Yesterday, I (shudder) drove down to Massachusetts to reconnect with an old friend — and we went to see Thor.
In IMAX 3-D.
And damn, was it good. Probably the best Marvel superhero movie after the first Iron Man.
My friend has zero interest in superhero movies, and she loved it. It was very Shakespearean — which should come as no surprise, considering that it was directed by Kenneth Branagh.
I admit that I went in having my doubts. For one, in the comics, Odin is portrayed as almost a giant, and I don’t think of Anthony Hopkins as a particularly large man. Secondly, the actor who plays Heimdall The All-Seeing, Sentry Of The Gods, is a Britsh black man — not exactly what one would expect from a Viking god. And the guy who played Volstagg The Voluminous, the extremely large member of The Warriors Three, and open Falstaff knockoff, was not only not sumo-sized, but had played The Punisher — Marvel’s Rambo knockoff who came out years before Rambo. I thought it was a role made for John Rhys-Davies.
But I was pleasantly astonished. Anthony Hopkins — is the Allfather. Idris Elba brings such an amazing presence — he just exudes strength and solemnity and resolve and gravity that I can’t imagine any other actor pulling it off. And Ray Stevenson (Volstagg)… well, he was OK.
This was my first IMAX experience. The glasses were a bit odd over my regular glasses, and the 3-D effects reminded me of the Magic Eye books, where I could often see the “layers” of the 3-D depths and it got a bit blurry around the peripheries, but it was impressive. I dunno if “almost double the ticket price for non-3-D” impressive, but for some films, I can definitely see it being worth it.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Marvel movie without some great Easter Eggs for True Believers, and subtle references to other Marvel movies and characters. The Army “Archer” is named Barton — as in Clint Barton, or Hawkeye. When the Destroyer first shows up, someone speculates that it’s “one of Stark’s” — as in Tony Stark, Iron Man.One guy mentions a scientist who was doing research into gamma rays, and now nobody knows where he is — a scientist named, I suspect, Bruce “The Incredible Hulk” Banner.
And tying them all together? SHIELD.
Oh, and stick around through the credits. As every single Marvel movie teases the next one, this one is no exception.
The culmination? One phrase.
Joss Whedon’s The Avengers.
I’ll SO be in my bunk.