Monday, May 16, 2011
When the first poster for this movie came out, I was a little worried:
If you just focus on Thor, it's not bad... but there's Anthony Hopkins front and center with a gold eyepatch... and it looks a little cheesy. Not 80's Thor from the "Incredible Hulk Returns" cheesy...
..but enough to worry me nonetheless. I had the same reaction when I saw the first Captain America suit as well... but then trailers came out for both, and I could see both were going to be awesome.
But if you haven't already seen Thor, you've probably already heard that Thor is awesome. I think the real question is... where does it rank among its comic book movie brethren? Let me break down what I consider to be the top five:
1. The Dark Knight - 5 batarangs
This movie is the gold standard of all comic book movies, and so instead of stars, we use batarangs. :) This is as perfect as a comic book movie gets.
2. Iron Man - 4 3/4 batarangs
Why not five? Because it's not the Dark Knight! It's kind of sad that Tony Stark only got to hold the throne for two months before Bruce Wayne came and kicked his ass out of it.
3. Spider-Man 2 - 4 1/2 batarangs
You know, when the first X-Men came out, followed by the first Spider-man, we really had nothing to compare them to other than a Batman franchise that ran itself into the ground. As such, I don't think they hold up too well against what has come since. But Spider-Man 2 hit all the right marks and is the pinnacle of what I refer to as the "first wave" of comic book movies... the second wave beginning in 2008 with the Iron Man/Dark Knight double-punch as everything that came before seems to be petering out and now about to reboot.
4. Batman Begins - 4 1/4 batarangs
The biggest problem with Batman Begins is that to me, it feels like two different movies. The first two-thirds feels like it's deliberately trying NOT to be a typical superhero movie... and then it suddenly embraces all the action cliches of a superhero movie. But both the two disjointed parts that make up Batman Begins are aces, so there you go. :)
5. The Watchmen - 4 1/4 batarangs
Forget you haters. That's all I have to about Watchmen right now.
And for the record, I am distinguishing between superhero movies and comic book movies, otherwise you'd see Sin City and Scott Pilgrim in prominent spots on this list.
So where does Thor fall? 4 1/4 batarangs... not as good as Batman Begins, but I can't decide if it's better or worse than the Watchmen.
Here's the thing about Thor... the story is far from perfect. What makes it work? Amazing directing, amazing acting, and amazing visuals. The story starts in Asgard, I found myself thinking that we had to wade through all the "god" stuff to get to the good bit on earth. But the surprising thing to me was that the Asgard scenes ARE NOT BORING. I give director Kenneth Branagh all the credit in the world for that... I don't think many directors could have pulled that off.
The problem is, the Asgard portions of the story are better than the earth portions. Which is not to say I was ever the least bit bored... but I was looking forward to a story about a Norse god on Earth, and the earth portion of the story was small in scope. Maybe that's the genius, though... leave me hungry for a sequel. Hell, Avengers is right around the corner.
In the course of writing this, I think I've made up my mind. Comparing it to the Watchmen: I think Watchmen was a great story with a flawed delivery, whereas Thor is a flawed story delivered perfectly. And from that respect, I give the nod to Thor over the Watchmen.