Summer Movie Week 1 -- THOR

Summer movie season kicks off with a dud in Kenneth Branagh's ambitious but mildly entertaining Thor, which -to tell you the truth- is a total disappointment. Not to say that it's a total failure but Branagh's film starts and ends in dreadful fashion, its middle is passable but not entirely satisfying enough for what we've come to expect from a comic book movie; escapism. I presume the real problem with Thor is the fact that it is based on a superhero that is one of the least interesting of the Marvel canon, not to mention one of the least humane and more far fetched ones too. Then again there was potential, Branagh is a scholar of Shakespeare and the plot -involving father & son betrayal- is very Shakespearean. Why doesn't it work? well first off there are plodding devices that hammer it down, case in point the uninvolved and frozen love story involving our main man and a heroine ever so lovely played the Black Swan herself Natalie Portman. There's also the intertwining story lines that move back and forth from one realm (A.D) to the other (modern day earth), this gives the movie no time whatsoever to build up its characters so that you care for them at film's end.

Maybe I'm over analyzing everything and I should have just checked my brain at the door but we had good reason to expect much much more from a director like Branagh and a big budget superhero adaptation like this one. Not to say everything fails. The action is there and is sometimes intensely made and compatibly drawn out. The way Branagh directs Thor's maze-like sneak attack on government feds to get his beloved hammer is as gripping as anything else that comes before or after it in this below average comic book hero adaptation. Chris Hemsworth plays the titular charcter with enough charisma to hope for better results when he teams up with Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man & Mark Ruffalo's The Hulk to name a few in next summer's sure to be blockbuster The Avengers. In the meantime, we are left with a sour aftertaste, a kind of introductory movie that tries to be everything at once but ends up being nothing nothing at all really. Better luck next time Kenneth.