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Weekend Disappointment Pt. II: Thor

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Weekend Disappointment Pt. II: Thor

It wasn't, like, the third Matrix or Spiderman bad, but Thor still sucked.  You wait for these comic book movies to come out because if you're a boy you grew up with them, and if you're as old as I am, there was a time when cutting-edge technology meant (the original) Clash of the Titans.  Being able to recreate these fantastic worlds on film was never happening, but now we live in the CGI age, and you'd think that filmmakers could combine decades of moviemaking with artistic vision and terrific stories and make a truly remarkable movie.  But you'd be wrong.

Not sure whether I should put "spoiler alert."  I don't think so.  If you can't figure out what the narrative arc of Thor is going to be, you're kinda beyond my help. Superheroes save worlds.  That's what they do.  There is a bad guy to vanquish, an inner torment to come to terms with, and an ultimate sacrifice that must be made for the greater good.  Superheroes are Christ-like, saviors of man, but ones who can fly, shoot lasers from their eyes, kick ass, whatever. They are more than men; they are gods.  And in the case of Thor, of course, quite literally.

Which is sort of the problem.  If you look at the glut of recent comic book/superhero movies, and you divide the successes from the turkeys, you see a definite pattern.  The best of these are about "regular" people doing heroic things. This is the template for most good fiction: the ordinary finding him/herself in the extraordinary.  It's all about the goddamn Hero's Journey, really.  But the superhero genre takes it to an extreme.

This isn't a matter of opinion.  Both Batman movies and the first two Spiderman movies are great.  1978's Superman II, Ironman, what else?  I'm sure there is something.  Oh, the last Hulk wasn't awful.  Wasn't great.  But wasn't awful.  So the ones that suck: Fantastic Four (both of them), Iron Man II, Superman Returns.  I don't know what to make of the X-Men movies.  I was never an X-Men fan.  Some seem OK.  Some are dreadful.  But I do know one thing: magic is stupid.  At least to anyone over 6.

Thor has a lot of magic, and it's goofy, and there are goofy names like "Loki" and "Mjolnir," and I know that this is part of the mythology and to exclude would not be authentic, but it's still silly to listen to.  Of course, men in tights is pretty silly too.  But there are ways around this.  One, you make the tights black.  Black costumes are cool.  Except for the Punisher.  Which might've been a cool comic, but the movies all suck.  Or you can go campy, like Spiderman. Tough call.

I guess it comes down to the disbelief you are willing to suspend.  For me Batman, Ironman, and Spiderman all have that "regular" guy thing in common.  I know there are discrepancies in this theory.  For instance, Spiderman III.  But the problem there was thinking going from Chabon to Sam Rami's brother wouldn't represent a precipitous drop-off.  So, yeah, it's the writing.  That, and no one can take baby blue seriously.  I mean, until Superman gets a new costume, no reboot is going to work.

Writing.  You pay a guy like Mike Chabon and you are getting a killer script. Then again, Kenneth Branaugh directs Thor, so maybe pedigree and talent doesn't matter.  

Thor was no win going in.  Askgar and Frost Giants?  Hmmm. 

I'm probably being too harsh.  It isn't an awful film.  It entertains and there are worse ways to kill a couple hours.  And it moves everything toward the Avengers movie, I suppose.  Which fanboys are going nuts over, but I never was into the Avengers so much.

What's my point?  I don't have one.  I didn't like the movie as much as I'd hoped. And with Holden, I don't get to see as many movies as I used to.  But if I wasn't pissed off about this, I'd be pissed off about something else.  Anyway, I have to get going to the gym.  Because even though I didn't like Thor, I wouldn't mind looking like the guy, and I haven't given up my six pack, 18-inch bicep dreams.  Who knows, maybe one day I'll still get my chance to save the world...


At May 9, 2011 at 9:47 AM , Blogger Jarret Cooper said...

To my mind the two superhero movies that matter are "Superman" (has held up much better than II, though you really should see Donner's cut of II) and "The Dark Knight". After that they all tend to fall into either the "cute" or "fail" categories.

At May 9, 2011 at 10:17 AM , Blogger troubledwaters said...

I've always believed that superheroes come in at the last minute, and make a fabulous save. Like when you have a lousy report due in a couple of hours, and they rewrite it and make it great just in the nick of time.

Often these heroes used to be regular guys, or even pulled themselves from a terrible life of drugs and crime--Perhaps that act alone was a superhero move.

In any case, having a six pack is not a prerequisite for being a superhero.

At May 9, 2011 at 10:42 AM , Blogger tom said...

Best super-hero movie of the this decade? "Kick Ass" hands down. As for disappointments with the new mythology, wait for the Avengers. You might have to warm up your cynical hater muscle so you don't over-extend it.

At May 9, 2011 at 3:34 PM , Blogger Joe Clifford said...

Agree. Kick Ass is fucking awesome!

At May 10, 2011 at 1:28 AM , Blogger Noah said...

Thanks for saving me ten bucks. Can't wait to hear what you think of the Green Lantern movie. Hollywood is digging deep.


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