Thor a la Shakespeare
Is Thor going to be good?
Oh yes – It is good!
Aspredicted correctly, Thor is first and foremost a triumph of Kenneth Branagh's talent and mastership for blending epics with humor. It is actually his most entertaining filmwork since his Shakespearian champagne cocktail Much Ado about Nothing (which I publicly declared as one of my three lifetime favorite films already, and I do it again now!). I urge you to go and see that film before watching Thor, just to get the vibration of Branagh doing Shakespeare.
Because – yes, you guessed it – this is exactly what Branagh does: He directs Thor like he directs Shakespeare, with all the grandezza and all the Dionysic party atmosphere, tragic villains and extra-light romance.
And with the best comedic timing I have seen in ages! Just like Mark said: "that scene of him with the coffee cup at a greasy spoon diner is priceless"… and there is more of that – much more! There were moments in which I was close to begging for an oxygen tank.
They simply did what obviously had to be done with a God-like creature like Thor: have him talk Shakespeare, crash Shakespeare into the 21st century, smoke some weed and kill all the wine. On all levels. The sound editing and mix deserve an Academy Award, the design of Asgard is overwhelming, and they even manage to create a completely artificial character like the Destroyer in a way that actually is scary.
Talking about Aacademy Awards: this is THE opportunity to consider Patrick Doyle, Branagh's long time composer and arranger, who again tailors a fantastic and epic orchestral film score to every single beat of the story.
Last not least – for all of you who seek for perfect examples of The Hero's Journey, like Christopher Vogler describes it, and the archetypes of characters, this film will provide you with a lot of stuff to analyze and teach and learn on multiple levels.
Thor is one of those films, that could have easily been ruined by bringing in the wrong director. I dare say Branagh is the only one around right now who could have lifted this hammer – and he did. No one else directs grown men and women to turn back into boys and girls so credibly and so passionately as he does. He detects every tiny spark of joy or anger or grief in any given line of the script (or in between) and turns it into a visual and emotional eruption – of acting, that is!
These actors rehearsed with their director!
And I promise, they did not regret one single second of it.
And I bet, if you let them play the whole script on a theatre stage again, they would play it exactly the same way… the chemistry is perfect!
Thor is what the big screen is made for – even if the 3D is only "OK". So don't forget the popcorn, and don't worry: no knowledge about the Thor universe or the northern mythology is required in advance – all you need is in the film.
And one more thing – stay seated! This film is not over when the credits roll.