Of all Marvel’s colourful characters, Thor – a bloke with a surfer-dude hairstyle who wears a cape and flies around with a hammer – is perhaps the most difficult to bring to the big screen.

Take a bow, then, director Kenneth Branagh. He manages to make a potentially laughable character cool, tough as nails and, apart from a few dud moments, not too cheesy.

Key to the success of Marvel’s latest superhero movie is clever casting, starting with Chris Hemsworth in the lead role. The Aussie is extremely likeable as Thor, the hot-headed son of Odin (Anthony Hopkins), ruler of mythical world Asgard.

When the hammer-wielding hero defies his father, he is cast out to Earth where he falls for scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). Meanwhile, back in Asgard, Thor’s brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is cooking up an evil scheme.

Visually spectacular when the action is in Asgard and funny and romantic on Earth, Branagh strikes a near-perfect balance between two very different worlds. The fact that we are dealing with gods means there is inevitably some pompous dialogue and some corny bits but this is as good a Thor movie as Marvel could have possibly made.


Good for: Those in the market for a Shakespearean superhero movie.

Watch the Thor trailer here.


Pierre de villiers