DVD Release Date: September 13, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: May 6, 2011
Rating: PG-13 (for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Adaptation
Run Time: 114 min.
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Actors: Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgard, Kat Dennings, Idris Elba, Rene Russo

Had your fill of comic-book action heroes on the silver screen? If not, Marvel hero Thor makes his film debut this weekend. More than a superhero-story, Thor also tells an origin story and a fish-out-of-water story that draws laughs and a few moments of excitement, but does nothing to ease concerns that these stories are getting a bit long in the tooth.

The title character is a Norse god who comes to Earth after a nasty family spat. His father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins, The Rite), rules the peaceful realm of Asgard, taking pride in its role in having brought peace to the universe. His son Thor (Chris Hemsworth, Star Trek) vows to preserve the peace and cast aside all selfish ambition, but soon instigates a conflict with the frost giants. The provocation flies in the face of Odin’s advice—“a wise king never seeks out war”—so he accuses Thor of arrogance and stupidity, removes Thor’s power and casts him and his mighty hammer to Earth.

There Thor has a close encounter with Jane (Natalie Portman, No Strings Attached), a researcher who works with Erik (Stellan Skarsgard, Angels & Demons) and Darcy (Kat Dennings, The Answer Man). Comic hijinks ensue as hunky Thor expresses forms of Asgardian enthusiasm—for example, smashing a coffee cup to demonstrate how much he enjoys the brew—that are frowned upon on our planet. While our hero struggles to reorient himself to his new surroundings, his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) moves in on their frail father, grabbing power after Odin falls into a deep sleep.

Thor’s story continues to alternate between the hero’s time on Earth and the struggle for power on Asgard. A government agent from our world is introduced as an antagonist who tries to figure out where Thor came from and what his hammer—embedded in a desert rock—might mean. But the character of the agent is underdeveloped. The film is overpopulated with extraneous characters, like Thor’s four buddies who show up on Earth late in the film, or Thor’s mother (Rene Russo). This story works best when it focuses on Thor, Loki, their father and Jane.