Bizarrely lackluster, and directed with an unexpected lack of the unexpected. Oh Kenneth Branagh, where art thou? To which realm hast thine (thy??) creativity been banished?
Good cast. All did their best with a disappointingly average script. Ray Stevenson, who was FUCKING FANTASTIC, in the now-defunct HBO Series, Rome, is entertaining as always, though totally under-utilized and unable to show his surprisingly staggering range. Same goes for Idris Elba, whom I still worship since his days on another brilliant but gone HBO series: The Wire. I should also add that I found Chris Hemsworth charming and charismatic as Thor, but really still have no idea what he's capable of as an actor after playing this narrowly drawn character who's given zero opportunity for subtlety. As for Oscar-winner Natalie Portman...? Well, this film is the ultimate proof of her range -- she can not only play complicated multi-faceted characters, but also characters that require so little depth that they can be played by any number of people and it wouldn't have made a difference. (Though I suppose between this film and her earlier one -- which I just REFUSED to spend $$ on -- with Ashton Kutcher, No Strings Attached, she has achieved the right to say "See? I do have a lighter side!" And maybe that was the point...? That and the right to say she worked with Branagh on his least interesting project? Just looking for an explanation here....)
Now if you really wanna see Branagh do good work, rent the British tv series: Wallander, in which he plays an emotionally fraying Swedish detective. Sounds cliche, but he gives it a ton of complexity. It's based on a series of novels about the same character. I'd never heard of the novels prior to renting the series on netflix, but apparently they're quite well known outside of America.
Also, if you rent the series, you'll catch Tom Hiddleston, the actor who plays Thor's brother Loki in the film. In Wallander, he plays one of Branagh's character's co-workers, and you'll barely be able to tell it's the same guy. Probably Branagh's best move was casting this guy.
In terms of the kids -- wouldn't bring 'em, at least not any under the age of 12. (Especially not with what movie tickets cost these days. Just ain't worth it.) My 7 yr old was occasionally frightened (though granted, he's a pretty sensitive kid), but both he and my 10 yr old daughter were fidgety and bored and frequently asked if it was almost over. They seemed annoyed at us, like we mislead them into thinking we were going to see a cool action film about a cool superhero, and instead, we'd tricked them into a movie for "grownups." The pacing was uneven and there were several tangible lags, even for my husband and myself, and we're big fans of the superhero genre.
Just kinda wondering... what the hell happened.
Not a horrible film, but seriously -- you could wait for the DVD, watch it in your living room, and you'd be a lot less annoyed with it.
So bummed. Had higher expectations, as Miller and Stentz are excellent writers and also great guys. And Branagh...? He's capable of brilliance.
Looks like he coulda used a bolt of inspirational lightning on this one, and it never came...