Zach Davis

Directed by: Kenneth Branagh (Post credit scenes shot by Joss Whedon)

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgård, Rene Russo, Kat Dennings, and Idris Elba

Kenneth Branagh did an outstanding job creating the worlds of Asgard and Jotunheim, the respective homes of the mighty hero Thor and the Ice Giants.  Branagh, not really known for using visual effects and computer images, managed better than many directors who spend their careers working on big budget films full of costly special effects.

Odin (Anthony Hopkins), the king of Asgard, is famed for defeating the Ice Giants and capturing the casket which gives the Ice Giants their powers.  Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Odin’s son, is set to become king.  Before Odin can say the words to officially make Thor king though, the Ice Giants make a move to steal the casket back.  They fail, but Thor, angered at their act of war, believes that they should be punished.  Thor wishes to go to Jotunheim to personally deliver this punishment, but Odin sees this as a foolish and unnecessary step towards war.  After consulting his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor defies his father and leads an attack on Jotunheim.  This causes the Ice Giants to officially declare war on Asgard.  An infuriated Odin then strips Thor of his powers and banishes him to Earth.

On Earth, Thor meets Jane (Natalie Portman), an astrophysicist who is unknowingly studying the strange phenomenon around the “bifrost” (the wormhole that allows one to travel between realms).  Realizing Thor is no ordinary person, Jane, her mentor Erik (Stellan Skarsgård), and her assistant Darcy (Kat Dennings) try to help him find his trusty hammer, Mjolnir.  It just happens to be in the possession of a government agency known as SHIELD.  Through all of this one thing becomes increasingly clear.  None of this was an accident, and it seems that Loki is living up to his mischievous reputation.

Thor offers a great blend of humor, action, and entertainment.  Many lines and Easter Eggs are spread throughout the movie, for eager comic book fans to enjoy.  They link the story to other Marvel movies such as Iron Man, Hulk, and the upcoming The Avengers.  The film is still enjoyable for those who aren't comic book aficionados and offers an update to the classic Norse mythology by tying it into the modern day world.

The acting in this movie was beyond what I expected, but then again it was under the knowledgeable eye of Branagh.  Chris Hemsworth was born to play Thor.  He portrays him as a brave, arrogant warrior who transforms into a true leader and king.  He embodies everything Thor should.  Hopkins’ portrayal of Odin can be described as nothing but godlike as his presence dominates every scene he's in.  Finally Tom Hiddleston’s Loki takes a deep dive into the maniacal and really stands up as an evil that can take on Thor.

Thor is the best comic book movie of 2011, and I can easily say no alcohol is necessary to enjoy this film.  Thor gets a sober rating.  It is a must-watch.  And don’t forget to watch after the credits for a tie-in to The Avengers.