‘Thor’ Review

Published 4 years ago by , Updated October 5th, 2011 at 5:07 pm,

thor movie reviews Thor Review
Screen Rant’s Vic Holtreman reviews Thor

While I suppose Fast Five has claimed the early bird title of the film that kicked off the U.S. 2011 summer movie season, Thor is starting off what will be a summer heavy with superhero films. The question on everyone’s mind is will it start things off with a bang or a whimper?

Overall the story is pretty straightforward: Thor is the favored son of Odin over brother Loki, Thor is not shy about his position (poor self-esteem is NOT one of his problems), he disobeys his father, bringing danger to Asgard, is banished, and must somehow become “worthy” in order to regain his place (and power) in the kingdom.

Banishment sends Thor (Chris Hemsworth) to Earth – specifically to the outskirts of a very small town in New Mexico and into the company of Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). Jane is an astrophysicist whose research lies outside the mainstream – she’s a bit of a free spirit (for a scientist). Working with her is a veteran scientist  played by Stellan Skarsgård and a young, annoyingly goofy assistant played by Kat Dennings. They come upon the relatively de-powered Thor and can’t seem to separate themselves from his company.

Thor’s arrival was followed by that of the mighty Mjolnir, his magic-imbued (or here, in the film, more science than magic) hammer. Mjolnir comes to the attention of S.H.I.E.L.D. and our favorite man in black, Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg). Mjolnir can only be lifted/used by those who are worthy, and due to his being cast out, Thor is not able to retrieve it from the compound surrounding it.

Meanwhile, his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is in Asgard and up to no good. He eventually delivers a message to Thor that leaves our erstwhile hero completely disheartened and resigned to his fate – to live out the rest of his life as a mere mortal on Earth.

The film has two very distinct personalities: Asgard (and the celestial realm) – and Earth (specifically, small town New Mexico). When the film is in Asgard and points beyond, it is completely engaging and engrossing. Complaints about how silly the costumes/armor looked in early photos will vanish, as they look like they completely belong. While there is a bit of humor, there is no tongue-in-cheek to be found in these off-world locations, and I for one was very thankful for that.

tom hiddleston thor Thor Review

Tom Hiddleston as Loki in 'Thor'

Asgard is where the movie really shines, and it is there that Tom Hiddleston, as Loki, steals the film. Director Kenneth Branagh coaxes a nuanced performance from him that is very far from a mustache-twirling villain. He is not just conflicted – you can actually be tempted to take his side despite the dark path he follows. He just does an amazing job and will probably be a lot of folks’ favorite character from the film.

Anthony Hopkins is as regal and powerful as ever – and when early on he puts Thor in his place with a mighty bellow you’ll feel like maybe you should shut the heck up and pay attention as well. Ray Stevenson as “bulky” warrior Volstag is nigh unrecognizable under all that beard and hair but he plays the boisterous soldier well and with a touch of fun. Jaimie Alexander is a believable female warrior and acquits herself well – playing it strong while still seeming a lady.

A contender for “favorite character” in the film will be Idris Elba as Heimdall, the sentry and gatekeeper of Asgard. He is not on screen very long, but he’s a commanding presence every time he appears. He has a regal, noble, powerful sense about him that commands and holds your attention, and you’ll be wishing he had more screen time in the movie.

idris elba heimdall thor Thor Review

Idris Elba as Heimdall in 'Thor'

And then we have the part of the story that takes place on Earth. This is where the trademark Marvel movie humor was injected into the film, and for me, much of it was overly goofy and overused. There were a couple of funny moments that were a bit more restrained that I enjoyed (a post-drinking scene between Hemsworth and Skarsgård was short, subtle and quite funny).

The tone for the humor in the film was set right from the opening, which had me groaning and concerned for what might come during the course of the movie. I found the opening scene semi-ludicrous (imagine a tornado chaser wanting to drive right INTO the tornado, that also has a lightning storm happening inside it), and the sophomoric humor brought to the first few scenes courtesy of Dennings’ character left me cold (although the audience I was with seemed to enjoy it). Things evened out over time (thankfully), but still, parts of the movie that took place on Earth left me yearning for a return to Asgard.

