Life ain’t easy when you’re the son of the Asgardian king. Well, actually, it’s pretty easy, but arrogant young Thor (Chris Hemsworth: Ca$h) makes life hard for himself.
A hothead, Thor wants nothing more than to fight and smirk the days away, counting the seconds until he inherits his father’s crown. When this attitude incites a war in Asgard, papa Odin (Anthony Hopkins: The Rite) puts his foot down, casting Thor from the kingdom and stripping him of his superhuman powers.
Falling from grace, and the sky, Thor lands in the middle of New Mexico, where he runs into a roving band of astrophysicists. Or, they run into him, with their astral-phenomenon-chasing RV. Led by comely Jane (Natalie Portman: No Strings Attached), the scientists bring Thor to a hospital, where he claims godly powers and yells for his hammer Mjollnir.
With help from Jane, Thor discovers some humility and an affinity for defending humanity. It’s a good thing, since Thor’s brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston: Archipelago) has decided to eradicate Thor and his earthling friends.
Director Kenneth Branagh (Wallander) treats his comic book adaptation like a goofy adaptation of Shakespeare, where mystical hammers replace rapiers. He’s a great visual stylist, making comic book staples like the bifrost — a rainbow that transports the Asgardians in the comics — into a colorful glacier-like bridge.
Hemsworth is a worthy hero, all hard muscle and flowing hair. Surprisingly, he’s also a pretty good comedic actor, playing up Thor’s godly arrogance and medieval manners. At the local hash joint, he downs a cup of coffee, smashes the mug on the ground and demands another! from the flustered waitress.
Portman also does some good work, infusing the thankless role of comic book love interest with spunk and intellect. Her understanding and gentle corrections tame the savage god.
Rounding out the cast are Thor’s warriors, a motley trio of male warriors and one liberated female. Their love for their arrogant friend is believable and touching.
The film fits in well with the Marvel universe. As in last year’s Iron Man II, an intro to the next film follows the credits.
Thor isn’t perfect, but it’s a great popcorn flick filled with heroic adventure, fun effects and humor. Not bad for an arrogant superhero who hammers his foes into oblivion.