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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
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POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Samuel L Jackson
Tom Hiddleston
Chris Hemsworth
Natalie Portman
Anthony Hopkins
Stellan Skarsgård
Idris Elba.
Directors
Kenneth Branagh.
Screenwriters
Ashley Miller
Zack Stentz
Don Payne.
Running Time
114 minutes

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Thor
War Norse


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Plot
Thor (Hemsworth), would-be king of a race of trans-dimensional beings worshipped as deities on Earth, is cast out of Asgard by his father (Hopkins) and banished to Earth. There he must discover himself and face the threat of his jealous brother, Loki (Hiddleston)...


Review
Thor
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If, like John Cleese in the classic Monty Python sketch, you’re an avid consumer of fermented curd (albeit of the cinematic variety), only to find that there are no cheesy comestibles to be had, you may be in for a similar disappointment with Kenneth Branagh’s Thor, the latest in Marvel’s self-financed superhero flicks. At first glance, all the ingredients for a cheddar convention to rival the likes of Flash Gordon are there — ginormous sets, larger-than-life characters (one of whom has a blond barnet any page-three stunna would kill for) with ridiculous names and powers to match. But Thor is too knowing to stock up on the movie mozzarella. What it is, though, is tremendous fun, and further proof that Marvel Studios knows how to handle its back catalogue.

He’s a tricky one, the Odinson. Unlike Iron Man, Hulk or Captain America, he’s a god. An actual god, with awe-inspiring powers and a rich back story. There’s a lot to get through, and this is the sort of material that has to be handled with the utmost care, lest it go in any number of directions: pompous, cheesy or, most damaging of all, unintentionally hilarious. Things could go from bad to Norse.

Thor plunges you straight in, following a pre-credits stint in New Mexico, to a dense 30-minute sequence in Asgard where we meet all the major players — Thor, his dark-haired brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), their father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) — and the notion that these extraordinarily powerful beings have been at war with a race of Frost Giants. And not only is it done with a straight face, but the sweep of the material, with vast tracking shots through stunning Asgardian landscapes, is by far the biggest thing Marvel has attempted; this is fantasy on a cosmic scale.

It’s bewildering at times, condensing nearly 50 years of comic history with a speed that can mean characters are paid scant lip service. You suspect there’s a lot of material on the cutting-room floor — Rene Russo, as Thor’s mother Frigga (stop sniggering), might want to have a word with her agent, while the core relationship, between Thor and Loki, doesn’t really get going for a while.

When it does, though, as Loki manipulates the esurient Thor into defying his father’s orders, kicking Frost Giant butt and ultimately getting the heave-ho from Asgard, it’s powerful stuff. After Marvel set Branagh to direct — another leftfield choice to go with Jon Favreau, Joe Johnston, Joss Whedon and Shane Black — you sensed that their model was the Bond films, with tech gurus (in this case, the mighty Vic Armstrong) ensuring the bells and whistles were up to scratch, while the directors bring their own skill-sets to bear. And when it comes to making Shakespearean material — and the relationship between Thor, Loki and Odin positively reeks of the Bard — work on the big screen, Branagh has no equal.

So as father and sons square off against each other, it’s heady stuff, the three H’s attacking the material, and each other with fury and intensity straight from the West End stage. In one scene, Hiddleston’s Loki, a complex and surprisingly layered villain, confronts Odin about his true origins. It’s intimate and affecting, yet as thundering and loud as you’d imagine gods would be.

Then, once you’re up to speed, the film yanks Thor off to the modern day and tackles the thorny issue of his near-omnipotence by separating him, and his powers, from his enchanted hammer, Mjolnir. There’s a neat tonal shift, as human beings meet Thor (and, later, in the film’s funniest moment, the Warriors Three and Sif) and find everything he does or says ridiculous. Here, Hemsworth — the Australian actor who impressed so much with his one-scene cameo in Star Trek as Kirk’s doomed dad — comes into his own, adding new layers of humility and humour to his blustering God Of Thunder. At one point, Thor fights off hospital orderlies with an outraged, “You DARE attack the son of Odin?!?”. The fish out of water stuff works like a charm. Hemsworth emerges from this a true star, adept at action, good with comedy, swell at the romantic stuff with Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster (there’s a romantic streak a mile wide here) and cut like Kate Middleton’s engagement rock.

