“Thor” Delivers an Electrifying Performance

A man never looked so angry with a hammer.

Ethan Perushek, Graphic Design Editor

Rarely does an action movie come along that tells a common tale in such a way that is still familiar yet completely different. “Thor,” as directed by Kenneth Branagh, takes the common elements from both the original ancient myth and Marvel’s retelling, binding them together to make an exciting action movie with authenticity and originality.

The story revolves around Thor, the god of thunder (Chris Hemsworth). Thor’s origin lies within the ancient Norse myths, and the film does a good job of explaining this in detail. Thor is headstrong, impulsive, and brash. His father, Odin the wise (Anthony Hopkins), is aging and the throne must go to his successor, Thor. On the eve of his crowning the ancient enemies of Asgard, Thor’s home, the frost giants, make a futile attempt to steal a relic of power deep within Asgard. Brash as always, Thor retaliates and attacks Jotunheim, home of the frost giants, and his actions banish him to earth.

This is where Thor’s new journey begins. He must learn from his past mistakes to reclaim his mighty hammer Mjolnir and return home to Asgard. Upon his banishment to Midgard (Earth), he runs into three scientists who are close to discovering the truth behind his appearance and other astrophysical phenomenon. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who is the lead scientist, along with her two colleagues, Erik (Stellan Skarsgård) and Darcy (Kat Dennings), plays a crucial part in Thor’s learning process and his eventual return. Meanwhile in Thor’s absence Loki (Tom Hiddleson), his adopted brother, is vying for the throne using all the mischief at his power.

The acting is nothing stunning or jaw dropping, but it is not abominable either. Portman and Hemsworth create an amusing and intriguing duo, and the viewer becomes engrossed in their growing romance. The supporting cast is average as well, adding funny one liners or, in Hiddleston’s case, adding to the depth of the story with his great portrayal of Loki’s fickle character.

Branagh has directed some of the best Shakespeare of the last 20 years, and this shows through in “Thor.” The quick-witted script assumes a bit of knowledge from the viewer. This may not be the best in some cases, but it was incredibly refreshing to not be spoon fed all information. In one case, one of Thor’s friends mention Loki’s silver tongue turning to lead; Loki is the god of mischief with an aptitude for lying and trickery, and Branagh takes it for granted that you either knew this or you are smart enough to figure it out.

Over the next few years there will be as spike in Marvel comic movies leading up to the release of the Avenger’s movie coming 2013, where all the characters will come together. But of the stories released so far, “Thor” was the most impressive. The intelligent script, with its Shakespearean twist and attention to detail, left me feeling like Branagh should direct more Marvel movies other than “Thor.”