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Reader review: Thor

2012-07-13 14:31
The trouble with superheroes is they're so hard to relate to. Superhuman by definition, they overshadow us ordinary folk in every way. Batman and Iron Man have their -illions and gadgets, Incredible Hulk is an invincible genius and Green Lantern is a cosmic frat boy.

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Sure, each of them has an origin story we're supposed to identify with but that's not easy to do when they seem to have an endless supply of everything we want. And they get it in such arbitrary ways - spider bites that don't end in the ICU, science experiments, chance encounters - nothing ordinary and certainly no hard work.

That's what makes Thor a better watch than its peers.

More than just the directing, cinematography and brilliant special effects work that it takes to bring a superhero to the big screen, it's the storyline that takes it. Unlike other superhero movies, this one starts at the height of the hero's power - the wealth, power and freedom - and then takes it all away.

For the greater part of the movie, our erstwhile super is quite human. Being so new to it, he has a lot of adjusting to do. The monumental change when he regains his power makes it that much more rewarding because unlike his peers, you get a sense that he earned it. Quite moving, as far as comic book movies go.

Another prize, and this goes for all recent Marvel Studios films, is the feeling that Thor is part of a much larger story.

It was first hinted at in a post-credits sequence at the end of Iron Man 2 and points, in turn, to Captain America. And the  ridiculously buff Chris Hemsworth, who plays the title character, returns to the role in The Avengers.

As opposed to watching several separate storylines in the way comic book movies used to be made, you're watching one massive story unfold from different superheroes' perspectives. Revolutionary.

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