and raising the standards of all around him.
Chris Hemsworth, with his rugged good looks, muscle bound physique and long flowing ginger hair complete with beard not only looks every inch a Viking warrior but he carries the part of Thor with an authority usually confined to more experienced actors.
The romantic angle between Thor and Jane Foster has not been over dramatised as it has been left to grow naturally but I can see this relationship gaining traction as the Marvel Universe is unravelled in the coming years with the release of the Avengers and more Thor movies.
The movie progresses to a tense scene where Thor finally finds humility and sacrifices himself to save others, The God of Thunder is reborn leading to a whirlwind of high octane action scenes that culminates with an epic final battle for control of Asgard and a seemingly unlikely although compelling ending.
It is worthwhile to stay for the closing credits as it is similar to a 3D motion ride through space, needless to say many people left the cinema when the credits started to roll so they missed this.
This is undoubtedly the best Marvel Studios movie to date and I would go as far to say it is one of the best movies I have seen so far this year. The expanding Marvel Universe gains the weight and authority of the mighty Thor in all his glory as the Norse god of thunder bursts onto the silver screen with all the panache of the mightiests of warriors.
It is the Asgard scenes that make this movie worthwhile to view in 3D as their portrayal of The Rainbow Bridge (Bifrost) and Heimdall’s observatory are both fantastical in their creation and delivery as is the whole realm of Asgard.
Thor The Movie
Thor photos taken from posters atGSC Queensbay by Michael Joseph