Thor, the newest film in what I would like to call The Avengers franchise, certainly does a great job of introducing the Norse god and gets you more than excited about the upcoming Avengers movie. The film certainly dazzles thanks to the visual effects department but in terms of storytelling it seems to thunder through (see what I did there?) most of the important plot points.

Chris Hemsworth, in his biggest starring role yet, is very capable of holding the audiences attention with and without his shirt. This movie will undoubtedly inspire most moviegoers to hit up the gym in time for the coming summer. However, I wouldn’t have the heart to tell them that if they are just getting started they may be a little late to the party.

Anyway, Hemsworth while great at playing the over entitled and arrogant heir to the throne does very little to advance his character. This may have less to do with him and more to do with the screenplay. The transformation from brat to savior of a planet occurs in the span of a single look and is hardly believable. Also, the romance with Natalie Portman’s character kind of just happens and appears to be more of a physical attraction.

The best scenes in the film involve the fights between Hemsworth, his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins), and his brother Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston. Hiddleston manages to make an excellent villian even though he looks like a boss in a Mega Man videogame for most of the film. Also, the 5’8” (according to his IMDB, so he is probably shorter) Hopkins is an imposing presence in the film even against the 6’3” Hemsworth.

Sometimes the film is unintentionally funny but also has intentional moments of levity provided by one, Kat Dennings (a more mainstream version of Lori Petty).  Had Dennings been cast in Easy A she could easily be at the same level Emma Stone is now. Thor will definitely help her get the exposure she needs to nab a few starring roles which I will definitely look forward to seeing.

Another standout is Idris Elba who plays the gatekeeper, Heimdall. Elba also has the benefit of having the best scene settings out of anyone in the movie. Oh and I almost forgot Stellan Skarsgard who just dials it in as the Norwegian scientist.  To his credit he does have a great bar drink-off with Thor but that is about it.

Although a driving force of the film, the impending war with the frost giants takes a back seat to setting up Thor and Loki as characters in the upcoming Avengers movie. We even get a cameo from Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye. Clark Gregg is even back as the annoying Agent Coulson. In the end, Thor is definitely a fine bit of entertainment but I just can’t stop thinking about the Avengers which is actually what the film is trying to get you excited about. However, I do like the way that the characters from the Avengers get tied into the franchises that are setting up some of the bigger characters.

3 out of 5 Stars