In fact, you’re instantly intrigued by the prospect of seeing Hemsworth on screen with Robert Downey Jr. (and Chris Evans) in next year’s The Avengers. Marvel copped flak for turning Iron Man 2 into essentially an extended trailer for its big gamble, and has clearly learned a lesson. Yes, SHIELD is involved. Yes, Jeremy Renner shows up for one spectacularly pointless scene as the ace archer, Hawkeye. But Thor, ultimately, stands on its own two feet. We’ll toast that with a glass of mead and a feast fit for a king. Hold the cheese.


Verdict
Turn off the snark-o-meter, and this is a return to form for Marvel, introducing a new hero we’ll be happy to see again in, oh, about a year or so.


Reviewed by Chris Hewitt


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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Thor
Empire Star Rating

Somehow sympathetic adaptation of Disney's Hercules (1997) into a movie with elements of Norse mythology and somewhat Marvel comic book. I feel empire is been bought by Marvel because I read all these "reviews" and then go watch the movie and I'm thinking am I going mad? Poor dialogue, okay story, great performances and really safe directing. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by smakris04 at 20:27, 06 December 2013 | Report This Post


Thor is a FOOL. Loki was the hero.

This film tells the tragic tale of an attractive, cunning man who sets out to save a kingdom from the reign of his idiotic brother, but is undermined by the lies and betrayal of others. The cast of this film is utterly perfect. Tom Hiddleston is impeccable as the handsome and intelligent god Loki, while Chris Hemsworth perfectly captures the idiocy and gluttony of the ill mannered, dunderheaded god, Thor. Anthony Hopkins is faultless in the role of the evil, lying, MAD MAN that is Odin All... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by LegoLoki at 11:55, 27 February 2013 | Report This Post


Entertaining

Not great, but good. Better than I thought it would be and Hemsworth is a very good choice for Thor. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Mr Gittes at 23:30, 07 February 2013 | Report This Post


SURPRISINGLY GOOD!

HEMSWORTH FITS THE BILL WELL, PORTMAN IS GREAT AND ITS A TOP, FUN CHOICE FOR A SATURDAY NIGHT MOVIE.... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by chrisdagnall at 13:09, 22 July 2012 | Report This Post


Thor

Thor is too long with a script that feels like a television series pilot. But the off-beat humor and striking FX will keep most entertained. Especially lovers of superheroes and Greek mythology. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by norgizfox at 03:27, 24 June 2012 | Report This Post


It was Okay

visually stunning, plotwise it was okay, but the emotional stuff didn't quite gel. Perhaps it's just because I can't empathise with any role that Natalie Portman plays (sorry, it's a strange affliction, but it's true). ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by mentat72 at 11:36, 08 May 2012 | Report This Post


Thor

Yet another trailer for this year’s up and coming superhero mash-up, The Avengers arrived last summer. Sorry, I must have gotten confused. This was the long-awaited Thor movie, though it was hard to tell. This film’s trailer suggested that Thor would be banished from his celestial home, Asgard and sent to Earth where he would become a superhero. This wasn’t essentially the case, as more often film seems to be set in Asgard than Earth and most of the Earth stuff revolved around setting up Thor’s... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by neopol at 11:21, 12 March 2012 | Report This Post


Thor a Welcome Surprise

What a great film? Awesome film. Well acted and well directed. Branagh delivers. Hemsworth is great and Hiddleston is a revelation. Can't wait for the Avengers? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lynnshep at 23:11, 23 February 2012 | Report This Post


One of the Best!

Thor has got to be one of the best marvel characters and here Kenneth Brannagh has done an excellent job of transfering him to the big screen. The cast are all spot on with Chris Hemsworth particularly impressive in his first big lead role. Anthony Hopkins is great as Odin too and it looks like he's relishing the role and happy to be playing a better role than some of his recent offerings. One of the best superhero movies, Thor is definatley one I will watch over and over. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dannyfletch at 22:33, 12 January 2012 | Report This Post


Incredible movie. This is probably the best superhero/comic book character adaptation that I have seen. Loved it, as did the little lady. Just tons of fun! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Turd Ferguson at 20:12, 04 January 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Thor Review

Thor was one of the most interesting comic-book movies of the year. Captain America was frankly disappointing, but Thor managed to have the more outlandish storyline grounded in something real. After his turn in Star Trek and now this, Chris Hemsworth is one to watch. ... More

