Thursday, June 9, 2011

"Whoever Holds This Hammer..."

Thor is the Kenneth Branagh directed adaptation of the Stan Lee-Jack Kirby superhero comic about the adventures of the title character, the son of Odin, King of Asgard. Thor is exiled to Earth by his father (Anthony Hopkins), after his arrogance destroys a fragile truce with the enemies of Asgard, the evil Frost Giants. Thor ends up in New Mexico, where scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), attempts to help him, as some amusing fish out of water hijinks ensue. Thor attempts to recover the magic hammer, Mjolnir, which Odin has also sent to Earth, protected with a spell that allows only a warrior worthy of its power to retrieve it. Thor wants to return to Asgard, and set things right, but Jane and her colleagues think he's crazy (at first).

Meanwhile, back in Asgard, Thor's manipulative brother Loki (played to evil perfection by Tom Hiddleston) is up to no good, and plots to ascend the throne. Mix in the secret government organization S.H.I.E.L.D. (which is investigating the strange crash of Mjolnir on Earth), some cool cameos & nods to comic readers, and you have an entertaining summer movie. It might not be quite up to the quality of the first Iron Man film, but it's good fun. Branagh (Henry V, Dead Again) does a fine job juggling scenes in otherworldly Asgard with the scenes on Earth, and keeps the action zipping along nicely. The cast does a great job (Chris Hemsworth is good in the title role), and you even get to see Rene Russo in a small role as Thor's mom.

And if you're a fan of the comics, it's all here: The Warriors Three, The Rainbow Bridge, Heimdall the Gatekeeper, etc. If you do go to see it, make sure to stay to the end as there's a little bonus scene after the credits roll. Marvel is doing a fine job tying all its films together into a  shared universe (with Captain America: The First Avenger coming later this summer, and The Avengers next year), which is just what Stan Lee & company did in the original comics in the 1960s. But even if you're not a comic fan, and enjoy a good summer popcorn flick, it's a fun movie.

Movie Quote of the Day:
"Whoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor." Anthony Hopkins as Odin in Thor (2011).

Reviewer's Note: While you can see the film theatrically in 3-D, I saw the 2-D version, and it was perfectly fine.

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