Despite some dubious directorial choices, Thor is a crowd-pleasing “yes and” to the formula established by the Marvel movies that came before it, expanding the horizons of the franchise to include gods and aliens.
In particular, it deserves credit for its gorgeous digital production design and the cast, which ranges from the Shakespearean (Anthony Hopkins as Odin) to the fun (Chris Hemsworth as Thor) to the about-to-be-a-cultural-icon (Tom Hiddleston as Loki). The first half of the movie is quite strong, and my problems with the second half are not with the size of the battle scenes; unlike many critics of this movie, I really like the fact that we get a showdown that’s not in a big city and a conflict that hinges on family drama more than big guns.
However, there’s no denying that the emotional connection needed to appreciate the climactic character moments is … lacking. For example, although I like Natalie Portman’s character, I never really buy that her relationship to Thor is more meaningful than lust (nothing wrong with that — I mean, have you seen Chris Hemsworth?). Still, there’s enough here that I’m glad I revisited it. Recommended. ★★★½