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Friday, May 6, 2011

Pat's Movie Review: "THOR"

The big blockbuster summer movie season begins today and one word should be on everyone's mind ... "THOR!"

Marvel Pictures has had their ups and downs bringing their comic book heroes to the big screen. For every "Iron Man" there's a "Ghost Rider," for every "Spider-Man 1 & 2" there's a "Fantastic Four 1 & 2." For Marvel, the movies are either great or absolute garbage. Thankfully "THOR" can take it's place right at the top of the heap.

As a kid and comic book fan, Thor was never on my radar because it just seemed corny. So, when I read that Thor was being made into a motion picture, I really didn't care. I figured that they would never be able to cast the part and it would probably go to a professional wrestler who couldn't act and become a mess like "Punisher: War Zone." My opinion changed once I started to read the talent that was uniting behind the camera: Kenneth Branagh and Anthony Hopkins! When it was finally revealed that Chris Hemsworth was attached (so great in the Star Trek reboot as James T. Kirk's heroic father) I started to get excited. Once Marvel revealed the first photo of Hemsworth in full Thor regalia & I was hooked.

Casting has never been more important in a superhero movie. There is no mask to hide the hero's face or a pair of horn-rimmed glasses to create an alter-ego. In this first installment all you get is Thor. Fortunately, whether he is in Asgard speaking to kings and warriors, or on Earth speaking to mere mortals, Chris Hemsworth IS The Mighty Thor from start to finish.

Helmets off to director Kenneth Branagh and screenwriters Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz and Don Payne. The screenwriters have achieved the perfect balance between the mythical world of Asgard and planet Earth while Branagh steps into new territory with his first comic book movie, doing a perfect job of keeping the acting and action at a high level without losing momentum.

"THOR" is filled with science fiction, action, super-heroics and humor. Natalie Portman will never be nominated for an "Academy Award" for her portrayal of Jane Foster, yet she is world's better here than she was in "Black Swan." The supporting cast is perfect too: Tom Hiddleston as Thor's brother Loki and Colm Feore as King Laufey are just the right one-two punch of evil.

My final accolade goes to Marvel Studios and Paramount Pictures because they have finally made a movie trailer that didn't show all of the movies cards. By playing it close to the vest they have allowed the audience to be surprised during every frame of the movie. A movie trailer does not need to have "3-act structure" it should only get the audience curious and excited. Example: The trailer for "Green Lantern" is great but makes me feel like I have already seen the movie.

With that, Gods and Mortals, I bestow upon you my final declaration...

Drumroll please...8 out of 10 Hammers!!!

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