Thor (2011)

Screen Shot 2013-12-21 at 8.32.03 PMStarring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Colm Feore, Ray Stevenson, Jaimie Alexander, Joshua Dallas, Kat Dennings, Rene Russo, Antony Hopkins

Directed by: Kenneth Branagh

PG-13. 115 mins

An enjoyable, albeit perfunctory, entry into the Marvel canon. Combining both mythological and modern elements, Thor is a film that takes place both on Earth and the mystical realm of Asgard. Chris Hemsworth is charming as The Mighty Norse God of Thunder, a strong but arrogant warrior whose recklessness has reignited an ancient war between the realms. After his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), casts Thor out of Asgard, he must learn how to live on Earth without alarming the human population. Meanwhile, Thor’s brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has usurped the throne and devises a vengeful plan, all thanks to a tremendous chip on his shoulder spurned by jealousy. With the help of a beautiful scientist (Natalie Portman) and her research team (Stellan Skarsgård & Kat Dennings), Thor must save both realms and finally learn what it means to be a hero.

With plenty of humour and self-awareness, this is a welcome addition to the growing list of superhero blockbusters. Branagh and his enthusiastic cast make what could have been a dissociative story actually quite relatable, especially when Thor finds it hard to understand the culture and customs of Earth. The battle sequences are superb, though audiences may have been expecting more action and less dialogue. Unfortunately, Branagh’s direction leaves something to be desired in the style department, but if the idea was to create an almost Shakespearean feel, then he’s succeeded.

Overall, Thor isn’t as thrilling as it could be, but perhaps that’s because we’re dealing with immortals here. There’s almost too much exposition, though the characters are likeable enough that it certainly manages to whet the appetite for a sequel. Thor succeeds thanks to it’s pop aestethics, playful tone and a refreshing dose of comic relief – * * *

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