Posted by The Big Guy at 18:16, 29 December 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Thor Review

This was a solid three star film and no more - while Asgard was beautifully realised and the effects were great these elements are a given in this day and age so cannot raise a film anymore. The story was pretty lame IMO, the Ice Giants were completely dull and the only really interesting part of it was Loki's connection to them. The whole hot-headed trip by Thor and his mates to go to the Ice Giant's planet was plain dumb and just a badly contrived set up for the banishment and eve... More

Posted by Fluke Skywalker at 18:12, 29 December 2011 | Report This Post


Thor Review

A dazzling blockbuster that tempers its sweeping scope with wit, humor, and human drama, Thor is mighty Marvel entertainment. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 14:10, 19 December 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Thor

Loved it. I wasn't expecting the film to be so entertaining and moving and the film once again reminds me that a good score (especially a catchy main theme) can really lift any film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Tech_Noir at 15:15, 17 December 2011 | Report This Post


Lol at Thor "I NEED A HORSE" Pet shop owner "We only sell cats, dogs etc" Thor "THEN GIVE ME ONE WHICH IS BIG ENOUGH TO RIDE" ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by AntGC at 13:15, 15 December 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Thor

L: Spaldron Really surprised at how much I enjoyed this. I kinda thought it would be just another throwaway Marvel film but turns out it had a whole load of heart and some stirring action. CGI was superb as was the score. However did anyone else think that this was near identical to Masters of the Universe but with a bigger budget (and a better script obv)? es, and without a villain as dark as Skeletor. I'm still hoping that they'll revive He Man. The characters are just so cool. ... More

Posted by Pencilton Phoenix at 16:20, 08 December 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Thor

yeah. It seems as though they used the budget in interesting ways. They filmed all the earth scenes in that set in New Mexico. It looked really makeshift and was seemingly random in many ways. They saved a lot of money by not filming in a city. I wonder how many millions they shaved off the budget because besides that scene, was it all just green screen and a few interiors? I think Branagh did the emotional stuff well, Hopkins and Hemsworth were particularly strong, despite Hiddlestons unique v... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Pencilton Phoenix at 16:16, 08 December 2011 | Report This Post


Oh My God!

This has to be the worse superhero movie I have ever seen. Yes its pretty close to the crap Spiderman 3! It was boring, the characters shallow and underdeveloped, the script was crap, Chris Henworth is very easy on the eye but just didn't give a very convincing performance. The only good thing was the city scapes but other than that don't rush out and see this film. This film needs more than a thunderbolt to energise it! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by richiebrum1974 at 21:03, 20 October 2011 | Report This Post


GOD OH GOD!

Thor was a some god!!!!!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Ciaran McDaid at 00:27, 16 October 2011 | Report This Post


Much better than expected. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by maisiex at 23:55, 10 October 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Thor

Really surprised at how much I enjoyed this. I kinda thought it would be just another throwaway Marvel film but turns out it had a whole load of heart and some stirring action. CGI was superb as was the score. However did anyone else think that this was near identical to Masters of the Universe but with a bigger budget (and a better script obv)? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Spaldron at 02:32, 04 October 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Thor

I thought it was bloody great fun. ... More

Posted by Filmfan 2 at 12:19, 19 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Thor

Purely went to the cinema to get out of the house for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. Picked the film out by random as I have to admit that I like superhero films but just as a casual viewer. Not a comic book person at all and really didn't know anything about Thor as part of a comic book at all. Didn't even see a trailer for it-which I usually do before going to see a movie but just went to see something new and the pirates series was one I abandoned ages ago. So make it be clear that I had... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by stef3 at 02:40, 18 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Thor

The blend of action and comedy was good enough. But the movie lost out on its script, it had many weaknesses in the story line, as the the climax , the plot doesn't grabbed the attention of the audience to that level. ... More

Posted by Mike_003 at 05:53, 16 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Thor

L: Pop Peelings L: adambatman82 L: Pop Peelings Seems like a lot of people are talking up Thor simply because it wasn't complete shit. tle too much of it took place in a CGI world we have no reason to give a shit about. It also lacked a decent big action pay-off at the end. When it ended, I felt I could have sat through another 20-30 minutes or so for something decent. o "fact" about it, that, my friend, is merely your opinion. erhaps... it was a good two-thi... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 16:25, 15 May 2011 | Report This Post


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