To his credit, Chris Hemsworth did a fine job playing the supremely arrogant Thor – arrogant even without his super-powers. He softened by the end of the film (a bit too suddenly, I think) but he was believable on both sides of the personality shift. He was very charming even in his arrogance. Natalie Portman didn’t really have a lot to do here and seemed like she could have been played by most any attractive young thirty-something actress – nothing really of note in her performance. Then again, she really wasn’t given much to do.

chris hemsworth thor1 Thor Review

Chris Hemsworth as the de-powered Thor

Asgard interiors looked amazing, although the exteriors looked a little to “Star Wars prequel” for my taste. The design they came up with for the rainbow bridge was both impressive (you try making a “rainbow bridge” real) and effective. Another great design was that of the gateway – very visually interesting in both appearance and function. Jotunheim, the planet of the Frost Giants was appropriately vast and barren, although the monstrous creature seen in the trailers looked a bit CGI-ish.

There were multiple battles throughout the film to keep action-lovers sated, and although the final battle on Earth seemed a bit disappointing, the early battle with the Frost Giants from Jotunheim and a final face-off in Asgard are pretty damned epic. Especially in the former you definitely get a sense of the incredible power of Thor. If I have any complaints it’s that the fight scenes were shot in that uber-annoying, close-in, super-choppy-editing style. The darkness in some of the scenes compounded with the darkening of the 3D glasses/effects made some of it look extremely murky.

Speaking of 3D, while I think the concept of post-production 3D is terrible (if you’re going to make a 3D movie, SHOOT it using 3D cameras), I didn’t see any of the usual telltale signs of after-the-fact 3D: the back of an actor’s head floating apart from his face, the look of 2D layers separated by artificial depth, etc. On the other hand, there’s nothing much here to make this worth seeing in 3D. If you can see it in 2D, I recommend you just do that instead.

For the Marvel fans, the appearance of Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye in the film seemed superfluous – it was there more as a tie-in to the Avengers movie and as a little Easter egg for you. Yes, they did incorporate Thor’s alter-ego Donald Blake into the film in a offhand and creative way – and I will not spoil for you how Thor used his hammer and whether it matched his use of Mjolnir in the comics. icon smile Thor Review

Overall, Thor was a very enjoyable ride that combined epic action and scenery, but not at the expense of letting the audience get to know some great characters. Right now I’d say this is probably the second best Marvel-produced superhero movie, behind the first Iron Man.

If you want to talk freely about the film without worrying about spoiling it for others, please head on over to our Thor Spoilers Discussion.

Here’s a trailer for Thor:


[poll id="151"]

Our Rating:

3.5 out of 5
(Very Good)

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  1. Did anybody notice Tony Stark’s Arc reactor in the weapons vault in THOR??

    • remind me, what weapons vault? i can’t remember where that bit was.

      • Where the frost giants were trying to steal back the casket….

        • oh right! thanks for that. I totally missed it. that is interesting though!

    • I saw the movie quite a few times (and went to watch it again after seeing this comment) and there was no ARC reactor. It might have been something that looked like it, but its not there.

      Also why would it be there? Iron Man doesn’t even know what ASGARDIANS are and the ASGARDIANS wouldn’t have a thing like that in their vault. IT MAKES NO SENSE.

      Sorry to be so harsh, but you must have made a mistake.

  2. Not sure how anyone can give this movie 5 stars. That’s as bad as the one-liners.
    Someone mentioned reading the script and a few parts being cut out. Are you suggesting Marvel made the movie less than 2 hours long on purpose? If this is the case then I find marvel to be a joke. It must be all about the money and not quality. Also, why was Rene Russo in it? She had like 4 lines.

    • Dude it’s a comic book movie get a GRIP!!!

      • Dr Manhattan

        Because it’s a comic book movie means it automatically gets a 5 out of 5? I have my own opinion, deal with it.

