|One divine hammer. Chris Hemsworth as Thor.|
God as my witness, I really thought they were called the Frostchilds. This, just part of the problem when numerous cast members are called upon to speak in a English accent, whether they happen to hail from England or not. As it turns out, the enemies of Asgard and their King Odin (Anthony Hopkins) are, in fact, the Frost Giants. Shame, really. Instead of sounding like the patricians of a snowy realm, the bad guys find themselves with a label redolent of some forgettable Canadian Football League squad. There's just not going to be any winning that way. It's one of many shortcomings of this film version of Thor, feebly helmed by Kenneth Branagh. What we have here, in addition to a failure to communicate, is some very watered down Norse Mythology.
Burdened as they are by a silly name, the Frost Giants still prove pesky in their way, breaking into the palace just as Odin is about to vacate the thrown for his brawny, rather too sure of himself son, Thor. One son's acension to the throne, we later find out, occurs to the chagrin of the other son, Loki. Such considerations are overshadowed by the incursion of the the Frost Giants, after the coveted Casket of Ancient Winters. Yes, the Casket of Ancient Winters. The Giants are not successful, but their brazen party crashing incites the new king, who is ready to wield that big hammer of his. Odin counsels restraint, but testosterone prevails, sending Thor, his friend Sif, brother Loki and the Warriors Three (sort of Thor's mythological backing band) to the frigid environs of Jotunheim to kick some Frost Giant ass. Hmm...a callow scion taking his countrymen to distant land to make an ill-advised, preemptive strike - sound at all familiar, good people of America? The Asgardians, by the way, seem to have hired the architect of New York's Trump Tower to design their palace; which is to say, lots of gold, not so much imagination.
|Don't you just love what they've done with the Kodak Theatre!|
The lives of Thor and Jane intersect quite literally, when Thor falls into the path of the scientist's vehicle. An awkward romance and some fish out of water comedy (some of which actually works) ensues. While this is happening in New Mexico, the reptilian Loki (who finds out that he's the adopted son of Laufey, leader of the Frost Giants) connives with the enemies of Asgard to let them run amok in his adoptive home and steal the Casket of Ancient Winters. Weary Odin, so stressed out by all of these proceedings - the foolish, banished son on one had, the adopted, embittered son on the other - falls into a protective "Odinsleep," sort of a coma with high production values.
Loki slips down to New Mexico to tell Odin that their father has actually died and, much as I would like to help you, bro, rules are rules, and there's nothing to be done about ending your exile. However, when the Warriors Three manage to sneak down to Earth and give Thor the real story, Loki then feels the need to do away with his attention-grabbing brother once and for all. He sends down a fearsome, seemingly indestructible metallic monster called "The Destroyer." to dispatch Thor at last. The Destroyer? you might wonder. With all the loopy, vaguely Norse nomenclature floating around Thor, The Destroyer was the best they could do? Why not just call it The Ass Kicker? The Beater Upper? Big Scary Metal Man? This lack of imagination, at least, can be laid at the door of the Marvel Comics people, who took up the Thor story in the 1960's.
Thor's hammer, given the far richer name of Mjolnir, gets hurled to Earth after him. The mighty hammer and it's attendant crater are swooped upon by S.H.I.E.L.D, one of the least menacing of super secret, dark-suited group of government agents you're likely to see on film. Thor fights his way into their enclosure only to find that he can't liberate Mjolnir from the stubborn New Mexico ground or from the Sheldians. The hammer, as it turns out, has a sword-in-the-stone-like worthiness requirement. (the Exacalibur legend also has an analogue in Norse Mythology). Thor needs to learn both humility and selflessness before good old Mjolnir comes flying back to him. His seeming suicide mission in taking on The Destroyer proves to be an indication that the beefy fellow might just be ready to lead his people back in Asgard. Unfortunately, going home means the end of a budding romance between he and a swooning Jane. The destruction of the Bifrost Bridge during a climactic life and death battle between Thor and Lokie - the same inter-galactic causeway across which the Asgardians inexplicably clatter on horseback - means no return to Earth for Thor, ending forever hopes of seeing Jane again. Or at least until the sequel; whichever comes first.
|Thor merchandise now available.|