USA, Marvel Studios, 2011

director.gif (905 bytes)Kenneth Branagh


Chris Hemsworth - Thor
Anthony Hopkins - Odin
Natalie Portman - Jane Foster
Tom Hiddleston - Loki
Clark Gregg - Agent Phil Coulson
Kat Dennings - Darcy
Stellan Skarsgrd - Selvig
Ray Stevenson - Volstagg

US theatrical release - May 6, 2011
DVD release - September 13, 2011



The epic adventure spans the Marvel Universe from present day Earth to the realm of Asgard. At the center of the story is the mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth), a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. Thor is cast down to Earth by his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and is forced to live among humans. A beautiful, young scientist, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), has a profound effect on Thor, as she ultimately becomes his first love. Its while here on Earth that Thor 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.

button_box.gif (205 bytes)PRODUCTION NOTES:

Principal photography began January 12, 2010 in production studios in Los Angeles. The LA shoot wrapped on March 8th and a week later continued in the Santa Fe, New Mexico area until May.



button_box.gif (205 bytes)REVIEW - KENNETH TURAN, LOS ANGELES TIMES:

Think of "Thor" as the ultimate Superhero Smackdown. In one corner is the canny Kenny B., a.k.a. Kenneth Branagh, a director still best known for superior Shakespearean productions like "Henry V," "Hamlet" and "Much Ado About Nothing," a man not usually associated with comic book adaptations. In the other corner are the mighty monarchs of Marvel Entertainment, a well-oiled mass entertainment machine boasting ownership of more than 8,000 comic book characters and more than $6.1 billion in worldwide box office grosses.

So how did the match turn out?...  Believe it or not, all this commotion ends in a draw. For despite all the hype, despite the $150-million budget, despite a post-shooting 3-D conversion, despite stars like Oscar winners Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins and hunky young Australian Chris Hemsworth as the God of Thunder himself, what we have here is an aesthetic standoff between predictable elements and unexpected ones. "Thor" has its strengths, but it is finally something of a mishmash with designs on being more interesting than it manages to be.

Part of "Thor's" artistic confusion and lack of unity can be attributed to its having not only two different settings but two completely different tones, which in turn may be partly because of it having no fewer than five credited writers...

Anchored by a solid performance by Hopkins, who has said the story energized him, the Asgard sections are "Thor's" most substantial, with Branagh likely having had something Shakespearean in mind with his portrayal of the conflict between an unbending father and his headstrong son...

"Thor's" extensive special effects are also a mixed bag. Some elements, like the Rainbow Bridge that leads to the "Beam me up, Scotty" machinery that connects Asgard and Earth, are fun, while other shots of Asgard make it look like Apple's futurist 1984 Super Bowl ad on steroids. This random quality extends to a lot of the movie. For every weak element, like a generic killer robot called the Destroyer, there is a strong one, like "The Wire's" Idris Elba, a long way from Stringer Bell and the mean streets of Baltimore, effectively playing the all-seeing gatekeeper Heimdall.

One aspect of "Thor" that touches a sore spot is the recurrence of Marvel's awkward and greedy attempts to build audience and pound the drum for future films.  "The Avengers" doesn't come out for a year, and I'm already feeling overhyped.

button_box.gif (205 bytes)POSTERS: