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Movie Reviews
by Jonathan McKee and Todd Pearage

Thor (09/13/2011)


Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence.

Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Ray Stevenson, Anthony Hopkins and Rene Russo

Directed by Kenneth Branagh (Hamlet, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V)


Jonathan's Rating: Rental

Todd's Rating: Worth Buying

Thor is the Mighty God of Thunder...and apparently the Mighty God of box office too.

The epic adventure Thor spans the Marvel Universe from present day Earth to the mystical realm of Asgard. At the center of the story is The Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. As a result, Thor is banished to Earth, where he is forced to live among humans. When the most dangerous villain of his world sends its darkest forces to invade Earth, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero.

TODD’S WORD: I know it’s only May, but with the release of Thor, the summer movie season has officially begun, and once again it’s a Super Hero movie that is taking control of the box office.

JONATHAN’S WORD: Yeah, not a bad start. Thor was fun. It wasn’t anything I’d rush out to the theatre to see… but it was fun.

TODD’S WORD: Since 2000 Marvel Studios has released 24 films and two more coming out this summer (X-men: First Class and Captain America). No one can argue that they have had a few duds (Ghost Rider, Dare Devil and Elektra), but for the most part they have given us one huge summer blockbuster after another (Ironman, X-men, Spiderman and the Fantastic Four). No doubt about it, comic book heroes are box office gold, especially when you include DC Studios (Batman and Superman).

JONATHAN’S WORD: It’s an interesting genre. They’ve had some really great ones (The Spiderman films, the Ironman films), and, yes, a few duds. For me, Thor was a lot more like Fantastic Four. Just okay. I felt like it could have been so much more. It was hit and miss for me.

TODD’S WORD: Well, let’s break it down, starting with the special effects...Thordefinitely did not disappoint. First of all every scene in Asgard looks amazing. Then there are the fight scenes; they are loud, intense and visually spectacular. And we can’t talk about an updated Super Hero movie without talking about the outfits. I have to admit they made Thor with his helmet and hammer look so cool.

JONATHAN’S WORD: I wouldn’t disagree. The effects weren’t bad. That being said, we all know it takes a lot more than a few explosions and cool CGI to make a great film.

TODD’S WORD: You are absolutely right and I still say Thor is a great film. The cast is top notch, the film follows the comic book story closely and Kenneth Branagh brings his Shakespearian flare worthy of the Son of Odin.

JONATHAN’S WORD: The cast was no joke—the film was not short on talent. Hemsworth did good with the lead role. And he was surrounded by seasoned actors: Portman, Hopkins, Russo.

I think the problem I had was with the writing. The film started really slow. I found myself bored with most of the Asgard story. As soon as Thor appeared in modern day America, the film took a turn for the better. As a matter of fact, those first 15 minutes with Thor in modern day times were hilarious. I was thinking, “Okay, this is going to be a great movie!” Humor, action…it was all there. But then it began to trickle off again to the point I looked at my watch a few times.

To me, it was just mediocre.

TODD’S WORD: I didn’t find that at all. Besides another great comic book hero summer blockbuster that is jam packed with action, I loved the journey Thor embarks on. When we first see Thor, he is the overconfident prince who was born to inherit the throne and by the end of the film, he is a humble super hero who has earned the right to lead. With so many movies today not having a “true hero” it was refreshing to see the character and integrity of Thor.

JONATHAN’S WORD: Yeah, true. But I thought the change was a little “forced.” Again. Good performances…I think the script needed work.

TODD’S WORD: As the lights came back up in the theater, my son looked up at me and said, “That is Worth Buying for sure dad!” I have to agree!

JONATHAN’S WORD: Definitely worth the rent!


SHOULD KIDS SEE IT?
I have no reservation about letting your teenagers see this one. I took my 9 year old son and he loved it. There is no sex or sensuality, no drugs or alcohol and very little language.


Conversation Starter
Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):

Q: What’s the message/theme of this movie?

A: There is one scene were Odin describes Thor as a boy—impetuous, selfish and spoiled. Thor demonstrated all of these traits. But, like in real life, his decisions had consequences—severe consequences. Instead of disrespecting his father and rebelling, Thor chose another path: he accepted the consequences for his actions and grew up. It was a solid (and refreshing) theme.

Q: How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this movie?
A: In Colossians 3:20 Paul writes, “Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.”

Verse 21 reads, “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.”

In the film Odin is a bit harsh, but when he speaks, it’s law. When he banishes Thor to Earth, Thor does not fight him or rebel or even pout. He respects his father and accepts his punishment.

Q: How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this movie to actually living out those opinions?
A: Chances are pretty good that your parents will do something this week that you will think is unfair. Fairness isn’t the issue—the question you need to answer is: how will you respond?

What is one thing you can do this week to show your parents you love and respect them?

More Questions Parents Can Ask Their Kids:
  1. Name a time you feel like you were treated unfairly by a parent?
  2. How did you respond?
  3. How should you have responded in that situation?
  4. When you feel like your parents have treated you unfairly, how should you respond?
  5. How can your parents help you do this better?

Wrap Up:
This movie’s storyline is a powerful reminder that how we respond to authority is more important than how we feel about our parents’ rules or punishments.



Jonathan McKee Jonathan McKee, president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over a dozen books including the new Get Your Teenager Talking, The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket, The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide for Teenager, and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers, Connect: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation, and the 10-Minute Talks series. Jonathan speaks and trains at conferences, churches and events across North America, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan and his wife Lori, and their three teenagers Alec, Alyssa and Ashley live in California.



Todd Pearage Todd Pearage is a movie buff at heart, but he's not your traditional film critic. Todd is a blue collar film geek, from his job years ago at Blockbuster to his heartfelt online movie reviews. But Todd isn't just a film geek. He has worked with middle and high school students since 1991 as a youth pastor and is currently on staff at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Todd and his wife Lynda have three children, Brianna, Caleb and Addyson.



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