Thor has never been the most relatable of Marvel’s superhero characters — even if he has family issues like the rest of us, he is, after all, a god and not a mere mortal.
He’s also not as familiar to the non-comic-reading audience as, say, Spider-Man or Iron Man, so making a movie about him has its challenges. But based on the reviews of “Thor,” director Kenneth Branagh and screenwriters Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz and Don Payne pulled it off. Critical reception probably won’t play much part in the movie’s box-office prospects (it made $3.2 million in midnight showings Thursday), but it might get a few on-the-fence moviegoers into theaters.
Here’s a sampling of the mostly positive reviews, and a couple that were less enthralled:
“Branagh gets the balance between pageantry and silliness just right.” [Movieline]
“[When] the mighty intergalactic Thunder God travels to Earth … ‘Thor acquires a sense of humor and becomes that thing that all creatures from all realms crave: a good time.” [Chicago Tribune]
“The thing is … that the kind-of-O.K. aspects of ‘Thor’ have the
effect of making it more depressing, rather than less. The movie cannot
be an interesting, appalling train wreck because it lacks the spoiled
grandeur of ambition gone off the rails. … The absolute and unbroken
mediocrity of ‘Thor’ is evidence of its success. This movie is not
distinctively bad, it is axiomatically bad.” [New York Times]
“Hemsworth plays Thor as an uncomplicated man of action with the moral clarity and love of derring-do of a ’40s swashbuckler and the toned physique of a 21st-century underwear model. He’s also the embodiment of the big, loud, relentlessly entertaining film around him.” [AV Club]
“Back on Earth, the plot is not in such good shape, with every derivative thing that happens to the scientists investigating Thor playing like it happened better in another movie.” [Los Angeles Times]
“‘Thor,’ directed by Kenneth Branagh, is equal parts trippy, tacky, and monumental, the blend surprisingly agreeable, a happy change from all those aggressively down-to-earth superhero flicks like ‘Iron Man.'” [Vulture]