I’ll admit it. I went into this movie not expecting a lot of great things, but having always been a Kenneth Branaugh fan, I figured it couldn’t be that bad. And as a Shakespearean fan, I figured a touch of the bard into a superhero movie couldn’t be bad either.
First off, it wasn’t bad. It was cute, and it was one of those movies that does what it’s supposed to do. And that’s really about it.
Okay, that’s not about it. I did have a few more things to say. Like, for one, why can’t they just make a movie once that takes us right into the middle of the franchise, instead of having us have to go with the whole backstory thing, as if we’re too stupid to figure it out ourselves. As a result, we end up with one movie after another that is essentially retelling Superman the Movie, except by inserting another superhero into the role. We got this with Batman (twice), Iron Man, Spiderman, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, the XMen (twice, or at least restarted again), Jonah Hex (or at least what should have been a properly done movie, but what can you expect when you put Megan Fox in a movie where it’s not porn?), Daredevil, Electra, and practically every other superhero movie that has tried to retell the same story that we already all know very well.
And that’s the problem. We all know the story. We know how the hero got to be what he or she is. It would be kind of nice to just start off in the middle of a franchise and see what happens.
And that’s what we got with Watchmen, and strangely enough, I kind of thought that was what we were going to be getting with Thor. I mean, think about it. We weren’t going to go back and do the birth of Thor, but we were going to see a series that took place about a Norse god that was already established. Turns out I was wrong, as we even got bits and pieces of him as a kid with his brother Loki growing up.
The movie did what it had to do, and that’s keep us entertained. It had the big crescendo moment where the hero becomes his big bad self, and then he takes out the bad guy. The problem, however, was that most of the action that shows up on the screen is kind of the fault of the hero himself. I mean, the movie starts because (spoiler alert!) Thor’s brother Loki manufactures a plan to get the frost giants, or whatever they were, to start up a war that’s been under a cease fire for centuries. But the war doesn’t really get going until Thor decides he needs to be the bad ass that he is and takes his buddies to frozen world to pick a fight with the frost giants. This leads to both Thor’s banishment, and the eventual war between the frost giants and the Norse gods. I hate when that happens. So, in the end, when Thor gets his powers back, he basically beats some monster that has been sent to Earth to kill Thor, saving everyone. And then goes back to Valhalla to save Valhalla from the gods who are angry at Valhalla because of something Thor did before he was banished. In other words, while Loki kind of started it all, Thor is equally responsible for the war, and in the end, he kind of fixes what he broke by destroying the enemies of Odin, people who became their enemies because Thor wanted to look cool. In other words, it was a lot about nothing. A lot of speeches get made, and a lot of posturing gets postured, and in the end, we’re left with the Norse gods not able to get back to America because they had to destroy the bridge to save the world. Kind of confusing, but yeah, Norse mythology can be that way. At least it didn’t end with any ABBA songs.
I did have to add as an aside that Dr Pepper is doing an interesting tie-in with Thor, where they advertise the Warriors III, the three warriors who serve alongside Thor. Only, in the movie, there are four of them. The Dr Pepper ad conveniently dropped the girl of the four members, which makes me wonder if she was added at the last minute, or Dr Pepper just hates women. I’m curious to know. Either way, she was the hottest of the four (being a guy myself, one can understand why I might say that), but she was also the toughest of the group. One seemed like he was trying to be Jet Li, one a human variation of Chewbacca, and the other guy some kind of pansy who fights with a sword. One of the secret service guys who points out the girl made the best attribution when he called her Xena. Couldn’t have said it any better. But she was too demonstrative of a character for Dr Pepper to have left her out of the campaign. It wasn’t a Warriors III thing as there were most definitely IV.
As I drove home from the theater, I reflected on the movie, and one thing seemed to sum up my experience: I forgot my umbrella at the theater, meaning that when it rained next, I would be without protection, much like Earth will be now that Thor destroyed the bridge that lets him come back, something significant because he’s supposed to return when the Avengers come out as a movie in a few years. So, let’s hope they have a Corps of Engineers in Valhalla building a new earthly bridge. Until then, I’ll buy a new umbrella and hope it doesn’t rain.