Movie Review: Thor

Thor (2011)
115 minutes
Rated PG-13
Directed by Kenneth Branagh
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman

Grade: B

Welcome to the summer movie season of 2011! Thor, being released on the first weekend of May, is everything I expect from a summer blockbuster. It was entertaining, fun, and full of action and even comedy. What else could you ask for?

Thor isn’t your typical super-hero. He’s not a mutant like the X-Men or Spider-Man, and he’s not rich with the luxury of gadgets ala Batman and Iron Man. He’s actually the God of Thunder, son of Odin (Hopkins), and brother to Loki (Tom Hiddleston). They live in the world of Asgard and Thor is supposed to be crowned the new king, but on his day of glory his arrogance and brash decision-making (and some foul play by Loki) forces Odin to strip Thor of his powers and exile him from Asgard to Earth to learn humility.

For the rest of the film there are two separate story-lines: the one in New Mexico where Thor has landed and the one in Asgard where Loki is plotting against his own people to become the next King. There is a lot of comedy that ensues when Thor meets a team of scientists led by Jane Foster (Portman). Just like any fish-out-of-water situation, it takes Thor a while to adapt to life on Earth, but what better mentor than the stunning and patient Natalie Portman? Thor quickly (a bit too quickly) becomes domesticated and settled into the life of humans. He seems content cooking eggs and telling stories by the campfire.

Oh, I forgot to mention how S.H.I.E.L.D. was all over this movie. Since Tony Stark is around the New Mexico area, it wasn’t too far for them to travel when they discovered there was an iron hammer stuck in the desert with a very strong radio-active emission. All the pieces are falling together for next year’s insanely anticipated The Avengers film.

Back to Thor, I felt that Chris Hemsworth was a delightful surprise as the God of Thunder. He’s built like a super-hero with his wavy, blonde hair and body-builder looks, but what impressed me more was his comedic timing and charisma. Whether he was challenging the army of Frost Giants with his booming, deep voice or being a goofball and reeling Natalie Portman in with his smile, he owned the film. The rest of the cast in Thor was forgettable, but I guess that’s the case in most super-hero films.

Even though there were some plot holes and a very cheesy conclusion between Hemsworth and Portman, it was pure popcorn fun. The action scenes weren’t spectacular, but they certainly did the job. Thor was a successful adaptation of the comic-book hero and is a fun bridge to the other super-hero films to come.

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