The Under-Ranked: Thor
For the past five years, Marvel has unofficially kicked off the summer movie season with their fantastic lineup of superheroes. With big names like Wolverine, Spider-Man and Iron Man at their disposal, they have dominated the last half-decade of setting the bar high for the beginning of the summer. This weekend, they will attempt to do the same with a new film franchise based on Thor, about the strong and cocky god of thunder who gets kicked out of Asgard and forced to live on Earth. But before you start off the summer with this big-budget spectacle, check out some of these under-ranked films from the stars of Thor.
While most of the other actors portraying members of The Avengers team are well-known actors, such as Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and Samuel L. Jackson, the casting of actor Chris Hemsworth as Thor is odd considering he’s a relatively unknown actor, besides a small part in J.J. Abram’s Star Trek reboot. However in 2009, Hemsworth was also in a fun, cheesy horror movie called A Perfect Getaway. The film focused on two couples, one couple comprised of Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich, the other of Timothy Olymphant and Kiele Sanchez, who while on vacation in Hawaii hear rumors that there is a couple on their island who are murdering visitors. The two couples suspect another couple they have seen around, which includes Hemsworth. Both couples work together to try to protect themselves, but one of the couples might not be telling the entire truth about their vacation. The first two-thirds of A Perfect Getaway plays like a typical whodunit horror film, however with the answer revealed in the final third, the film gets insane and just has fun with the ridiculous premise. A Perfect Getaway is just that, a great hour and a half to have at the movies when you want something that is simply fun.
Natalie Portman has followed her year of success and Oscar win for Black Swan with a series of simple, fun choices. Already this year, Portman has starred with Ashton Kutcher in the romantic comedy No Strings Attached and in the medieval stoner film Your Highness with James Franco and Danny McBride. Now she seemingly continues this trend with Thor, as Jane Foster, a scientist who finds Thor after he shows up in New Mexico. But a few years ago, she gave a great dramatic performance in a short film directed by Wes Anderson called Hotel Chevalier. The short film, which is only thirteen minutes, was to be a prologue to Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited that focused on Jason Schwartzman’s character Jack Whitman, and a vague relationship he had with Portman’s unnamed character. The short film is very simple and much is implied to the audience, but not told, almost as if the audience is watching in on something they shouldn’t be there for. After holing himself up in the Hotel Chevalier for quite some time, he receives a call to say a woman is coming up to meet him unannounced. Through Schwartzman and Portman’s characters, we instantly create our own history for these characters with the evidence we are given and makes for a fantastic intro to his character in The Darjeeling Limited. Short and sweet, Hotel Chevalier may be some of Anderson’s best work.
Every year, Woody Allen puts out a new film. More often than not, his yearly films are disappointing, considering Allen’s incredible past. But every few years, one comes along that is actually pretty good. Last year, Thor’s Anthony Hopkins, who plays Thor’s father Odin, starred in one of Allen’s better recent works, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger. In the film, we follow a couple who was happily married for decades, played by Hopkins and Gemma Jones, when Hopkins decides he no longer wants a part in their marriage and marries a call girl soon after. The film also focuses on their daughter, played by Naomi Watts, who married a previously successful writer, played by Josh Brolin, who are now having relationship problems of their own. Most notably, the temptations of cheating with their spouses, Watts with Antonio Banderas and Brolin with Freida Pinto. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger is self-deprecating and biting, like much of Allen’s work and shows that the grass is always greener on the other side. While not as great as the Annie Hall’s and Manhattan’s in Allen’s catalogue, it is a nice reminder of what Allen can do.