I saw Thor on opening night. And I didn’t write the review that night because, well, I got home at 2:30 in the morning and had to be at a class at 8:30 the next day. And then I didn’t write the review the next day, because when I got home at 8 pm, I was welcomed by a couple dozen people shouting “Surprise!” in honor of my thirtieth birthday. And after two days of not reviewing a movie, you sort of start to lose interest.
But I wanted to write this review because this movie is, for reasons that completely escape me, actually getting good reviews. I don’t get it. So I’m going to set the record straight with my top five list of ways to ruin a fantasy/sci-fi movie:
- Start it with a cheesy voice-over exposition monologue – I’m trying to think of a movie that was actually made better by this particular plot device, and I’m having trouble. Because the information can always comes out in some other way. In The Fellowship of the Ring, that entire sequence was rehashed, almost word for word after Gandalf throws the ring into the fire. In The One, Jason Statham does the same for Jet Li. Star Wars I guess comes close, but those prologues are all short. No, the best way to ruin a fantasy/sci-fi movie is to give your exposition in this way.
- Make your characters parodies of themselves – The first thing we see Thor do is wink smugly at the ladies like a fucking douche, treating his coronation like a joke. Okay, I get it, he has to have a flaw to overcome, but remember, what makes a character interesting is internal conflict. Thor has none, until the movie’s midpoint, when he makes a run for his hammer. Only then does he cease to be a complete idiot.
- Make sure your exposition scenes make no sense whatsoever - The first thing we see Odin say to a young Thor and Loki is that one of them will be king. Well no fucking duh. And wait, doesn’t the throne go to the first in line? Why the hell is Odin telling Loki that “one of them will be king,” when the only thing that would have Loki be king is if Thor died. That makes no sense.
- Make your exposition really, really obvious - Thor puts on shirt. On shirt – which apparently hasn’t been washed – is a sticky nametag that says “Hello, my name is ____”. There is a name written on it, but I don’t remember it because the name is not at all important to the story. Jane Foster rips it off saying, “Oh, that’s my ex. Good with science, bad with relationships.” Doh!
- Make sure that those obvious exposition scenes serve no point whatsoever - To make that scene even worse – it served absolutely no function. Perhaps to establish that Jane is single? Yeah, we figured that one out when there weren’t any guys around as she was swooning all over blonde hunk exhibit A. But good-with-science-bad-with-relationships-ex never appears in the movie, nor does his existence or lack thereof show up as a driving factor in any way. The only thing this scene was used for was as a false alias to break Thor out of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s maximum security center, and the connection was about as strong as a watered-down Miller Lite.