I was able to attend a sneak preview of the movie "Thor" yesterday morning. For those of you out there that want the short version of how it was, it was awesome. Action, humor, great plot, and it flows so smoothly that the movie goes by quickly leaving you wanting more. Oh, and skip the 3D, see it in glorious 2D as it was intended to be seen. I saw it in 3D and was not impressed by the transfer.
Director Kenneth Branagh brings to life one of Marvel's comic book characters that easily could have come out as cheesy, hammy, or just plain silly. He balances this out easily by making the Asgardians aliens. No, I'm not giving anything away in saying this as Thor himself says in the trailer that where he comes from science and magic are the same. This makes it much easier to really downplay the whole 'gods' concept and get on with the story. It was a very elegant solution for a problem that could have bogged the movie down. It's still faithful to the comic book origins, it's just this one tiny alteration that makes things a whole lot simpler for the movie makers and the movie-goer.
At the heart of the matter, we see that the Asgardians are at an uneasy truce with the Frost Giants. Thor oversteps his duties and pretty much makes a mess of that truce. As punishment, Odin strips Thor of his power and sends him to Earth, AND Odin also sends the hammer Mjolnir to Earth after inscribing some caveats to its use on the side of the great hammer.
Loki (Thor's brother) plays a great part in most of this movie, but more like a background manipulator at first and later as a major player when his plan comes together. Needless to say, Thor is needed to save the Frost Giant's world, and Asgard from treachery. But he has to do so after learning a few lessons along the way.
Chris Hemsworth does a great job as Thor. He goes through a range of styles; swaggering braggart, gentleman, warrior, petulant child, and humble servant. He does it with an ease that doesn't seem forced or phony, and you come away with the feeling of truly liking the character he plays for who he is and not what he does.
Tom Hiddleston as Loki was excellent! He played it with the right amount of serpent whispering a little venom into the ear of the person he wanted to dupe. You also get a very palpable sense of anger coming from his character in later scenes that really works well for the story. Yet at the same time, he plays the character so well, that you can never truly hate him outright. That's the sign of someone playing a villain role correctly.
The Warriors Three (Volstagg, Hogun, Fandral) and the Lady Sif are used very well in this movie. They are great warriors, and they also are a little bit of comic relief as well (just as they are in the comics). Ray Stevenson's portrayal of Volstagg is especially well done, as is Jaimie Alexander's role as Lady Sif.
As for the Idris Elba as Heimdall "controversy", get over yourself. As I stated before, the Asgardians are portrayed as aliens in this movie, not some white power whack-off material. Elba does a great job as Heimdall, where we get to see a great warrior and even a tiny touch of humor as well.
Sir Anthony Hopkins as Odin hits all the right notes. We see him as a warrior, as a father, and as a king with the weight of the crown on his head. Again, a better choice couldn't be made.
Finally we get to the humans...Natalie Portman's character of astrophysicist Jane Foster is good and even allows for the brief mention of a certain doctor by the name of Donald Blake. Kat Dennings isn't as annoying as the trailers would have you believe. In fact, the trailers seem to have all her scenes (minus one) in it as she is a very minor character in the movie. And Stellan Skarsgard ties it all together so we don't have to suffer through the characters reciting Norse mythology to each other as a way to explain it to the audience (as what often happens in origin movies). Oh yeah, Hawkeye (or Clint Barton as his real name is known) makes a brief appearance in the movie too, but that's all he does for now.
I have only two problems with this movie; the use of shaky cam during some of the action scenes (although not nearly as bad as it has been in some movies), and 3D. While the shaky cam wasn't anywhere near the level of Cloverfield, it still rendered parts of the action scenes blurred out and unwatchable. Especially in 3D. As for the use of 3D, it really wasn't needed for this movie. In fact, it made some scenes look cheesy and bad like a children's popup book. So again, skip the 3D if you can and see it in 2D.
Rating: Full price ticket (2D only) multiple times in the theater. Yes, it is that worth it since it's so much fun. Also, be sure to stay until after the credits to see a scene tie-in to the Avengers movie.