Tuesday, September 27, 2011
DVD Review: Thor (Blu-ray)
A couple of weeks ago, yet another member of the "Avengers Assembled" club made his way to home theaters with the release of Thor on DVD and Blu-ray. It's officially "Hammer Time" (sorry about that, but I think everyone in the media is contractually obligated to make the M.C. Hammer reference) as Marvel's God of Thunder enters the battlefield. But is the flick that perfect storm of action and adventure waiting to electrify comic book fans and filmgoers alike? Or is simply more Hollywood bluster, amounting to little more than a special effects laden tempest in the proverbial teapot?
So what is it that Thor can possible add to the Marvel cinematic formula? Well, both Iron Man movies, The Incredible Hulk, and even Captain America: The First Avenger, for all their action, try to stay fairly grounded. Those movies still feature good men fighting evil men. For all their powers and talents, they're still human heroes fighting human threats. With Thor, we get action on a cosmic scale. We get to see gods fighting against gods, with not just the fate of one world hanging in the balance, but the fate of multiple worlds. It's a perfect lead-in to The Avengers ... because if you're going to pull together "Earth's Mightiest Heroes", it's a safe bet that their going to be teaming up to prevent a threat of planetary levels.
The plot may sound overly dramatic, but it's a great fit for the character. Chris Hemsworth is perfect as Thor, embodying the role flawlessly, while Tom Hiddleston's Loki very nearly steals the show. It's great to know that both actors will return not only in The Avengers, but in Thor 2 (due out in 2013) as well. Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, and Joshua Dallas are all over-the-top as the legendary Warriors Three, kept somewhat in line by Jaimie Alexander's Sif. And Anthony Hopkins' Odin fills the screen with power and authority. Admittedly, I think Natalie Portman's portrayal as Jane Foster came off a little tepid, especially in comparison to the bold and blustery Asgardians, but it still managed to click. And for Avengers fans, there's a small, uncredited cameo from Jeremy Renner's Clint Barton (a.k.a. Hawkeye) and Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury.
Other features on the Blu-ray release of Thor include feature commentary by director Kenneth Branagh, eleven deleted scenes (many of which help to expand on the development of the Asgardians), movie trailers, a short "Road to The Avengers" showing the introductions of The Avengers cast from Comic-Con 2010, and a host of extra behind-the-scenes features showcasing the development of Thor from concept to screen. While I was disappointed in "Road to The Avengers", as it's little more that a 3 minute hype montage, the other special features (like the 20+ minute "From Asgard to Earth" more than make up for it. And hey, what Marvel movie would be complete without Stan "The Man" Lee popping up? Aside from his cameo in the film, Lee manages to work his way into a couple of the bonus features to discuss his thoughts on the film and the character.
If you're any sort of comic book fan, you can't go wrong picking up Thor on Blu-ray. The movie is true to the comic and features a lot of great little extras for those in the know. And even if you aren't a comic book fan (or just don't want to admit it in public), the movie has plenty of big action and sentimental moments that should appeal to most audiences.
FINAL SCORE: A