If, like me, you’re unfamiliar with the mythology of this Marvel Comics superhero, there’s a good chance you’ll be underwhelmed by Thor. Based on the handsome God of Thunder who comes decked out in his armor and swinging his mighty hammer around, this laughably silly film marries the revered back-story of Thor with a clumsy modern-day adventure. If it all feels way too bland, blame it on the fact that the movie has neither the snarky wit of Iron Man nor the grim undertones of The Dark Knight; it’s a safe, family-friendly offering much like a harmless Disney fable.
Chris Hemsworth is Thor, the impulsive young prince from the realm eternal known as Asgard, who is stripped of his powers and banished to Earth by his honorable father Odin (played by Anthony Hopkins) after he recklessly reignites an ancient war against the Frost Giants of Jotunheim. Befriended by scientist Jane Foster (played by Natalie Portman), Thor must adjust to his new life in this new world, while his trusted hammer Mjolnir remains embedded in the New Mexico desert, and his deceitful brother Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston) takes over Asgard.
Director Kenneth Branagh, best known for his Shakespearan adaptations, tackles familiar themes like feuding fathers and sons, sibling jealousy, and the importance of humility. But it’s hard to take seriously when Asgard is designed as a gaudy Tron-meets-Las Vegas eyesore, and the action scenes bigger than most we’ve seen recently but not necessarily better.
If Thor is salvaged to some extent, then credit must go to its strapping star Chris Hemsworth, who knows how to have fun with the material. His fish-out-of-water scenes provide a good laugh, particularly one in which he marches into a pet store and demands a horse.
Thor isn’t unwatchable, far from it… It just fails to match up to the high standards set by some recent comic book films. Again, if you’re familiar with the mythology and a fan of this universe, this might be exactly what you were expecting. For those coming in from the cold, it’s average entertainment at best.
I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five for Thor. Surprisingly uninspired, it left me a little bored.