Tuesday, May 10, 2011


If I had a hammer, I'd hammer out a better script. This less than marvelous Marvel comic take on the Norse god of thunder, actually put me to sleep--somewhere between a dull piece of exposition and a lackluster bit of action. This is yet another (yawn) superhero romp through the cinematic cosmos and director Kenneth Branagh has failed to beef up an already beefy cast: the blond and brawny Chris Hemsworth as Thor, with a voice as thick as his thighs, and Natalie Portman fresh off her Oscar winning tip toes as Jane Foster, girl-scientist who of course falls for the out-of-this world hammer-wielding hunk. They generate no heat, let alone thunder and lightning. Then there's Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, and Rene Russo who barely exist as characters.

Neither epic nor intimate, THOR mimics the now over-familiar tropes and spare parts of the genre to tepid effect: the loud action set pieces, robots and amorphous monsters, incredulous screaming onlookers evading falling debris, the hero strutting about shirtless while quirky secondary characters crack wise. (Who are those guys in the suits anyway??) But the jokes have no zing because there's no tension to release here. The scenes on earth are oddly empty, so stagey as to seem unreal --like a set that's just there to be knocked down.

Branagh known for bringing Shakespeare to life on the big screen, tries to dredge up the deep primordial drama of fathers and competing sons, but instead renders something that feels more like a family feud that got out of hand. NONE of this, I repeat, NONE of this feels urgent, or involving. When it all ends, a sequel suggests itself dimly on the horizon;maybe they could call it: