Director: Kenneth Branagh
Screenplay: Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz and Don Payne, based on the comic-book series Thor created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgard, Colm Feore, Ray Stevenson, Idris Elba, Kat Dennings, Rene Russo, Anthony Hopkins
Running Time: 114 minutes
Genre: Superhero, action, fantasy
Summary: Thor (Hemsworth), God of Thunder, is banished from Asgard to Earth by his father Odin (Hopkins), King of the Gods, for attacking the Frost Giants of Jotunheim, long standing enemies of the Gods.
Arriving in present-day New Mexico, Thor is discovered by scientist Jane Foster (Portman), her assistant Darcy Lewis (Dennings) and mentor Dr. Erik Selvig (Skarsgard). Stripped of his powers and ability to use his magical hammer Mjolnir, Thor has to come to terms with his new mortal existence, as well as a sinister agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D. who are taking a strong interest in him.
Meanwhile, in Asgard, the plotting of Thor's treacherous brother Loki (Hiddelston) threatens more than one world with complete destruction.
Opinions: This movie is based on the popular Marvel comic-book series and differs from a lot of the more recent superhero movies by throwing in some sword-and-sorcery action into the mix.
Thor was the God of Thunder in Norse mythology, whose name is referenced in, among other things, the day of the week Thursday ("Thor's Day"). Needless to say, the film has very little connection to Norse legend.
Kenneth Branagh is best known as a director for his Shakesperean adaptations, and is certainly not a name that springs to mind in connection with a massive multi million dollar special effects 3-D superhero movie, but he does very well. A fan of the comic, Branagh obviously has a lot of understanding of the material. He balances the drama and humour very well and also handles the special effects and action scenes brilliantly, making the action scenes tight and effective so that they are exciting and comprehensible rather than being an explosion of confusing pyrotechnics that just ends up being dull. The film is released in 3-D, and I personally am not a fan of 3-D in general (although there are exceptions), but it is done well here and it helps to invest both the golden city of Asgard and the frozen wastes of Jotunheim with a genuine sense of wonder. The special effects are really spectacular throughout.
The cast do well with their roles. In the lead Chris Hemsworth is charismatic, if too clean-cut to be a Norse warrior-god. Natalie Portman provides the film with it's emotional heart. Stellan Skarsgard is also very impressive as the skeptical scientist. The comic's co-creator Stan Lee has his customary cameo as a truck driver.
Blending culture-clash comedy, family drama and intrigue and comic-book superheroics this is a pretty packed film. In contrast with many recent superhero movies, such as The Dark Knight (2008), this doesn't try to make the material dark or gritty, it is unashamedly action-packed, fantasy adventure, and none the worse for that.
By the way, keep watching until the end of the closing credits for an additional scene.
Chris Hemsworth and Anthony Hopkins in Thor