Thor (2011)

In spite of all the negative reviews, I went ahead and rented Thor. How bad could it possibly be, I thought?

Big mistake. This is a bad movie. Not bad enough to be good, mind you, but just bad enough to be completely unenjoyable.

I guess this is the point at which I would normally point out that this review contains spoilers. However, the movie itself is so completely predictable that I have a hard time imagining that this review will spoil anything for anybody. It should be obvious to everyone how it's going to play out after a half hour or so.

I just can't believe that they got the character of Thor so completely wrong. Throughout the whole movie, I never once felt that I was in the presence of a pagan god of thunder. The titular character is just so wimpy and bland.

Thor is not a difficult character to portray on the silver screen. He's an action hero, always knee-deep in gore. Like Chuck Norris, he can never be defeated, and he never retreats. He fights for honor, not because it makes sense to fight, or because there is some strategic reason. Like Arnold Schwarzenager, you can empty a full clip at Thor and he'll never go down. Why? Because he's Thor. Think of Rambo or Dirty Harry, and you'll immediately recognize Thor.

It's just embarrassing how un-Thor-like our main character is. In the first few minutes of the movie, he gets tasered and passes out immediately. There's a scene where he gets stabbed with a syringe in a hospital-- and again, passes out instantly. There's even a scene where a woman driving a car hits him-- and again, he goes down instantly. I know all of this is supposed to be whimsical, but it just makes Thor look like a complete weakling. Guys, we're not going for realism here! This is Thor, a magical god who hits things with a big hammer! How can you screw that up so badly?

The other characters are also terrible. Loki, the complex, ambivalent trickster god, is replaced by an generic evil Snidely Whiplash style character. There's a bunch of guys in suits who run a poorly explained government agency. I guess someone watched "Men in Black" and thought that was a cool idea. However, they have almost no role in the plot, no memorable lines or scenes, and it's never really explained why they're there in the first place. There's a generic Love Interest who we're supposed to believe is a scientist, because she has a laptop. And then of course there's her Dad, who turns in the only semi-believable performance of the whole movie, simply by looking vaguely befuddled the whole time. Thor's fellow immortals left so little impression on me that I can barely describe them at all. There was a dwarf who ate a lot of food-- that's about all I remember. Aside from that, they are all interchangable.

The dialogue is thoroughly awkward. Things that don't need to be explained are explained at great length. Thor himself is very talkative-- never a good thing in an action hero.

Even the action scenes in the movie feel phoned in. There's no artistry to it, like you might find in a good kung fu movie. There's just bland, forgettable CGI scenes that would make even George Lucas cringe.

I could go on for a lot longer about just how bad this movie is. Virtually every scene contains something cringe-worthy. But you get the point. This is Thor, as imagined by a complacent middle class white American guy, who read a few books about mythology once in grade school, and is convinced that Thor is just Superman with a hammer. But even Superman had some personality, however subdued. This version of Thor has nothing. It's just a cheap attempt to cash in on a comic book franchise. And it shows.