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Thor

May 11, 2011
By Laurence Boyce

Thor

Director: Kenneth Branagh

The announcement that Kenneth Branagh would direct the comic-book adaptation “Thor” had a few people scratching their head. After all, this is the man most famous for his Shakespearean movies (including a full length version of “Hamlet”). Could he really deal with a Hollywood blockbuster? Comic book fans needn’t have worried – his background in the “Bard” seems to have prepared him to deal with a story that has a touch of the epic.

Thor is one of the Asgardian Gods (Chris Hemsworth) and the son of Odin (Anthony Hopkins), the all-powerful leader of the sacred realm. After an impetuous raid on the land of the Frost Giants, Thor is banished to Earth by his father. There, stripped of his power, he becomes involved with scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) who wants to discover just where he has come from. But Thor’s desire to return to Asgard is thwarted by his brother Loki, whose mischievous nature hides an altogether more devious set of motives.

Like the majority of Marvel Comic adaptations over the past few years, this concentrates on setting the main character up and – on some levels – it makes the film somewhat frustrating. The film spends a lot of its length on exposition and seems more a lead-in to the Avengers movie (an ensemble of superheroes including Thor, Iron Man and The Hulk) due out next year than a piece of work in its own right. But when the action does come, the film manages to deliver with some well-handled battle scenes and a few impressive CGI creatures.

Hemsworth is good in the lead role (though he doesn’t really need to do much apart from stand around and act god like), whilst Hopkins unsurprisingly adds a bit of gravitas to proceedings.
It does nothing to stand out from the other comic book adaptations of the past few years, but it’s an adequate and enjoyable slice of hokum.

 

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