Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Stellan Skarsgård, Kat Dennings
The Story: The Norse God of Thunder and Lightning, Thor (Hemsworth) is exiled to Earth for his reckless arrogance by his father and Norse God numero uno Odin. On Earth, he meets scientist Jane Foster (Portman) who does not buy his “I Am Thor” schtick. Over time, as Thor attempts to retrieve his hammer, which is also cast to Earth, Jane and her compatriots eventually believe him and aid him in his quest to return to Asgard as well as protect Earth from attack from other vindictive gods.
The Buzz: For a comic book movie, it boasts an impressive cast of heavyweights include Kenneth Branagh taking the director’s chair as well as Oscar winners Portman and Hopkins, playing opposite the relatively unknown but perfectly cast Hemsworth as the God of Thunder himself.
insing says: Like one of the Shakespearean productions that he has helmed and even acted in, director Kenneth Branagh artfully brought the Thor comic canon, with all its complexities and intricacies with as deft a hand as the Bard himself. Well, this is the guy that successfully rejuvenated and contemporizes the Shakespeare's works such as Henry V and Hamlet.
Like any good comic book movie, the earlier part of the movie is dedicated the ‘origin story’ in flashback format—one where feuding celestial father and sons fight and squabble in fantastical royal courts that is Asgard (one of the Nine Realms; Earth is called Midgard) over otherworldly hammers and Doomsday weapons.
Branagh manages to utilize this tried-and-tested storytelling format to effectively convey the aesthetic beauty of the Asgardian realm (from the spectacular Biufrost the rainbow bridge, Heimdall’s Observatory to the bizarre frozen world of Jotunheim with its Frost Giants), thus forming the genesis in which the Thor story to efficaciously take off.
Relative newcomer Chris Hemsworth gives a breakout performance as the titular character: Arrogant, brash and stubborn—the obligatory virtues of spoilt princes. Thor’s conversion to the side of heroic good is predictably lightning fast from the time he was banished, bumps into Portman’s Jane Foster to teaming up with his compatriots on Earth to battle The Destroyer sent forth by his step-brother Loki.
Tom Hiddleston performs the role of Loki, the God of Mischief and a constant foil to Thor with particular aplomb while Anthony Hopkins, as regale as ever, hits the nail on the head as Odin—purveying equal amounts of power and vulnerability where needed. That said, his exchanges with Thor and Loki are what elevate this movie from good to very good.
Possibly the character to look out is Portman’s Foster, the astrophysicist. Surprisingly, she did not deliver a wooden performance as expected. In fact, Portman’s earnest portrayal coupled with Kat Dennings allows Thor to finally see humans as more than these weak mortals… and teach him a thing or two about love, humility and being a hero. One complaint is that Thor’s conversion to being a goody-two-shoe as opposed to his former reckless warrior is rather short. We perfectly get it that the producers want to quickly humanize Thor in the lead up to Joss Whedon’s The Avengers so we cannot begrudge the sloppiness of it all.
With that being said, Thor nonetheless offers up an entertaining cosmic introduction to the realm of Asgard and its heroes. As usual, fan-boys… look out for the many Easter eggs in this flick. You definitely don’t want to miss it.