Thor isn’t a chick flick by the classic definition, but it is two hours of harmless fun with the very easy to look at Chris Hemsworth in the lead. So I think chicks in the mood for a mindless cinematic escape will enjoy spending a little time with the God of Thunder.  (Although be forewarned, as one of my friends insisted on pointing out, he takes his shirt off just once in the entire movie.) If, however, you’re looking for something a little more meaningful, you can skip it without a second thought. 

Kenneth Branagh directed the comic book adaptation, which surprised me when I first heard about it. But when you see it, you realize that he’s gleefully playing up the Shakespearean elements in the Norse god’s story. Thor is an ambitious and arrogant young warrior about to assume the throne in the mythical realm of Asgard when he reignites an ancient war. This royally ticks off his father Odin, played by Anthony Hopkins, who banishes him to Earth and takes away his power to teach him a lesson. He lands in the New Mexico desert where he literally runs into astrophysicist Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman. As you can imagine, a now powerless Norse god in 21st century America makes for some amusing moments and Thor gets off some good quips while he’s on Earth. One of my favorites: he walks into a pet store and bellows “I need a horse!”

But this is a comic book/superhero movie, so there must also be villains and treachery. These come in the form of the frost giants, the ancient enemies of Asgard, and even more sinister, Thor’s brother Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston, whose performance is arguably the movie’s best. It’s Loki who is manipulating things behind the scenes and sends a robotic destroyer to Earth to take out Thor and his band of Norse buddies who’ve come to help him. In the end, of course, Thor finds redemption on Earth, and I’m not really spoiling anything here if I tell you he gets his powers back – did you really think he wouldn’t? And as has been the case with all of these recent Marvel movies, the end is not really the end. The agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are front and center when Thor and his magical hammer crash to Earth, and there are plenty of allusions to the upcoming Avengers movie (as well as a sneak peek after the credits, so stick around if you care).

As a kick-off to “blockbuster season,” Thor isn’t bad. Just don’t go in expecting more than light-hearted summer movie fun. But isn’t that enough sometimes? And unless you’re really into 3D, I wouldn’t bother paying the extra bucks. I saw it in good old-fashioned 2D and I don’t think I really missed out on anything.



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