Thor | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper


Another Marvel hero hits the big screen in this entertaining outing

click to enlarge A talk with dad: Chris Hemsworth and Anthony Hopkins
A talk with dad: Chris Hemsworth and Anthony Hopkins

Kenneth Branagh's Thor -- there's three words I never thought I'd write -- is an entertaining two hours of 3-D live-action Marvel Comics hokum, with dynamic CGI, lots of noise, and occasional heart. It's a classical story of an intergalactic father and two sons, all with mega-superhuman-cum-magical powers: Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is the sagacious monarch of Asgard, and each of the siblings is a bit flawed. Elder son Thor (Chris Hemsworth) wants to strike back at an enemy who assaulted Asgard; Loki (Tom Hiddleston) does as well, but he knows Odin does not, so he urges his brother to stay cool. When Thor doesn't, he's banished to Earth, where he's powerless. There's lots more mythology behind it all, but none of it really matters on film. This is all about spectacle, except for those moments where Branagh, the eminent modern Shakespearean, focuses more intimately on primogeniture. Those scenes are strongly acted, even by the big blond beefy Hemsworth, who stands eye to eye with Hopkins. Natalie Portman and Stellan Skarsgård, as Earth scientists who get to know Thor, are solid as well, if largely unnecessary. The ending sets up a sequel, and so what: Even Shakespeare dipped into the same well now and then.

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