Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thor 2 is a Dopey (But Fun!) Movie

I had to see Thor 2, if for no other reason that I used to like Thor comics as a kid.  In fact, when I was 8 years old,  for about two weeks I converted to the Norse religion due to Thor comics (true story).   You see, one time Thor's hammer got damaged, so he went to Pittsburgh, where they know about making metals.  I knew Pittsburgh was a real place, so I thought Thor might be real too.  

Thor interacted with real people even though he was a celebrity, kind of like NASCAR drivers do.   

I had a Thor T-Shirt and everything.  

This is the same Thor Tee Shirt design I had back in the day.  He could throw his hammer for miles, and by hanging on to it, he could fly.  I tried this by tying a rope to my Dad's hammer and throwing it, but it didn't work for me.  

Well that brings us to the Thor 2 movie. Great special effects, fantastic visually.  Individually the actors look the parts.  But together the team just does not mesh, and we fail to identify with any of the characters.  The bad guys are rotten elves from some other dimension, and we are told that there is some problem with the Nine Realms blah blah blah... But the movie just does not make us identify with any of this grandiose mythology nor does it seem very important.  In fact, I don't even remember the head bad guy's name or what he wanted other than he was bad and he was interested in the Six Realms.  Make that Nine Realms.  Yawn. 

At least Loki  looks and acts the part.  We get some teases about what makes him tick.  Still I think he would have been a better character if he would occasionally do something good rather than being in bad guy mode 100% of the time.  It's hard to understand why Thor has an affinity for his brother if Thor is always good and Loki is always bad.  On the other hand, Thor seems willfully ignorant about the extent of Loki's power, and the plot twists can occur mainly because Thor doesn't seem to take Loki's powers  of illusion seriously enough: i.e., Thor is dumb.  If it were not so, there would not be a Thor 3.
Loki is a sinister guy and has a lot of powers we didn't know about before, but Thor has known him for thousands of years, he should know better.  But he habitually forgets to keep an eye on his half brother.  Thor, you  dope!

However, the Jane Foster character is totally implausible.  In the comics, it made sense because Thor shared consciousness with mortal medical doctor Don Blake, who liked Jane.  But in the movie, there is no Don Blake, hence it doesn't make sense that Thor would be interested in Jane. I mean, compared to Jane, Sif is a goddess.  After all, she is, really!  But Thor and Sif have known each other for 2000 years and nothing happened yet, so maybe that is just not to be.  Additional proof that Thor is a dope!  

My theory is that they wanted Jane Foster to be kind of like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman--kind of kooky but very sexy and sympathetic.  Jane is kooky all right, but lacks the sophistication necessary to  have a boyfriend who is 2000 years older than her.
Jane Foster looks and acts a little like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, but with an IQ in the 200 range. But it doesn't quite work.   

Sif has the body of a Goddess because she is, in fact, a Goddess. Thor paid her no attention for thousands of years.  Thor really IS a dope.  

One of the goofiest scenes in superhero movie history comes when Jane meets Thor's mom, Frigga.  What do you say when your prospective Mother in Law is 5000 years old?  That is wacky.
"Oh let me tell you the story about when little Thor used to bring his magic hammer to Little League instead of using a wooden bat!"  "Gee, that's funny, Mrs. Odin."  "Oh, do call me Frigga!"

   The secondary characters are universally wooden, uninteresting and unmemorable.   Even Anthony Hopkins (shades of Marlon Brando's Jor El) fails to score big as Thor's Daddy.  He looks like a wimpy English actor, rather than King of the Norse Gods. Well, no wonder.  He IS a wimpy English actor.  

     Maybe the exception is  Dr. Selvig, who is a half-crazy scientist.  We can understand his frustration because he is the only one who knows what's going on, but he can't communicate with others because he is so eccentric that he scares normal people (can't coordinate his clothes because he is too wrapped up in physics.  I can relate).     

      Anyway, he hooks up with Jane's young interns who are just annoying rather than brilliant.
After shopping Wal-Mart on Black Friday, the professor and the two interns score big on discount toy thingamajigs.  But I'm not sure what these instruments do.  Costco has better ones, I'm sure.

     That is the central problem with the movie.  We don't connect well with the characters and we are not sympathetic with who they are and we are not interested in what they want.  I'm much more passionate about Obamacare, say, than the future of Asgard and the Seven Realms.  Er, Nine Realms. Whatever.  

     It's a movie just for special effects and some good comic relief.  It's okay to take your kids to see it, just keep your expectations low.  

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