        • yeah that’s mature. are most of your movies rated G?

        • @ Jake the Snake

          It’s fine to have opinions but what you did just there was SLANDER Marvel Studios – and that’s not OK.

          If you don’t like a movie and want to express your opinion about it, just do it in a NICE way.

          Also, Marvel is awesome, and they are all about the fans (well… maybe 89%)

          Although, I would have liked the movie EVEN MORE if it were a bit longer, and I, to, don’t get why Rene Russo was in it.

  3. TheAvenger so you agree that the IRS should be able to seize your property if your illegally downloading “movies”?

  4. To say you should lose your house over watching an illegally downloaded movie is idiotic. Just think about it.

  5. Got to say that Idris Elba as Heimdall was awesome!

  6. @Archaeon, just cause some guy blogs he’s watched Thor illegally doesn’t make it fact. Watching people get upset over this is weird, I don’t see how it effects you? Even if you’ve worked on the film???

    And,,,there are more effective ways to curb illegal downloading then going affter the end users house? The bloodlust on this topic is very unAmerican.

    • 790…

      Read my response to The Big Dentist previously. I do not agree with the EXTREMITY of GTC’s comment (losing one’s house, etc.), just his right to comment (as others have done on Screenrant) about the wrongness of illegal movie-watching without being attacked.

      As for how it affects me…personally, it does not, but you (conspiracy-hunter that you are) SHOULD know that the studios and theaters will use ANY excuse, any impropriety, to raise prices or otherwise increase profits, INCLUDING the idea that losing money because of illegal downloads “makes” them have to raise the stakes in their business plans for the various movies being developed and/or released.

      In other words, they say, “We’ve gotta…”, and we end up having higher ticket costs and 3D-only releases.

      It’s not, by any stretch of the imagination, an apocalyptic issue, but it IS an annoying (stupidly unnecessary) one.

      I assure you that I have no bloodlust of ANY sort…usually. ;)

  7. As long as file sharing sites are allowed to exsist the end user should bear the burden of illegal downloads.

    Don’t buy into it, the studios only want you to generate sympathy with them. Their not loosing any money, and there’s no study that proves it.

    They (studios) want this to be a worldwide problem, (even when its there’s) so they can restrict content and take away your freedom to not just see trailers on SR but to watch anything online.

    Standing up for illegal online laws, your only doing the work for them, by in effect taking away your own rights.

    • Yes, but THAT is precisely my point. The studios will do it because they know people will continue to pay…same problem with gas-powered cars and SO many other things. At the end of the day, at their most basic level, they are nothing more than money-making entities.

  8. It doesn’t make any sense then Archaeon to support the MPAA and the studios if you think their gonna do it anyway.

    Why would you support them?

  9. Disagree with you on the humorous parts, I like them and found them to be a nice departure from the more serious tone of the film. The comments weren’t at all patronizing. As I recall there was plenty of it in the comics.

    The 3D SUCKED! Way too dark. Can’t wait to see it again in 2D.

    • The 2D is dark too at times. Murky like the article said.

  10. Just saw the movie with my 11 year old son. We both liked it. I enjoyed the Earth scenes as much as the Asgard scenes. Was thinking about SG1 though the whole time. ha ha

    We both would have rather seen the movie in 2D vs 3D. We are tired of the 3D mania. Let it end already :-)

    My two cents.

    • Hey, Hey Jenny44.. That’s MY line you stole there! ROFL.

      I took the wife and my 14 year old daughter and we all really enjoyed the intern’s sense of humor. The part where she was getting her stun gun ready again was priceless!

      Marvel has a problem with rushed endings in my opinion. The first big battle would have been better at the end. My inner geek.. well, outter geek loved the hammer twirling and slinging during the Frost Giant fight.

      Anyways, the endings: I’d dig seeing them resemble the old school Kung Fu fights.
      Where the good guys fought the bad guy for a good while and you got a sense of their skills before the climax.

      I loved Loki in this, but his abilities didn’t jive with his background story (won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it yet).

