Saw Thor right after getting back from a LARP session featuring ghost Vikings. Just so that bias is out there. Also, spoilers.
It is, first of all, a very eye-candy movie, in every possible sense. You’ve got both the cut blond and the pretty dark models of major-character guy–not to mention some serious minor-character hotness in Heimdall and two of the Warriors Three; you’ve got the warrior girl and the science girl and the cute zany intern and the hot badass mom; you’ve got exploding galaxies and awesome CGI and giant goddamn robots. These are good things.
Mythologically speaking…well, okay. I went in prepared to be forgiving, because this is Thor-as-portrayed-by-Marvel, and Marvel has done the “these are actually Advanced Beings who inspired the myths” handwave for longer than I’ve been alive. Still more faithful to the source material than Clash of the Titans: Yeah, Hades is the Greek Bad Guy God. Loki’s crazy scheming is good times, in particular, which brings me to…
..characterization. Notably: there was exactly nobody I wanted to punch in the face during this movie. If you know me at all, you know how wonderful and goddamn rare this is. Wacky Comic Relief Intern? Actually comic and didn’t fuck things up. Romantic Interest Girl? Had her own life, and her friends, and didn’t come off as broken chick. Also, points for having two women who have some level of romantic tension with the hero, not having one turn evil or get killed, and furthermore not having stupid jealousy interactions.
*Furthermore*, and here’s where it gets spoiler-tastic, the hero actually made the smart decision during the world-or-the-girl decision moment. I was worried for a second, but…nope, dude doesn’t even hesitate, because dude has his priorities in order. Go him.
Thor in general? Pretty well done. I don’t know from the comic, but I thought that Branagh and JMS did a good job both portraying the fish-out-of-metaphysical-water trope without making the guy seem dumb* and portraying a redemption arc that didn’t make me hate the guy too much to care whether he got redeemed or not. Again: rare. Could have done without the Standard Christ Figure Moment, just because I saw it coming from about twelve miles away, but it did work okay.
I felt like the pacing lagged a little in the first half hour or so–“show don’t tell” is a great rule about seventy-five percent of the time, except we really didn’t need to see the whole ginormous Frost Giant battle *and* Thor and Loki’s childhood *and* the coronation scene *and*…yeah. Then again, extended action scenes don’t generally do much for me–scenes without words in general don’t, personal wackiness there–so, again, bias.
I generally recommend it. I do not, however, recommend shelling out the extra $7 for 3D, though I don’t know if you’ll be able to avoid it. It shows well in theatres, but you could also get it on Netflix, watch it at home, and try to replicate the various drinking-and-then-smashing-things scenes. They get surly if you do that at the cinema, for some reason.
*Also, I will totally be announcing that this mortal frame requires sustenance from now on when I want some food.