2011_thor_web.jpgSomeone recently asked me what film I think will start the summer movie extravaganza of 2011.  Without a thought, I said, Fast Five.

And, why not?  It’s made a bucket load of money (almost $90 million dollars in the United States alone) and it stars Vin Diesel and The Rock; who’s going by Dwayne Johnson these days.  Oh, and did I mention that the film is well-written and loaded with lots of eye candy action?

So, now that the summer movie season has already started with a serious bang, it’s up to the films that are released during the actual summer of 2011 to be just as good or better.  The next of this summer's offerings is Thor; in 3D no less.

Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth) and his bro Loki (Tom Hiddleston) are two brothers vying for the throne of Asgard.  The only way to get to the throne is to prove to their king/dad, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), that one of them is the right man for the job.  Alas, Thor’s vanity and recklessness get him kicked out of Asgard and sent to Earth to learn a lesson from an astrophysicist named Jane (Natalie Portman).

Thor is a decent summer film; especially since it’s in 3D.  Although, there wasn’t much 3D-ness to warrant a hard-working American to spend extra for it.  The scenery and computer generated imagery are so gorgeous that the audience is hard pressed to see the difference between the CGI and reality.

Director Kenneth Branagh took on the monumental task of coordinating such an epic film, however I expected more of a story.  It begins and ends too quickly.

Screenwriters Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, and Don Payne (with the story by J. Michael Straczynski and Mark Protosevich) have relied too heavily on the awesome special effects and not enough on an actual story.  It’s supposed to be about an immortal who learns humility through the love and kindness of a woman.  Unfortunately, the natural progression that’s supposed to take place happens so fast that if you blink, you’ll miss it.  With Thor’s 114 minute run time, that’s just messy.

To make matters worse, at the end of the film, the audience is left feeling like there’s a part of the story that they haven’t been allowed to see.  If the writers had used that extra 15 or 20 minutes that obviously landed on the cutting room floor in the film, it may have had more of a bang.  Instead, Thor kind of falls with a loud, burly thud.

Speaking of burly, Hemsworth, who obviously made sure to make his body the ultimate in female fantasies kind of lacks the right something to even be interesting.  He’s like a blond Keanu Reeves when it comes to acting – wooden. Thor’s friends, Volstagg (Ray Stevenson of Rome fame), Hogan (Tadanobu Asano), Fandral (Josh Dallas), and Sif (Jaimie Alexander) are more interesting than him. 

Even Portman, who diminishes her star quality a bit by playing a hapless scientist, is a little stiff.  I’m used to seeing some kind of fire in Portman.  Alas, in Thor, she’s more like an annoying damsel in distress whenever Thor is around.

Another actor of note is Idris Elba as Heimdall, the gate keeper of Asgard and the all-seeing eye of masculinity and order.  Now there’s an actor with star-quality and a decent bit of talent to boot.  He should have had more screen time.

Despite being visually pleased with the overall look of Thor the film, I’m a little disappointed.  I expected more from this summer film.  I even expected more from the surprise end-of-credits scene that falls with a major thud.  Looks like Thor has sabotaged its own mighty character. 

Kimberly Grant may be reached at KAliciaG@aol.com