Pee Gee Thirteen. Mainly because of Chris Hemsworth taking off his shirt in every movie. Like, I know I see that physique every time I look myself in the mirror (*sob*), but it is a lot to take in on Blu-ray. Also, there's violence and monsters. Those monsters can be pretty scary. On a scale of "Can Henry see it?", the answer is that he is still scared of everything. Maybe I shouldn't be using him as a litmus test. But he likes Thor! Regardless, too scary for Henry. PG-13.
DIRECTOR: Kenneth Branagh
One thing that these reviews do for me is that they force me to look up the spelling of people's names. I've been saying "Helmsworth" and thinking that "Branagh" was spelled "Brannagh". Look at that. I'm growing because of these reviews. The weird thing about binging these movies is that they make me question what I was thinking back in the day. I've always been weirdly defensive of the first Thor movie. What the first movie did for me --and I suppose that this is still true --is that it made the character of Thor inaccessible. This is going to make me an even worse human being than I am now, but the font that Thor talks in always drove me crazy. Sandman uses that font from time to time and I tend to tune those sections out. I don't know why I thought that text would somehow be less important than anything else that is written, but Thor always came off as a much lamer version of Shakespeare. (I love Shakespeare. That I hate Shakespeare should not be your takeaway.) But Thor made the character somehow appealing. I kind of liked Ultimate Thor (at the time), but the movie blended what I liked about Ultimate Thor and married it to the classic mythology...for the most part.
But Thor, upon rewatch, does not hold up. This is the first movie in the binge that got a little tired for me. I might have to blame Thor: Ragnarok for that. Thor: Ragnarok is such a watchable movie that anything less than that, with the same characters, seems almost a wasted opportunity. I also have to say that it is really hard to acknowledge that this is the same character that we would see fighting Hulk on Sakaar. He's also such a babyface in this one. It's adorable. I'm sorry, Mr. Hemsworth. I know that you are a grown man, but it is distracting how young you look. Robert Downey, Jr. looks pretty much the same as he did a decade ago, but Chris Hemsworth looks like a child seven years ago. It feels weird to slag this movie because Kenneth Branagh did something that I thought would be impossible: he cracked Thor. At the time, the movie rocked. I think I have the same opinion about the 1989 Batman. The big difference is that people swear by Batman. People don't go to bat for the first Thor movie. Batman doesn't hold up in comparison to some of the best movies of the franchise. Heck, Batman v. Superman probably might be more entertaining than the original Batman (I know I'm saying blasphemy, but the original is very dated now). The same can be said for Thor. Thor, as a character, is an interesting pop culture study. Like I said, Branagh did the unthinkable: he made this Norse god relatable. Part of it is that he really establishes that Thor is almost an alien without making him seem like an alien. That's pretty impressive. But once that door was blown open, I think that Thor managed to evolve in ways that the character wouldn't traditionally grown. Because the first movie opened the door so wide, people were able to play with the character in ways that the comics normally wouldn't. Honestly, (and I'm no expert on Thor. Again, I couldn't handle his font.) it wouldn't be until Jason Aaron's run that I saw major changes to the character. He would just be on a cycle of the same Norse stories and then show up for an Avengers story from here to there. But the MCU has done a lot with him because of this movie and I'm pretty impressed.
But the movie is actually kind of boring. I remember laughing a lot at the movie theater. Darcy is very funny. I like Kat Dannings a lot and she really makes the movie work, giving it a fun tone. But if you know the jokes, and weirdly I still do, the movie gets a little boring. It's not a total wash. Thor as a fish out of water is a great character study. It gives an origin story without being mired in many of the origin tropes. Thor is already Thor, but his major choice hasn't been made. We get snippets of the ancient origin, talking about Asgard, Midgard, Odin, and the relationship with Loki. But this doesn't take up the bulk of the movie. Rather, it is organically folded into the story. It is very brief and that's all we really need. But the fish out of water story is really a problem. The fish out of water story is fundamental to Thor's growth. It is what turns him from aloof jerk to the Thor we know. It's why he's in Midgard. It's why he becomes an Avenger. But it also means that we spend most of a movie called Thor with a guy who has no powers waiting to get his powers back. Mr. Henson always complains about the middle section of the Netflix Marvel shows because the hero always loses their powers and becomes boring. Thor might be the middle section of the Netflix Marvel shows. So character-wise, Thor is the best choice. For storytelling and plot, Thor is the most boring of the films. There's this great villain, Loki, and that's stuff is all removed from Thor. There are so many great elements in this movie that are intentionally separated. It's knowing that there's something great behind a locked door. I know that all this fun stuff exists, but it isn't here and I don't like that. Honestly, look at the individual elements and tell me a weak spot. (Stop yelling at Natalie Portman. She's fine in this movie.) Like, Anthony Hopkins is in this movie. I know he's also in one of the Transformers movies, but he doesn't seem to hate these movies. I mean, he's in three of them. We meet Loki! We didn't know Tom Hiddleson before Thor. Now, he's a citizen of the world. That's how good this movie is..
There's a choice with this movie that is really interesting. I'm not sure that it has the legs it needs to fill a whole section, but I'm going to explore it anyway. S.H.I.E.L.D. (a student recommended that I threw this into my clipboard. DONE!) kind of becomes a much darker organization in this one. In the first movie, Coulson teased us with the majesty that was S.H.I.E.L.D.. It was in the background of this universe and knew how things ran. In the first three movies (I guess S.H.I.E.L.D. really isn't in Incredible Hulk), S.H.I.E.L.D. were the good guys. Thor kind of backs that up. I'm not saying that Thor intentionally sets up for The Winter Soldier, but S.H.I.E.L.D. is kind of icky in this one. Heck, Coulson is the bad guy for a while. That's something that's hard to live with, considering that he becomes the hero of his own TV show. He's the guy everyone rallied for in Avengers. But in this one, S.H.I.E.L.D. kind of sucks. I suppose that's a good choice. I just really was still in early S.H.I.E.L.D. mode. We had barely any Nick Fury by this point. He had his time in Iron Man 2, but he was the guy making the heroes happen. Now I find out that they are thugs who are stealing valid research. Also, was the plan to make S.H.I.E.L.D. the Men in Black? It seems like this is all about keeping the existence of superheroes under wraps, which never really seems to be a thing in the MCU. I don't know. It's a weird choice.
Thor isn't awesome given time. But it is an impressive entry into the MCU. Honestly, the MCU wouldn't be what it now is if it wasn't for Thor. But that also doesn't make it a fun movie anymore. It's a little boring and there is very little payoff, outside of how pretty and digital the movie looks. (I don't mind that the special effects are slightly dated because the movie is just so pretty looking at times. Like, Asgard looks like the prettiest digital mess I've ever seen and I love it.) I'm probably not itching to see this one again, but who knows? Maybe my next viewing in a few years will change my mind.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.