      Idris Elba’s Heimdall was GREAT!

      All in all, I liked it much better than Iron-Man.

      • Oh.. P.S,

        Don’t bother with the 3D.. too dark and not needed. Save the money for a sip of soda.

      • ha ha…can’t help but think of Stargate when I hear Thor’s name. Keep thinking a little gray dude will pop up unexpectedly. Would have been a funny blooper.

        • Jenn44,

          you know you’re so wrong for that… LOL.

  11. Imo id like Marvel Studios films in this order probly

    1. Ironman
    2. The Incredible Hulk/but Thor not far behind as being in 2nd place spot.
    3. Thor
    4. Ironman 2

    Subject to change of-course when Captain America & The Avengers come out & future films Marvel Studios will have coming.

    • 1. Blade (no movie with the exception of Matrix I, II have a better OMG opening)
      2. Thor
      3. Spider-Man
      4. Iron-Man

      I lump the FF and Xmen movies in the same trash bin they’re keeping Howard the Duck, DD and Ghost Rider company.

      Marvel by far has the most movies made, but the quality of the Batman reboots and the adoration for the Reeves Superman flicks makes up for DC’s lack of numbers.

      I rank my movies by “Rewatchability”
      I’ll watch “Blade” more than any superhero film made.

      • @ Nate aka My 2 Cents

        No mention of Burton’s Batman films? Just curious, everyone has their opinion. I just enjoyed Burton’s Batman films aswell as Nolan’s. Even Batman Forever was good imo despite it WB’s direction with the franchise at the time.

        • Hey Flash,..

          Nope, no mention of the first Batman flicks.. unless they want to sit in the corner or else joing the party in the Bin…
          Seriously, the first one was ok for the time, but it’s severly dated now. I will admit that the fight in the bell tower was much better than any of the fight scenes from Nolan’s first film.
          You couldn’t see anything but head and shoulders in Nolan’s flick. The part where he drops on the guys on the pier had me screaming “Who’d he hit, what happened??”

          In Burton’s film, they allowed you to see Bat’s agility.

          I think all fight scenes from her on out should be contracted to any of the Yuen clan, John Medlen (Buffy) or the choreographer for “Undisputed II”

      • Marvel Studio’s didn’t produce or have anything to do with Spider-Man, Blade, Ghost Rider, X-Men or the FF. So you can’t really list them with the other Marvel Studio films as best films produced by them. 8)

        • Blade was coproduced by Marvel Studios B with Lionsgate.

  12. Then again maybe i like Thor as 2nd, It’s a tie to me between Thor & The Incredible Hulk. I’ll have to see Thor again probly.

  13. Dark 3D…. I keep seeing people mentioning this. Is it IMAX 3D or REALD 3D?

    I didnt see darkness with regards to IMAX 3D. I may be partial though as it was my 1st IMAX 3D.

  14. I thought this movie was quite fun. If only Thor didn’t squint so much. He has such beautiful blue eyes. :) Sorry… I was a bit distracted from the plot. Instead of saying it was good or great, I say it was fun. For someone who hasn’t read a “Thor” comic the plot was not difficult to follow, even if the Loki-issue hadn’t been a bit predictable.


  16. I saw the movie in 2D. The movie was great for me overall. I loved the story and the actors did a fine job. I think the studio stuck very close to what a modern day Thor (movie version) should be like. What I did not like was there were so many action scenes that were dark and murky. I kept rubbing my eyes so the screen would sharpen up and it never did. I could tell Asgard was filmed differently than Earth. I know the director did this on purpose but I think it hurt the film in the end. Crisp, clear images and video are a must for a movie like this. We know how good CGI monsters CAN look and it didnt happen in this film even with a sufficient budget. Overall I give it a 4 out of 5 due to poor CGI at times and a less than satisfactory fight scene between Thor and the Destroyer.

  17. I have a free ticket due to the points on my Regal card, so I will probably see this again in 3D. It’s a movie that’s good enough to rewatch and I’m curious about the 3D.

