Thor is a hell of an attractive entity. He’s not really a superhero despite finding himself in the Marvel stable of comic book personnel.
He’s a well-travelled god – kind of like an intergalactic backpacker who gets booted out of the heavenly nest to go find himself. And he finds himself on Earth mixing it up with the mortal folk.
Like little Simba in The Lion King, while he’s out and about in the big bad world, Thor learns a thing or two about his arrogance and how to make it work for him when he returns to Asgard to become king.
And like Avatar made Sam Worthington a household item, Thor will make Chris Hemsworth a star – but one who can shine in other films too.
I interviewed the cast and director Kenneth Branagh about Thor and here’s what KB said gave him an idea of Chris’s star power: the way he winked at his mum (played by Renee Russo).
Thor is a very cheeky boy, with kind of body that is as well-honed and toned as a de Vinci sculpture – or a brickies labourer who’s been on the job a few months building biceps. He has a mighty hammer which is technically more of a mega-mallet so I think this makes him less of a superhero and more of a super-carpenter.
He has the kind of messy blonde hair that you’d expect a Viking god to have – or a Queensland pro-surfer.
While on Earth, he wears jeans and a flanny.
He has the kind of deep voice you want to listen to, lying down, with all the lights off.
These are the reasons why Thor had to be played by an Aussie bloke.
And Chris Hemsworth has done a great job.
But the moments that really sing are the comedic ones. There’s a scene on Earth when he’s looking for a mode of transport, that is just gold. Can’t say more cos I don’t want to spoil it for you.
Other good points include the support cast. Anthony Hopkins is big daddy King Odin married to Renee Russo with sons Thor and Loki. Loki is a bit of a black sheep who needs to be hugged – often. There’s a merry band of Thor’s mates who can fight, joust and play up like Falstaff and his buddies in Shakespeare’s Henry The 4th (though the dude with the long red hair and beard did remind me of the dwarf in Lord Of The Rings – only much, much taller).
The classier feel to this film is no surprise because getting Kenneth Branagh to direct a superhero Hollywood blockbuster instead of, say – Michael Bay – was always going to bring more real drama to the screen and more depth to the characters than an ordinary hack director would.
Some influences from other epic tales slipped on and off the screen without being blatant rip offs – a shade of Lord of The Rings, a bit of a Jesus moment and maybe a coincidental crossover with Excalibur.
When it comes to 3D opinion is divided but I can tell you this – seeing Asgard in 3D is beautiful. It adds to the other-worldiness of the heavenly domain and made it feel more real. The production design of Asgard and the godly costuming is superb – particularly the head gear on King Odin and wait til you see what he sits on. Now that’s a throne! And when you can make a range of eye patches that could have their own fashion label – even a runway show – you know you’ve hit the top end of movie costuming.
If you were travelling, Thor is the kind of bloke you’d like to meet and hang out with for a while. He’s fun, reliable, travels light, knows how to get into some cool places and he’s good in a crisis.
So check it out when it opens in Australian cinemas on the day named after him: Thursday is Thor-day April 21.
And to see my interviews with the God Of Thunder Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Jaimie Alexander and director Kenneth Branagh tune into Movie Juice 6pm Monday on STARPICS.