Rated 4.0

The story of Thor, son of Odin and wielder of a very big hammer, proves to be an excellent opportunity for director Kenneth Branagh to apply his grandiose, Shakespearean sensibilities. Chris Hemsworth is charming and funny as the title character, banished to Earth after pissing off his heavenly daddy (Anthony Hopkins). Tom Hiddleston is equally good as Loki, Thor’s maladjusted brother and eventual villain. The movie mixes great action with good humor, with Natalie Portman along for the ride as the romantic interest and Kat Dennings providing decent comic relief. While it got the post-production 3-D treatment, this is an example of that strain of 3-D done well. Easily Branagh’s best film since Hamlet, and a nice setup for next year’s The Avengers. Hemsworth makes for a great superhero, and the story of Thor winds up being far more interesting and fun than I imagined it would be.