Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time!
Empire's Guardians Of The Galaxy Cover
Does Star Wars Have A Brain Trust?
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
Subscribe: 6 Issues For £15!
Subscribe today and save 37% off the cover price!
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
Click poster to enlarge
More posters to select



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

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Norte, The End Of History
4 Star Empire Rating
Supermensch: The Legend Of Shep Gordon
4 Star Empire Rating
Love Me Till Monday
3 Star Empire Rating
Bastards
3 Star Empire Rating
Tammy
2 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating
Rebel Without A Cause
5 Star Empire Rating
Calvary
5 Star Empire Rating
Wake In Fright
5 Star Empire Rating

Thor
War Norse


submit to reddit


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
Browse more images »
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


Related Reviews
Games
Thor: God of Thunder
 
Sounds
Thor
 

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Thor
Empire Star Rating

RE: Thor

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-thirds though from what I re... More

Posted by Pop Peelings at 15:44, 15 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Thor

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. ... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 15:10, 15 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Thor

Seems like a lot of people are talking up Thor simply because it wasn't complete shit. Fact is, a little 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. ... More

Posted by Pop Peelings at 13:47, 15 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Thor

I thought Thor was enjoyable but perhaps 2 or 3 stars. Not a classic. Asgard was impressive as was Loki and naturally Natalie Portman is quite simply a wee cracker. Hopkins as Odin was underused though. The plot was dafter than Gazza but the bits on Earth were good. BTW I also think Iron Man worked very well as a stand alone movie. Oh well here's hoping Captain America is good. I also have a suspicion that The Avengers may end up being a great big dud. ... More

Posted by Private Hudson at 20:10, 14 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Thor

Enjoyed this a lot good perfomances from the cast. Great visual effects as well and director Kenneth Branagh really surprised me by deliverling a fun film and he handles the action set-pieces with ease. Thor is more the worth a watch and it has raised the bar for not only super hero movies but the rest of this years summer blockbusters. 4/5 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by NCC1701A at 11:45, 12 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Thor

L: Biggus The film's real strength lies in the fact that unlike Iron Man and Hulk, Thor feels like a complete movie, well balanced with a proper beginning, middle and end. don't know about this - I think nperfectly fine as a standalone film. ... More

Posted by Darth Marenghi at 04:01, 12 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Thor

Saw this the other day and loved it. Chris Hemsworth was great as Thor and Natalie Portman was a fitting, likable love interest as Janet. The special effects were very impessive. I remember reading in a past Empire magizine were they were speculating whether Thor could be made, well Kenneth Branagh proved them all wrong.   ... More

Posted by white mage at 20:28, 11 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Thor

It suffers from saggy middle section syndrome. Starts off at breakneck pace and then slows down to a crawl. It could have done with another big set piece. Overall it was entertaining and the 3D is actually pretty good in places. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by klause at 10:41, 11 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Thor

Meh, it was ok. Some very good scenes but it felt really lacking of any tension or sense of danger, the CGI was awful in places and the costumes didn't look too good. The parts with Thor on Earth were the highlights for me as well and Hemsworth was very good and likeable. A decent enough time at the cinema. 3/5 ... More

Posted by Coyleone at 03:30, 11 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Thor

Not as good as Iron Man or The Incredible Hulk but its a decent comic book blockbuster. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by darth silas at 17:20, 10 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Thor

I was personally a tad disappointed. I have no idea what Kate Denning's character purpose in the entire thing was, aside from dropping product placement. It's also rather predictable and generic, doesn't try to do something not by-the-numbers or predictable. The Earth scenes come out as rather uninteresting. At the end no matter how fun it can be, it's just another generic superhero movie (with a bizarrely by-the-numbers Doyle soundtrack), sadly so as I had hopes for something unique with Brana... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Deviation at 15:19, 10 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Thor

L: Biggus doubt the most difficult balancing act Marvel have yet faced is to bring their fantasy/superhero crossover character Thor to the big screen. And as part 3 of 4 in Marvel's quest to bring the Avengers to the masses not only does Thor have to stand on its own two feet but it also has to fit comfortably into the cinematic universe already created by Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk before it. Thankfully due to an inspired choice of director, a great cast and solid story, Thor ris... More

Posted by Marwood at 11:38, 10 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Thor

doubt the most difficult balancing act Marvel have yet faced is to bring their fantasy/superhero crossover character Thor to the big screen. And as part 3 of 4 in Marvel's quest to bring the Avengers to the masses not only does Thor have to stand on its own two feet but it also has to fit comfortably into the cinematic universe already created by Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk before it. Thankfully due to an inspired choice of director, a great cast and solid story, Thor rises to the chall... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Biggus at 17:41, 08 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: ‘BY Odin’s beard,’ as Ron Burgundy might say, ‘a Thor adaptation that sucketh not!’

L: Citizen Dildo L: Marwood L: musht Great movie really enjoyed, both the acting and script were extremely impressive and the chemistry between the characters was great. Very impressed by Hemsworth but Hiddleton's Loki defo stole the show for me, very good performance perfectly displaying Loki's manipulative nature. Looking forward to the Cap A and The Avengers now. yone know are their plans for a Thor 2 after the Avengers?ote] Think any solo sequels are goi... More

Posted by musht at 16:47, 08 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Good dumb fun (as opposed to Fast Five which is just dumb)

Enjoyable. Especially loved the bits where Thor is acting godly on Earth, when he's been mortalised. Branagh's done well here. 3.5 stars. ... More

Posted by CORLEONE at 10:04, 08 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Whosoever scripted this film is unworthy of wielding the power to make it

This part was cut off from my original post: Certain genres of film allow the viewer to know what he can expect. Romance, horror and spy films conform to certain standards. Not so with the fantasy-adventure genre. It’s anyone’s guess what such a film is going to be like. It could have silly jokes, kids with pets, goofy sidekicks and be lighthearted or, instead, it could be a serious take like Lord of the Rings. Some liked the silly elements of Thor because they provided “entertainment value.” S... More

Posted by Mindwick at 20:39, 07 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Good but....

