For a Marvel movie geek, three things were inevitable about Thor: 1) The Stan Lee cameo scene, 2) the post-end credits scene, and 3) nitpicking. Nitpicking is going to happen with any comic book related movie, and I’ve grudgingly accepted it as a necessary evil that certain sacrifices would need to be made in any translation of a story from one medium to another. Thus, certain things will have to be overlooked IF the end result is successful.
Marvel’s version of Thor in its many incarnations has tread a delicate balance of Norse mythology and something flashy thanks to Jack Kirby’s glorious art. In Kenneth Branagh’s movie adaptation of Thor, there are elements of the Prodigal Son, Arthurian mythology, and of course, grounding in Marvel history.
For his arrogance and defiance of his father Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins), King of otherworldly Asgard, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is stripped of his considerable power and warhammer Mjolnir and banished to Earth. Making matters worse, his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is beginning to discover things about himself, and let’s say he starts some trouble, now that Odin is in a coma. While on earth, Thor is tricked into believing that his father is dead (and three guesses as to who tricked him).
There was the requisite love interest in Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), a scientist investigating atmospheric anomalies. As with recent Marvel movies, the shadowy government agency SHIELD was behind the scenes, and this being a Summer movie, there was the requisite amount of wholesale property damage.
While formulaic, Thor is refreshingly entertaining. Comic book movies rely heavily upon reverence for and adherence to the source material. The result must look and more importantly feel like the comic books. Kenneth Branagh’s Thor succeeds and entertains although the progression from arrogant bastard to superhero wasn’t deep enough, and I could have done without Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), Dr. Jane Foster’s ultra-annoying assistant.
If you still have no idea what the movie’s about, here’s a brief featurette: