I’ll admit, I wasn’t too impressed with Thor after first seeing the trailers and TV spots during its theatrical run. This hurt me, as I really wanted to see Marvel’s mythological hero and Avengers member soar onscreen, as he’s always been one of my favorite comic book heroes, especially in his many animated iterations. But after watching the Blu-ray, I was pleasantly surprised to find out I was wrong about the movie, and that it turned out to be a fun, action-packed feature that Marvel fans and newcomers will enjoy, and easily makes me more excited than ever for the upcoming Avengers film.
Like my fellow reviewer Chris Pandolfi, I actually enjoyed both the on and off Asgard adventures of our hammer hero, and agreed with his take when he reviewed the theatrical version back in May. Here’s what he said about the movie back then, and you can check out his full review right HERE:
“Kenneth Branagh’s Thor is essentially two movies fighting for the same space, and only one of them emerges victorious. That would be the one that takes place in the title character’s realm of Asgard. What it boils down to is a reliable but exciting feud between brothers over who is more worthy to ascend the throne. In the one corner, we have Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who in Norse mythology would be the god of thunder; a mighty warrior, he’s brave yet impulsive, quick-tempered, and somewhat arrogant. He’s the favorite of his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), and it’s widely accepted that he will someday become king. In the other corner, we have his brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who casts a suspicious eye on Thor’s reckless behavior and knows deep down that he would be a better choice as king.”
Thor looks and sounds fantastic on Blu-ray, which serves to really bring you into Marvel’s mythological world and its inhabitants. The picture is crisp and clean, showing off any and all details (especially the creepy/feminine looking darkened eyelashes of star Chris Hemsworth) and special effects clearly. The DTS-HD 7.1 sound here is just as heroic, making every bit of dialogue and action (the Destroyer blowing things up with its beam comes to mind) ring through your speakers loud and clear.
The special features also come in and save the day, as there are some pretty impressive ones presented here. There’s audio commentary with director Kenneth anagh, as he takes you into all the intricate details of the film as you watch. There’s twenty-some minutes of deleted scenes, some which I feel should’ve been kept in the film. “Marvel one-shot: The Consultant”, features a small adventure of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Coulson meeting with another agent to discuss who to replace Emil Blonsky (aka The Abomination from The Incredible Hulk film) with on the Avengers team. They decide to send a consultant of sorts to speak to General Ross, which ties into the after the credits scene from the Hulk film in which Tony Stark and Ross meet in a bar. I also liked the “Road to the Avengers” feature, that shows off a short promotional bit that talks about next year’s Avengers film.
OtOther cool features include “From Asgard to Earth”, which takes us into the design of Asgard and how most of it was made with real sets versus the typical green screen. “Assembling the Troupe” gives us a short look at each of the main cast members. “Hammer Time” goes into how the crew went about creating Thor’s hammer Mjolnir, while also talking about its many powers. “Music of the Gods” shows a small interview with film composer Patrick Doyle, while “A Conversation” shows film writer J. Michael Straczynski and Stan Lee visiting the set while giving their take on the film.
Thor is an all around great superhero action film that fans and newcomers can get into and love. While it does have a lot of predictable and clichéd parts, it’s better to just go along with them and enjoy the ride. Director Kenneth Branagh does a great job balancing making this a viable standalone feature yet manages to sprinkle plenty of foreshadowing to what we all know is in store for the character and his place in Marvel’s expanding universe. Chris Hemsworth plays the mythological hero to near-perfection, and it will be great to see him mix with the rest of the Avengers when they finally assemble next year. If you’re looking for a fun, action-packed movie that exceeds expectations, then cross over the rainbow bridge into Asgard for an adventure of Shakespearean proportions.
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