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Overall Rating

Awesome: 14.67%
Worth A Look: 36%
Pretty Bad: 2.67%
Total Crap: 0%

7 reviews, 33 user ratings

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by Erik Childress

"By Granthar's Hammer, It's Pretty Good"
4 stars

Now that Iron Man was a big success, Hollywood was able to finally bow to the comic world's wet dream idea of creating an Avengers movie. Of course that meant introducing another spate of characters into a national consciousness whose names don't end with "man." They might be able to get away with re-casting Bruce Banner for the third time in a decade and the forthcoming Captain America could certainly be picked out in a lineup. But you could bet that the general national consciousness on the God of Thunder lies somewhere in-between their recollection of his appearances in a bad Hulk TV movie and Adventures in Babysitting. As we prepare for an onslaught of superhero projects this summer (three from Marvel and one from DC), the skepticism of leading off with an unknown headliner, a director who has never tackled a budget over $45 million and early footage that seemed more silly than exciting, was certainly justified. That it turns out to be a well-paced piece of popcorn entertainment though, there is ample credit to go around.

In the realm of Asgard, the mighty warrior Odin (Anthony Hopkins) helped thrust back the mighty Frost Giants from overtaking the nine realms. Sit down, it gets better. With peace achieved, Odin is able to focus on his two sons, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) & Loki (a quite good Tom Middleston), and their preparation for one of them to eventually take over the throne. Thor is the natural choice, a great warrior himself that, physically, represents the more authoritative presence you want in your Norse-like throne thumpers. But Thor has a lot to learn about being a leader. When an infiltration by their old enemies interrupts his coronation, Thor believes in payback. His arrogance and defiance of his father leads Odin to banish him and his powerful hammer from Asgard to the realm of Midgard, or Earth.

Now, in the form of a human body, Thor literally runs into a group of scientists studying energy phenomenons in the desert. They include Professor Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), political science major Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). After a brief hospital stay, the trio continue running into him (again, literally) and the Professor becomes amused how closely Thor's stabs at conversation resemble the mythological stories he remembered as a child. As specialty government branch, S.H.I.E.L.D., becomes involved snatching up any traces of information over the newfound New Mexico crater, Jane agrees to help Thor retrieve his weapon of choice and the humility that will ascend him. Literally.

The stage is set for any number of dimensions to take the material, both as deathly serious but fantastical familial betrayals and as comedic fish-out-of-water slapstick. In some ways, the film is very much the 21st century equivalent of the Masters of the Universe film with a powerful otherworldly hero and his sidekicks taking on his enemies off his home turf and onto ours. Credit Branagh though for expertly balancing the humor as a by-product of Thor's lesson plan rather than just winking towards a mockery of a very mockable background story. The director knows his way around a Shakespearian tale or two and the scenes in Asgard, even with patriarch Hopkins yelling at another son for not living up to the family name, never lapses into self-parody. It's a simple arc that sci-fi TV writers, Ashley Miller & Zack Stentz, and Fantastic Four 2 screenwriter, Don Payne, connect with the bare minimum of gravitas, but Branagh and the actors are still able to sell.

Much of that credit deserves to go to Chris Hemsworth, whose limited credits include playing a red herring baddie in A Perfect Getaway and Kirk's father in 2009's Star Trek prologue, but turns in a true star-making performance here. More than just the kind of moviestar that is made from making the ladies swoon, Hemsworth has a natural charisma in the role that makes him charming even when he's being arrogant. There is never a moment as Thor where we feel we are just watching another spoiled pretty boy learning a life lesson. When he says he means "no disrespect" we believe him. Not because it is written, but because of the unforced charm that Hemsworth owns in the role.

In your cinematic Marvel rankings, Thor splits the difference between the two Iron Man films. A fine introduction to an arrogant warmonger who becomes a true hero when he decides to defend the helpless en route to a less than stellar and rushed final act. Spider-Man, Hulk and Iron Man all had that problem and Thor certainly follows that tradition. By no standards a classic of comic book filmmaking, the overall feeling of Thor is much like being a part of an ensemble TV show that has decided to focus an episode solely on one of its supporting players. Much like Iron Man 2, the film inserts a lot of in-jokes, cameos and setup for the eventual Avengers project; a tactic that will spare us an excess of getting-the-team-together montages but also reminds us that Thor is just a small part of a much larger universe.

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originally posted: 05/06/11 00:15:51
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User Comments

1/23/19 morris campbell solid superhero flick 4 stars
11/18/16 deepak koi he 2 stars
10/02/14 Horror Lover 3.5 stars. Solid enough comic book movie. 4 stars
6/24/14 Haley S. I loved this movie. It was funny and entertaining, and the plot was good. 5 stars
1/21/13 dmasz91 my fave superhero movie ever! and funny 5 stars
9/01/12 Dr.Lao Not as good as "Captain America" but better than "The Fantastic Four" 3 stars
7/21/12 Sean Harrison As if William Shakespeare wrote a superhero story. 4 stars
1/28/12 Kathryn Martinez Plot was enticing, but I thought the ending could have been different. 4 stars
12/24/11 debbie hodgdon so funny, great graphics, epic, my favorite!!! 5 stars
10/19/11 Magic While not bad, still pointless, only serves as a long advertisement to the Avengers movie. 3 stars
9/27/11 sake02mo Sasa Pudar 5 stars
9/11/11 Captain00Kirk Marvel succeeds yet again! 4 stars
9/08/11 Pret Not bad, but still yet another only half-good comic-book adaptation, something else please 3 stars
6/22/11 KingNeutron Thor(attitude) is a little too much like the guy from the "I'm on a horse" commercial. 3.5 3 stars
6/12/11 Rich Great costumes and sets! 5 stars
6/02/11 Chris White Best parts in the film are with Loki. 4 stars
5/30/11 g. Great movie. 4 stars
5/28/11 Shaun A A must-see epic film worthy of the character. 5 stars
5/24/11 Koitus I thought it was a good movie. Nothing "obnoxious / stupid" in the writing. Not great tho. 4 stars
5/22/11 Apollo Really really liked it. 4 stars
5/22/11 Darkstar Best Marvel movie so far. 5 stars
5/21/11 Faraz Fun movie. The armour looks real !! 4 stars
5/13/11 kaz LOVED IT!!! 5 stars
5/13/11 peter jokeson I agree about the lack of control Branagh had - But I only agree with that! Fun film 4 stars
5/11/11 gc Great action sequences, Hopkins was perfect for the role as Odin,overall very well done 4 stars
5/10/11 damalc i'll be damned. so that's what was in Marsellus' briefcase. 5 stars
5/10/11 Butt Boring. Really. Damn. Boring 2 stars
5/09/11 Leeee sit back, smoke a dun, and enjoy... 5 stars
5/08/11 jim huggins a respectful hero story admirably done. 5 stars
5/08/11 action movie fan not faithful to the comic but still fun to watch 3 stars
5/08/11 Toni Lots of fun! 4 stars
5/07/11 mr.mike Branagh brings it home. 4 stars
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  06-May-2011 (PG-13)
  DVD: 13-Sep-2011


  DVD: 13-Sep-2011

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