A Long (but good) Commercial

I am all about the comic book movies, so for Mother’s Day Laura and I went to see “Thor.”  Watch the trailer if you’ve not seen it already, and you’ll see that it is pretty typical superhero fare.

Rule #1 of superhero movies: don’t expect them to be incredible stories that change your view of the world.  Instead, if you expect them to be good “popcorn munchers” with lots of CGI and things exploding and dudes with hulking muscles you’ll enjoy the ride.

This is precisely what Thor is.  It’s a long commercial for “The Avengers” that is coming out next year.  That said, if your expectations are set appropriately it can be a fun afternoon at the movies.

Basic plot: Thor is the son of Odin, the king of a far off planet of beings with special powers.  They appeared to humans in primitive (in this case Norse) times who worshipped them as gods.  They keep peace in the galaxy.  Thor is vain and arrogant, so Odin banishes him to earth to learn some humility and who he really is.  (that’s the synopsis without any spoilers…)

The good:

The moral message of this movie is really solid.  Thor is the prototypical “rich kid jock” whose dad is the king and who has it all.  He is strong and sure of himself, but through a series of events is shown to be arrogant and not fit to be a king.  The rest of the movie involves Thor growing into a character who is a servant leader who puts others ahead of himself, which is a great message for people.

Secondly, the romantic interest in the movie is played by Natalie Portman.  Now, Portman has made a name for herself with sexually charged roles and scenes (link is SFW and SFK but has a link in it that may not be; I wouldn’t click that…).  In Thor, however, the romantic interest is very, very tame.  Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth, who is a handsome devil) kisses Jane Foster on the hand a couple of times, and they do have a kiss near the end that is very tame by modern standards. 

As expected, the CGI is good.  Asgard looks cool, and the characters are neat to look at.  Anthony Hopkins turns in a pretty good performance as Odin, too.  And Idris Elba is awesome as Heimdall.

The Bad:

Really, the “bad” isn’t bad, it’s just a little lame.  The big battle on earth is between Thor and a big, animated suit of armor.  That shoots fireballs out of its face.  Laaaaame.

The plot is really predictable, with Thor being banished to earth and the hijinks of a “god” being among mortals are played out.  (Thor never claims godhood) The epic last battle is predictable.

The goofy:

Can you say Mjölnir ten times fast?

In my opinion, Chris Helmsworth HAD to be CGI when he had his shirt off.  Either that, or I need to start taking steroids. Smile (I kid, I kid…)

The verdict:

This was a fun movie with a good message and little that is bad.  In fact, Laura and I are going to take our two oldest kids (ages 14 and 11) to see it when it gets to the cheap theater.  That says a lot, because we are pretty careful with our kids and movies.  So if you’re looking for a clean, fun, not-very-plot-heavy way to spend an afternoon, this is a good way to do it.

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