Who's In It: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard, Tom Hiddleston, Kat Dennings, Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba, Rene Russo
The Basics: Odin (Hopkins) has his hands full as king of Asgard, with the mean Frost Giants seething over a lost battle, and his son Thor (Hemsworth) being a hotheaded Kurt Cobain lookalike ready to knock someone's block off at any given moment. He also has a submissive son, Loki (Hiddleston) who skulks around in the background glancing moodily at things like a teenage girl. Sometimes it's not so great to be the king, I guess. Thor loses his cool and gets banished to Earth, Loki starts causing mischief, and Odin's heart gives out. Over on Earth, Thor is confusing scientists and wooing them all at the same time, while trying to figure out how to get back to Asgard. Small spoilers follow.
What's The Deal: I completely understand that Marvel wants lightning to strike twice so they can get some Iron Man cash coming at them…but this movie can't hold a candle to that one. Although it looks quite beautiful and has enough gorgeous space shots to make Nova green with envy, the movie is too weighted down by exposition to ever really get interesting. Admittedly, Chris Hemsworth is cute and has some funny moments in the film, but overall, it was like watching interstellar paint dry. And why is everyone so concerned with Idris Elba playing Heimdall? There are way bigger problems in this film than a black actor portraying a Viking. Can't we all just get along?
His Love Interest Is A Ninny: Yeah, I said it. I am a big fan of Natalie Portman, but there was nothing in this script that made me like the character of Jane Foster. I know these movies are not about the female lead, but aside from spouting a couple of scientific-sounding sentences and chasing everyone around like a terrier, she didn't do anything. Her eyes were super brown and she was really over-the-top smitten with Thor's muscles. That was about it, and it didn't move me. Female warrior Sif (Jaimie Alexander) was more interesting in her small amount of screen time, with her swinging ponytail and intense stares.
Fighting A Big Tin Can Is Not A Good Finale: To the casual viewer, Destroyer is like an Iron Man suit without the personality. This doesn't make him a strong silent type, it makes him boring. All he does is make his face real hot and blast stuff. I know he is indestructible, but that doesn't automatically make it compelling. I sat through the entire film feeling emotionally distant from the characters and the action, and this big wrap up also left me cold. When a big summer movie ends, I want to be hooting and hollering like an idiot. When the credits rolled here, I just took one last dejected sip from my man's Coke Zero (™) and wistfully stroked his biceps. Wow, that sounded way more sad than I intended. Just go rent Iron Man again, okay?
Always The Eternal Optimist: I think Thor will be a great character in the upcoming Avengers movie. As I mentioned before, Chris Hemsworth was not without merit. He was aggressive and charming and looked good wielding his tool. He didn't carry an entire film but will be a great part of the ensemble.