Director: Kenneth Branagh (2011)
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston
Find it: IMDB
Shakespearian luvvie and sometime Wallander Kenneth Branagh directs a movie about a Norse God that stars fellow luvvie Sir Anthony Hopkins and features lengthy segues into Asgard and kingdoms asunder. And yet Thor is entirely enjoyable and about as far from po-faced as one can get. Fears of a repeat of the Ang Lee Hulk debacle go unfounded as Thor turns out to be the most fun superhero film since the first Iron Man*. And unlike the sequel to that movie, it manages not to feel like an elaborate Avengers trailer and more like a proper film in its own right.
Hunky but arrogant God of Thunder (well, sort of) Thor (Hemsworth) is banished from Asgard following a disagreement with father Odin (Anthony Hopkins). He crash lands in modern day New Mexico, only to be promptly run over by Natalie Portman's scientist. Poor chap is made mortal and unable to lift his own hammer, which gathers much attention from government officials (led by Iron Man 2's SHIELD agent). Back in Asgard, brother Loki (Hiddleston) is causing all sorts of evil and just generally fucking about the place. On Earth, there's much fish-out-of-water comedy, a giant fuckoff robot and Natalie Portman being cute in a caravan. Since it's set in the same universe, I'm not sure why Iron Man wasn't sent in to deal with stuff, but hey, someone says his name. Squee.
Also, The Punisher himself, Ray Stevenson is in this movie. He has to wear a fat suit (or fat armour), but I like Ray Stevenson. I like that the Warriors Three and Sif are in this movie. I love Kat Dennings. I like Stellan Skarsgard. I like Idris Elba. And I like Chris Hemsworth and I like Natalie Portman and I like Thor. Never did I think I'd see the day Kenneth Branagh directed a movie about a pumped God hitting things with a hammer, but I'm glad I have and I'm glad that Kenneth did too.
The movie skips between New Mexico and Asgard at regular intervals, but neither universe is boring and I enjoyed the contrast between our rubbish Earth and the Lord Of The Rings-esque stuff on Asgard and the ice planet. Thor's designs are very reminiscent of Jack Kirby work and are a lot less goofy than you might imagine. It's an impressive achievement that the Asgard stuff largely works. Everyone looks a bit silly, but it's acknowledged by the movie and offset with the Earthly realism of other scenes. Oh, and there's the requisite cameo from Stan Lee.
Thor is a blast. It has its issues, sure: Thor looks mighty silly whenever he swings with his hammer or, uh, flies. Loki is a pretty crappy villain. There's not enough of Thor hitting things. The 3D is unremarkable. But that aside, I loved it. Marvellous.
*No. The Dark Knight is a lot of things, but fun is not really one of them.