Last Friday night I found myself at a loose end and in Newcastle and so, after finding an accomplice, went to the cinema and saw the new Marvel Studio's film "Thor". This was a bit of a gamble on my part; I normally like comics far too much to really enjoy the films that are based upon them. Nonetheless, I'd been hearing fairly good things about the new Thor film so thought I'd chance it.
I was pretty interested to see a super hero film directed by Kenneth Branagh, a man famous for his production of Hamlet. Indeed, he conceptualized the film as a Norse/comic-book twist on 'Henry V', stating that both are about a young king who undergoes trials and tribulations: fighting a war, courting a girl from another land, and developing as characters. The Shakespearean comparisons in this production don't end there, however, Tom Hiddlestone described his role, Loki as "a nastier version, of King Lear's Edmund" and Ray Stevenson said of his role as the warrior Volstagg "he's got every bit of that Falstaffian verve and vigour... Falstaff with muscles!". In fact, Thor's associations with Shakespeare go back much further than Kenneth Branagh, when Stan Lee first invented the character back in the early 60's he wrote the Asgardian dialect with a mixture of Shakespearean and King James Bible English.
The old fashioned dialogue was one of the things which was cut in the transfer from comic book to movie. Personally, I think that this, only one in the myriad of small decisions which have to be made when adapting any concept for entirely different art form, was a good one. In fact I think the majority of the directorial decisions were good. The casting was also good. Anthony Hopkins was of course solid but I particularly enjoyed the dynamic between Thor and his brother Loki, played by the unknown (to me at least) Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddlestone. Additionally, while the plot certainly contained some of the usual cliché's of the genre I was pleasantly surprised to find myself unable to predict the entirety of the plot. There were even moments of comedy without ever descending into farce. Indeed, while the film might have started a little slowly and generally been far from perfect, it kept me entertained throughout.
Finally this is one not to be missed by franchise lovers. If you enjoyed Iron Man and Iron Man 2, then Thor indirectly follows on from where they left off and is the prequel to the prequel which will be this summers superhero blockbuster "Captain America: The First Avenger". Just make sure you wait through the end credits for the crucial linking scene.