Thursday, May 19, 2011

What You Should Have Seen #15


I treated myself earlier this week and went to go see Thor. It’s the first movie I’ve seen in the theater since I went to a midnight showing of Watchmen in March 2009…more than 2 years ago. Of course, a lot of stuff has happened since then.

All of the previews for this movie floored me, so I wanted to make a point to see this in the theater rather than on my computer or my TV. The theater by my house only had it in 3D, and I really wasn’t thrilled with that. My last experience with a 3D movie were the crappy little effects in Superman Returns. Also, I’d have to wear the 3D glasses over my regular glasses. I figured it would be a big hassle for very little reward. I was kind of right. I thought the 3D effects were pointless until the beginning of the end credits where we were zooming through The World Tree.

As far as the movie itself, well, holy crap, what a good way to jump back into going to movies. Let’s start off with the trailers. Green Lantern and Captain America. I’m really looking forward to GL, even though it looks like it’s going to be all splash and no substance. Captain America just looks meh. I’ll go see ‘em both, though. The Cap trailer was in 3D, which was also pointless. I’m thinking GL in 3D would have been awesome.

There are two actors in Thor who I will watch in anything: Natalie Portman and Idris Elba. I’ve been a fan of Portman since The Professional, and I’m not ashamed to say I have a little crush on her. And by little I mean incredibly huge. Idris Elba is my favorite blactor. Is that term racist? I hope it’s not. I can’t pin down a favorite “whactor.” Wow, that almost sounds worse, like I’m talking about a porn star or something. But I digress. Between his work on The Wire, Losers, The Office, Obsessed and RocknRolla, he’s cemented himself as an actor who makes his craft look so easy, so effortless. I also didn’t mind him taking over the role of a white character. This leads me to my next point.

I’ve never been a big fan of Thor. I read a few issues in the ‘90s when Eric Masterson took over as the Thunder God, but really nothing else, not even the Warren Ellis issues. I started reading Thor comics when J. Michael Straczynski, who apparently had a cameo in the movie, took control of the character. I loved his work with Babylon 5, but his comic book work has been kind of hit-and-miss. I ended up loving what he did with Thor, though, and I’ve stuck with the book after he left.

Even though I didn’t read a lot of Thor, I’m familiar with the background and characters. I knew about the Warriors Three and Odin and Jane Foster. I knew that Heimdall was white and was the guardian of the Rainbow Bridge, but the important part of that was his job, not his skin color. Elba did a great job in the role, and I hope we get to see him again in a sequel or two.
Despite the inclusion of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the cameo of another future Avenger, this movie did not seem like a shoehorned prequel to the Avengers movie. I think it stood tall all on its own, and the inclusions of Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye easily fit in on their own, but to those of us keeping track of the bigger picture, these inclusions helped color in a few more pieces of that picture.

Probably the most impressive thing about the movie was the stunning visual interpretation of Asgard and the rest of the Nine Worlds. The majesty, grandeur and beauty wonderfully reinforced that this was really another world. Although these characters looked and sounded human, they were lower-case gods who lived in their own heaven. Asgard was utterly breathtaking.

I also geeked out a little bit when Thor and Erik were at the bar and “Walk” by the Foo Fighters was playing in the background. I ended up sticking around for the end credits because that’s what you have to do now with these Avengers tie-in movies. You just know Sam Jackson’s Nick Fury is going to show up and tease us a bit (and what an awesome tease it was). While the credits were running we were treated to “Walk” in its entirety. That just happens to be my favorite song off of the Foo Fighters’ new album Wasting Light.

When a movie like this comes out, I always wonder who to praise. Is it the writer/writers who create the story? Is it the director who uses his unique vision to turn those words into a visual treat? Is it the actors who bring these imaginary characters to life? Nah, it’s probably the producers who bring all of these people together (I say with no small bit of sarcasm). I loved just about every aspect of this movie, plain and simple. I would recommend this to anyone. Just don’t waste your money on the 3D version.

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