The Thor Thread

So, I saw Thor this weekend, and it was actually quite fun. It also passes the Bechdel Test: Natalie Portman and Kat Dennings discuss SCIENCE! (and good job on the SCIENCE!, Sean), and Portman's Jane Foster may be one of the most well-drawn female scientists who's graced the big screen, simply by virtue of her being allowed to look and behave like a real person. She isn't stuck behind a pair of unfashionable glasses that are meant to oblige us to pretend that Natalie Portman isn't beautiful, nor is she socially awkward and graceless and imbued with the other stereotypically characteristics of the Female Nerd. It's evident that Foster is a smart, dedicated, ambitious, and courageous professional woman—who also happens to be beautiful.

Foster also mentions having an ex-boyfriend, which was perhaps just a throwaway line to explain why she'd have men's clothes and an identity to lend to Thor, but that seemingly minor detail is strangely effective in fleshing out the character and underscoring that she's a complete human being, with a personal life (and quite possibly a sex life), in addition to her professional life, that existed pre-Thor.

As regards The Big Canon Controversy, i.e. the casting of the amazing Idris Elba (pictured above) as Heimdall, the gatekeeper for Thor's home of Asgard, well, you all know how I feel about that sort of thing—and, frankly, if one can suspend disbelief to get one's head 'round a magical hammer but can't get one's head 'round a black man playing an imaginary deity BECAUSE CANON!!!!!!eleventy!!1!, one really ought to consider that there is a line at which "canon" starts to operate in the same way as "tradition" to entrench privilege.

There were people who threatened to boycott the film over the casting of Elba as Heimdall (and/or the casting of Tadanobu Asano as Hogun the Grim), to whom all I can say is: Good. I'm glad your racism ruined a fun movie experience for you.

Overall, the movie was pretty decent—a bit of mindless fun. It looks pretty, and the special effects have a nice sort of gauzy retro feel that evokes the 1980's Clash of the Titans and the 1983 Lou Ferrigno classic Hercules. There were a couple of belly laughs, and, despite the absurdly compressed timeline inherent to all such films (sure, everyone can totally become a new person in three days, and doesn't every gal fall in love with an alien titan in like two seconds?), the story's pretty good. Loki's reversal is maybe a little thin, but, again, still quite strong for this sort of film.

My biggest complaint, frankly, is that Kenneth Branagh had Rene Russo (!) on board and didn't do a thing with her. More Rene!

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