Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston.
You would think that the man behind the camera of such excellent period-pieces as Hamlet and Macbeth would have done better with the Norse-material; sadly, Kenneth Branagh turns it into a simplistic Cain and Abel combat of spoiled and expectant demi-god brothers. The only character who deserved anything was Odin, a well-cast Anthony Hopkins, but he already is the king, nigh for his heir to replace him.
The voices of the Gods and of Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, are near as bad as Batman’s voice-overs in 2010’s The Dark Knight. The surface-pounding omnipotence of it all is appealing at first, but by the time the battle finally rings onto the screen, the whole ‘this hammer breaks all’ ordeal becomes tiring, and Thor just plain isn’t cool or catchy enough to cheer on, besides his daunting look, bright-red cape flowing in the wind and muscles like that of Hulk on estrogen-pills.
The Asgaardian portal and special effects are nonetheless dazzling and should be looked at separately from the rather weak storytelling. The Human-acquaintances, played by Natalie Portman and Stellan Skarsgard, are a bit forcefully touching, but still remain well-fitting in the overall breakdown of Thor and his personality; he Is sympathetic, or rather needs to be while involving himself with his brother, and shows that Earth Is not at all alien to him. I suppose the psyche of the superhero is a bit reversed in ‘Thor’; we are used to the under-appreciated, poor or disaster-stricken hero like Spider-Man and the parent-less Superman, not a God ready for the throne to defend and judge the righteousness of his rebellious younger brother, Loki.