    • Ahh, don’t waste your free ticket on 3D! Save it for Cap!!

  18. 5 stars from me.

  19. I am not sure I agree with this review. The story line was very weak, the romance between the girl and Thor was non existent but it felt like they were forcing a romantic side to the story. Seems like they tried to cover to much in a short film which did not work especially to those who don’t know the story of Thor ..

    • I can’t figure out why people would go to a comic book movie without prior knowledge of the characters and expect it to be fleshed out so they can follow it.

      I took my wife and she studied up prior, so she at least knew Loki and Thor had beef of some kind.

  20. @Nate, these are just movies,,,

    Some folks on this site take comic book Superheros WAY to seriously. Like I’m going to bone up on the backstory of Thor before viewing. Lol, I couldn’t give a damn,,,

    • 790,

      Please see part about “expecting stuff to be fleshed out” It’s like going to see the last Matrix without seeing 1 and 2 then asking someone who Neo is and why he can do all that stuff.

      I’m going to disagree with “They’re just movies” if they were “Just” that, none of us would be on this site “Giving a damn” about replying or commenting, nor would the characters have millions of fans.

  21. The movie was not bad but it was not great either. For a supposedly all powerful God-like Hero, Thor doesn’t feel nor look that powerful in the movie.

    • Thor was never all powerful, even in the comic. And they were not gods in the movie; the Norse believed them to be gods because of their abilities.

      • He still whooped Frost Giant A..!

    • That was how I felt when I saw this movie,I hope the Thor fans who say Thor can beat Superman took note and compare this to Superman (Returns) power levels even if he did not punch anything,and a movie is as close as you can get to reality.

        • Aknot…

          Did you not just do what you’ve told others on at least one other thread NOT to do? You say, “See? It’s a fact that Thor is more powerful than Superman, because ‘Wizard’ proves it”…No, it’s an opinion of one magazine that clearly does NOT state the definitive conclusion to this debate some choose to have. The magazine piece PROVES not; it merely makes a case for its opinion.

  22. @Nate, (have blackberry will comment). My point was that I’m really kinda sick of superhero films in general.

    Oh the sacrilage,,,!

    The endless speculation on superhero films, casting, plot, canon violations, costume pics, character villians, sure takes up a lot of space around here. There’s more to cinema then Batman or Thor.

    And before you tell me that this is a site dedicated to that genre, remember that this sites dedicated to a lot of movie genres.

    • Have BB will travel???

      um.. anyway, I’m not about to tell you or anyone what this site is dedicated to. I do know where a majority of us spend out time reading and commenting about though. The comic book ones or movies created from a prior medium like “Game of Thrones”

      when I look at posts about “regular” movies and the threads are pretty short.

    • 790 if you’re sick of reading all that on the site feel free to leave forever again until you come back in a week after under another name.

  23. Lol, “regular” movies like The Matrix, or Clockwork Orange. There’s a regular film. Easy Rider, Apocalypes Now, Good Bad & Ugly, The Big Lebowski, Galaxy Quest, Blade Runner hardly regular movies. :)

    Seems these days those kind regular films are few and far between. Sucks for me,,, :(

  24. Armond White gave this film a rotten tomato, just like he gave the LOTR trilogy. That tells me 2 things; this film is entertaining and White is a hack. :-)

  25. Good show of Thor’s power. Will be interesting to see Thor go head to head with the Jade Giant in the Avengers.

  26. hi all, could’ve sworn I saw jeremy renner aka hawkeye in Thor.

    • @ Dan: You did. He was the point-man set to take out Thor is Coulson didn’t want him to reach his hammer.

  27. Lol Daniel, forgot you worship batman.

    • I enjoy Batman. I don’t Worship anyone or anything, but nice try. I didn’t even bring up Batman you’re the only one to mention it. I was simply saying if you’re annoyed at what this site does don’t visit it. Seems pretty simple. Unless you just like kicking a hornets nest and don’t really care what the site does, but instead just want to start fights.