Variety‘s Richard Kuipers, filing from Sydney, has given Kenneth Branagh‘s Thor a half-pass, at least in terms of satisfying primitive action-flick criteria. I’m sure I’ll find reasons to hate it — where there’s a will there’s a way — but the possibility has been raised that Thor may be at least semi-tolerable.
The Paramount release is “neither the star pupil nor the dunce of the Marvel superhero-to-screen class,” Kuipers writes. “[It] delivers the goods so long as butt is being kicked and family conflict is playing out in celestial dimensions, but is less thrilling during the Norse warrior god’s rather brief banishment on Earth,” and will therefore “face a tougher time attracting viewers for whom this type of fare is the exception rather than the rule.
“With Aussie hunk Chris Hemsworth impressive in the lead and Branagh investing the dramatic passages with a weighty yet never overbearing Shakespearean dimension, pic [will] face a tougher time attracting viewers for whom this type of fare is the exception rather than the rule.
“As the living actor and director most closely associated with Shakespeare, Branagh may seem a surprise choice for such material. A childhood reader of the comics, he brings a fan’s enthusiasm and his skill as an actor’s director to the table here. Fitting Hemsworth out with a classical but never pompous British accent and shooting emotionally charged sequences with elegant simplicity, Branagh succeeds in rendering his mythological characters deeply human.
“While no fatal missteps are taken along Thor’s path to redemption, pic has a slightly choppy feel, as if it’s trying to squeeze an origin tale and at least part of its sequel into a single entity. Most of the material motors along just fine, though the editing occasionally seems a bit too hurried in moving from one dimension to the next. An extra reel of Earth-bound story might not have gone astray.”
The 3D pic runs 113 minutes.