Posts Tagged 'Idris Elba'

Thor (3D)

Crazy graphics, a beautiful male lead and gloriously naff humour are the attractions in this amusement park of a movie. If you’re a certain shade of pale or partial to popcorn, then this should be a Thor thing. The oak-carved body of Chris Hemsworth plays the titular hero, complete with Gucci stubble and Aryan eyes. He doesn’t really have to do much apart from stand around looking “pretty cut”, as one character admiring his torso has it.

Chris Hemsworth as Thor: "pretty cut"

This is another entry in the Marvel universe, based on comics themselves based on Scandinavian mythology. I’m sure that as the franchises weave their Marvel web, we’ll soon be seeing the likes of ‘When Hulk met Spidey’, ‘Sleepless in Krypton’, ‘Batman & Superman Escape from Guantanamo Bay’ and ‘There’s Something About Magneto’ in our cinemas.

The plot revolves around a power struggle between two brothers: Thor and the wily Loki (Hiddleston). They are immortals inhabiting the celestial kingdom of Asgard, ruled by their wise father Odin (the masterly Hopkins doing his Shakespearean thang). The only person trying to inject any depth to this formula, Hiddleston does well to project a character having difficulty reconciling insane ambition and tender longing for his father’s recognition.

The Asgardians’ sworn enemies are the Frost Giants, 12-footers capable of not going to the fridge for their ice cubes. When they intrude on Thor’s crowning ceremony, the headstrong God heads to Jotunheim, their icy realm, to demand answers for breaking their truce. Wielding the mighty Mjolnir – a superpowered hammer – Thor and his friends do well but are quickly outnumbered. Odin comes to bring them back but decides his arrogant son is not yet fit for kingship and casts his son to exile on Earth where he bumps into scientist Jane Foster (Portman).

This episode provides much of the laughs as the mortal Thor struts around still believing he’s a Norse superbeing. Portman’s role as love interest barely registers as a character and the Earth-bound scenes sometimes plods along prosaically compared to the rainbow-coloured trip that is Asgard. Searching for his hammer, Thor battles a range of goons from S.H.I.E.L.D, the extra-governmental agency present in the Marvel comics, who are investigating it – but cannot pull it from the ground Excalibur-style as

he first needs a lesson in humility. This comes when an iron machine sent by Loki arrives to tear things up a bit.

The golden city of Asgard. Earth is 'Midgard' in the film's galaxy of nine realms.

Shot in above-average 3D, it’s an enjoyable romp, straightforward and a touch by-the-numbers. Stellan Skarsgard is barely awake as Portman’s professorial mentor. Kat Dennings as her assistant adds some much-needed wisecrack, while Idris Elba as gatekeeper God Heimdall delighted with his deeply sonorous voice. It’s hard to imagine this being anything other than a Star Wars-influenced, FX-laden epic but perhaps director Kenneth Branagh, famed for his Shakespeare films, could have brought intimacy and intrigue to the relationships rather than the simple signage of cheesy love and obvious transformation. Even Spiderman had more ambivalence.

This review is in vain; my friend with whom I watched Thor had it perfectly: “one quarter comic book adaptation blockbuster, one quarter 70s inspired, psychedelic discotheque light show, one quarter Kenneth Branagh-helmed Norse myth re-work, one quarter CHRIS HEMSWORTH’S BUNS”.


  1. Thor 3D
  2. Production year: 2011
  3. Country: USA
  4. Cert (UK): 12A
  5. Runtime: 114 mins
  6. Directors: Kenneth Branagh
  7. Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Idris Elba, Jaimie Alexander, Kat Dennings, Natalie Portman, Ray Stevenson, Rene Russo, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, Tom Hiddleston


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