Alright, so I wasn't planning on throwing up any film reviews, but tonight I saw Thor and couldn't resist. While I've seen a few movies in the last month or two that I could have reviewed, Thor wound up being so all over the place that it was genuinely surprising - something you don't often encounter in cinema these days.
To start, after the first twenty minutes of the film I was convinced I was in for a shit-fest. The beginning of the film deals with the back-story of the gods and it is painfully hokey and melodramatic. It takes itself too seriously and someone in the project got way too enthusiastic about the CGI, which comes off looking cartoonish, obvious, and distracting. To boot, the dialogue and acting were nothing special.
However, when Thor is exiled to Earth the whole tone and quality of the film does a complete turn around. Suddenly the writing became clever, eliciting laugh after laugh. The film stopped taking itself so seriously and there were some great tongue-in-cheek moments, some witty dialogue and some admirable situational comedy. The characters developed in amusing and likable ways, and things in general were looking way up.
Then, as abruptly as the film became awesome, for its concluding act it reverted back to its melodrama and cartoonishness. While there were still some funny moments, the tone swung too far back toward seriousness and gravitas. Furthermore, the character of Lokey, Thor's brother, was completely... schizophrenic, for lack of a better word. His motivations were not remotely understandable and so his behavior just came off as arbitrary. I found Thor's sidekicks (whose names I don't remember) as distracting and pointless. While the intention seemed to be for them to be a form of comedic relief, they instead came off as slightly awkward and verging on ridiculous.
Seeing as Thor was directed by Kenneth Branagh (Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello), a Shakespeare veteran, I was expecting a little more in the way of finesse from the film and better handling of the more complex characters: character motivation shouldn't have been the challenge it appeared to be for him.
Overall I would still recommend Thor. While the beginning and end were mightily flawed the middle of the film was funny enough that I still came away having enjoyed it, and I might even watch it again when it comes out on DVD. Also, Chris Hemsworth (who played the title character) shirtless is an impressive sight indeed. Until next time!