Thor DI
2011 Running time: 114 Certificate: 12 Rating: 4
KA Thor

Synopsis

By all the gods, it's the mightiest comic-book adaptation this side of Asgard. After reckless warrior Thor (Chris Hemsworth) reignites an ancient war he is cast down to Earth and forced to live among humans as punishment. He learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth. Kenneth Branagh directs this fantasy epic which also stars Tom Hiddleston as Thor's evil brother Loki, Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, a young woman who befriends Thor on Earth, and Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Thor's father and king of the gods.

Director

  • Kenneth Branagh

Cast

  • Chris Hemsworth

  • Natalie Portman

  • Idris Elba

  • Anthony Hopkins

  • Kat Dennings

Review

Comic book movies are, by their very essence, a bit silly.

The Dark Knight, for all its award-winning, larynx-scraping growliness, is still about a grown man who dresses up as a bat and plays around with gadgets.

Yet Thor has always been somewhat of the ludicrous elephant in the genre room.

Unlike the universally recognised pop-culture heroes like Batman, Spider-Man and Superman, Thor is about a red-robed Norse God who tends to speak in ye olde worlde English (verily) and hits people round the face with a giant magical hammer.

Which makes its undeniably fun, knowing and overwhelmingly accessible transition to the big screen all the more impressive.

For the non-nerd amongst you, the movie opens with a thoroughly befuddled man being picked up by a science team in the middle of the New Mexico desert.

The plot then dives hammer-first into how he got there, and a Thor-oughly awe-inspiring expository romp that introduces celestial city Asgard (imagine the Care Bears' digs, only much much shinier), a race of Norse Gods with increasingly ridiculous names, a father/son/son relationship with all manner of Daddy Issues, and an invading army of Frost Giants.

When Thor (Hemsworth) disobeys his father Odin's orders (Hopkins), he is stripped of his powers and banished to Earth (for the nerd amongst you, this is where it picks up from the end of Iron Man 2).

As Thor struggles to comprehend his fate with the help of astrophysicist Jane Foster (Portman), the opportunity is wide open for his wiley, jealous brother Loki (Hiddleston) to make his play for the crown and endanger not only Asgard, but all life as we know it.

It's epic stuff, but with some superlative casting and a surprisingly non-pofaced script, director Kenneth Branagh brings a warmth and humour to proceedings that retains the grandeur and magnificence of the fantasy world without ever lessening the interactions with the human one.

The action scenes both on and off-world are a feast for the eyes, and there's a decent wallop behind each fisticuff brawl, while the all important 'fish out of water' scenario avoids the all-too-common cheesiness in favour of genuinely chucklesome encounters.

Key to this is the sheer physicality that Chris Hemsworth brings to the role. Admittedly the oestrogen-inflamingly ridiculous muscles certainly help to sell the fact that he's somehow more than man, but he'd be nothing but a soulless beefcake without Hemsworth's charming delivery, regularly flipping from courageous warrior and imposing leader to humbled son and doe-eyed romantic lead with ease.

Hiddleston impresses too, matching his brother with snakeish duplicity at every turn, while Hopkins somehow manages to make a role built for his hammy best bewilderingly relatable - capes and magic aside, it all comes down to one massively superpowered family quarrel.

Sure, there's not a huge amount of plot to play around with, and there's not a whole lot to hang the romance on (other than them both being incredibly purty), but as an unashamed summer superhero blockbuster it does the job whilst setting things up nicely for Marvel's future movies.

And after Iron Man's extended Avengers advert and The Incredible Hulk's misfire, it's certainly a sight for Thor eyes.