Summer’s superhero movie season kicks off this weekend with the release of Kenneth Branagh’s Thor. In my opinion, the film initially represented a risky bet for the studio. Its task was to create a brand new mythology, complete with magical elements, and introduce it to a public already (or about to be) overloaded on superheroes. Moreover, Branagh wasn’t exactly well-known for his direction of blockbuster action films, nor was Chris Hemsworth well-known as a leading man that could carry a huge film, prior to today.
So did Marvel’s bet succeed? Does the film work as an origin story, and as a building block for the forthcoming Avengers film? And what of the 3D? Is it worth it to see this film in IMAX? Share your thoughts below. As always, assume SPOILERS lie after the jump.
Thor has received great reviews from critics across the board. Charlie Jane Anders calls Thor the best superhero film since The Dark Knight:
The good news is, Thor is the first big-budget movie since The Dark Knight to use the trappings of superheroes to tell a real story. Thor treats the superhero film like a full-fledged genre, capable of launching many different stories. Thor doesn’t just look and feel different than other superhero movies, thanks to the “Norse Gods in space” thing. It has a different spin on the common themes of the genre. Instead of “with great power comes great responsibility,” Thor shows that sometimes, from the act of taking responsibility comes great power.
Charlie Jane’s assertion sounded a bit hyperbolic to me, but as my colleague Scott Mendelson put it, between X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Spirit, Iron Man 2, Punisher: War Zone, etc., she’s basically accurate by default.
Drew Mcweeny, a man of discriminating tastes when it comes to these films, was also a fan:
In some ways, “Thor” feels like the youngest of the Marvel movies so far, pitched squarely at a kid audience that really doesn’t know the character, and that may infuriate some older fans. I’ve long been afraid, though, of 30 and 40 year old men who demand that each and every movie about thunder gods and radioactive spider-men and vigilantes in batsuits be tailored directly to their appetites. I read comic books as a kid. They were a gateway to pulp storytelling for me, and I was rabid about them. I don’t want these movies to be serious, piercing explorations of the human soul. I want superpowers and fights and flying and monsters, and “Thor” absolutely delivers on that level.