Kenneth Branagh has had some stick for his directing over the years. This isn’t the case with Thor.
The film centres on the comic book character Thor (Chris Hemsworth) who, after annoying his father (Anthony Hopkins) and starting a war with some nasty blue monsters, the frost giants, is banished from his home, Asgard, to the realm of Earth, and stripped of his godly powers.
…Thor blends in nicely with the reality that Iron Man has created.
Landing in New Mexico he runs into Natalie Portman and gets in trouble with SHIELD operatives, but not all is well in Asgard and Thor must search out his mighty hammer as a new evil presence threatens both realms.
Following in the wake of Jon Favreau’s films, Thor blends in nicely with the reality that Iron Man has created. The difference in subject matter behind both comics was always going to be a problem, but Branagh eases the audience into the world that Thor inhabits through a lengthy back story, set Asgard. After this Thor enters a realm we are already familiar with and with side jokes about Tony Stark, SHIELD and the upcoming Avengers, the film slips sweetly into a recognizable haze.
Best Viewed on Thor’s Day
Even when we head back to the golden towers of the ancient Norse gods for the climactic battle, we have encountered Thor’s charm, humour and power and can imagine him fighting alongside the Avengers. They said magic could never exist in the recent Marvel films, but by separating the realms and basing magic on science, Thor sits well in the reality created by previous heroes and future ones.
Unfortunately, the film isn’t perfect. Relying on CGI and hammy performances by actors who should know better at times, the dialogue does seem too Shakespearean and maybe this is Branagh’s insight into the project, but overall it was an enjoyable slice of the Marvel Picture. With little bits of humour, newcomer Chris Hemsworth’s body, nods to other superheroes (check out the guy on the crane with the bow) and a possibility of a sequel, Thor has set himself up to be a big contender for screen time in the upcoming Avengers.
Oh, and if you have time, stay for the extra scene of footage after the credits. I won’t ruin it for you, but a certain Avenger makes an appearance…
3 1/2 Stars