Shallow as hell but decent enough fun. The Asgard/Earth back and forth almost killed it, but Hemsworth and Hiddleston just about kept things watchable. 3/5 ... More

Posted by hatebox at 02:22, 07 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Whosoever scripted this film is unworthy of wielding the power to make it

L: Drone I get so very, very tired of the "comic book crowd" complaining about things like this... hem: L: KeithM ...as a long-time reader of Thor (since about 1971)...quote] Let me cut to the chase quick sharp and tell you my reaction when the movie ended... "That was effin' brilliant!" (I won't try to replicate the rather girlish giggle that came with it) Branagh really has done wonders here. The film is entertaining, exciting, funny, emotionally engaging and jus... More

Posted by KeithM at 20:18, 06 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Whosoever scripted this film is unworthy of wielding the power to make it

L: superdan it doesn't take itself too seriously, which allows some excruciating dialogue to sound amusing rather than grating, but it doesn't stray into camp comedy either, which allows for some quite dramatic scenes. eally well said. L: Mindwick There are basically two parts to the film. One part is the scheming, intricacies and political considerations in Asgard along with the battles they lead to. All this is directly out of the comic book and it is serious, int... More

Posted by Drone at 15:57, 06 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Whosoever scripted this film is unworthy of wielding the power to make it

Initial thoughts from me ble Spoilers**:t seemed pretty clear to me that this movie was the biggest potential banana skin for Marvel when it became apparent that they were going to build the Avengers franchise. The subject matter is too fantastical, too (frankly) ridiculous to fit into what has already been established by Iron Man, Hulk etc. So I found it quite a surprise that they (and Branagh, who should have silenced his numerous critics by now) managed to avoid fall... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by superdan at 12:29, 06 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: superb

Nicely entertaining, with the unique proposition of being filled with some fairly cliched dialogue, delivered in a way that's never... well, cliched.  Should have been more rubbish than it was, but it is in fact very good.  Don't think I could sit through it again any time soon mind you, but I'd say it's an easy three and a half - four stars. ... More

Posted by Drone at 13:46, 05 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: superb

NSWER Presumably when Odin touched him, he passed on or did something to Loki that makes Asgardians what they are (in sci-fi terms, some kind of genetic nano-virus perhaps; in fantasy terms through 'magic'), which made Loki half-giant, half-Asgardian in a way. Or something along those lines. Odin also mentions that he was 'stunted and unwanted' - basically a dwarf-giant. He would have been an embarrassment and a burden to Laufey, and probably wouldn't survive long, so Odin thought he was doin... More

Posted by rosiedoes at 13:17, 05 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Thor

I get a bit sceptical about films with Aussie TV actors in main roles. All those heartbreak High and Home and Away actor in The Matrix put me off that franchise. But all the positive reviews for Thor have been good. Seeing it on Friday night. ... More

Posted by slickrick at 05:35, 05 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: superb

L: rosiedoes LER QUESTION] yone else not understand why Loki, the abandoned ice giant baby wasn't actually an ice giant? Did I miss something, there?]or="#ff0000"]SPOILER ANSWERor="#ffffff"]Presumably when Odin touched him, he passed on or did something to Loki that makes Asgardians what they are (in sci-fi terms, some kind of genetic nano-virus perhaps; in fantasy terms through 'magic'), which made Loki half-giant, half-Asgardian in a way. Or something along those lines. Odin also ment... More

Posted by KeithM at 18:29, 04 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The 12 A certificate is a bit of a shame...

L: Cameron1975Williams ...because Branagh's made a great little kid's movie here. Tha's not a veiled criticism, I just think that's how he saw the material and he's right. Basic moral stories are for kids, to learn from. 36 year old men should know better and this film isn't for them. Hemsworth would look like an actual god to a young boys eyes and is really very good in this. Very silly fun, but not for grown men. Take your kids though. otally agree. If you read the BBFC's guidan... More

Posted by Gretzky at 18:02, 04 May 2011 | Report This Post


Previous pageMore user comments

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Video: Mark Ruffalo On Begin Again, Science Bros And Underpants Acting
Plus Empire meets director John Carney and co-star James Corden

How To Create Your Dragon - Build Your Own Toothless Today!
Animator Simon Otto reveals what animals (and objects) add up to make a dragon

Movie Poster Mashups: The Wes Anderson Edition
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be appalled at the punning...

Film Studies 101: Ten Movie Formats That Shook The World
The pre-digital innovations that formed modern cinema

Exodus: Gods And Kings: Ridley Scott's Trailer Breakdown
The director talks us through his enormous Biblical epic

Jay Baruchel Talks How To Train Your Dragon 2
From The Human Centipede to the origin of 'Useless reptile'

Watch: Industrial Light & Magic's Greatest Hits
From Star Wars to Transformers, we run through some of the best individual moments from the special effects masters

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time Subscribers' Cover

Subscribe today and get the cover and 3 issues for only £10!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £18!
Special 25th anniversary offer for one month only! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)