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From the studios that brought us Iron Man and the man who does Shakespeare better than anybody, Thor finally hits our screens.

Since Iron Man and the latest Incredible Hulk came into cinemas it’s been common knowledge that Marvel Studios have been working towards a master project, The Avengers. With the superhero mega movie set for release in 2012, we’re being presented with Thor and Captain America to whet our appetites in the meantime.

Thor, directed by the master of theatre Kenneth Branagh, tells the story of the only Avenger who is actually a God. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is the son of Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and lives in the fantasy realm of Asgard. When an ancient peace is threatened between his people and the Frost Giants, Thor takes it upon himself to seek revenge. With his hot headedness and attraction to violence and war, things take a turn for the worse and his father banishes him to earth. Obviously this secretly delights his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who has always lived in Thor’s shadow, with him seeing this as his opportunity to shine.

Once on Earth, Thor encounters some humans, three to be exact, who happen to be out in the desert researching the storms. After a couple of incidents, including Thor being run over and escaping hospital, he starts to learn more about his companions, mostly Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). Meanwhile S.H.I.E.L.D have discovered Thor’s hammer out in the desert and fans of the Marvel films will already identify this as one of the special after-credits scenes from Iron Man 2. S.H.I.E.L.D effectively sweep the area and confiscate all of Jane’s research. Thor and Jane work together to try and retrieve their items while a blossoming romance forms.

Back in Asgard, Loki is building a plan to take over the throne. When his father suddenly collapses and falls into a mighty sleep he sees this as his perfect chance. Using his magical powers he visits Thor on Earth, telling him that their father has died and that he can never return to Asgard. Meanwhile Loki is also building an alliance with the terrible Frost Giants to murder Odin in his sleep. Thor must save Earth, Asgard and his father.

In the run-up to its release there was much speculation concerning whether Branagh could pull off something as commercial and monumental as Thor. Not only has he done this, but he has kept the brand’s reputation clean ready for the impending release of Captain America. Thor’s storyline is a little different from that of the other Marvel heroes, namely because he is a God from another realm. Some may find the fantasy element of Thor a little weird but this will only be because it is that bit different from the other stories. If you can put that aside and just sit back and enjoy the ride then you won’t be disappointed.

Chris Hemsworth does more than a worthy job in the film’s lead role, looking every bit the Adonis, with his flowing blonde locks, biceps and brooding features. He also creates some great comic moments in the film. Natalie Portman as his love interest, Jane, is also watchable. It’s a little odd to see her in a film like this at first but she is quite the girl-next-door, making her character work well. Their romance is sweet and refreshing and luckily doesn’t outweigh any of the other action in the film. Anthony Hopkins is, undeniably, film royalty so to play a King is no big task for him – and play it majestically he does.

Anyone who knows the history and comic story behind Thor knows about the power of Thor’s Hammer. Branagh creates some truly amazing fight sequences with this weapon. These could stand out as some of the best use of 3D in recent films. We also get a detailed look at The Frost Giants and the fights between them are very strong.

The overall look of this film, ranging from the scenert, costumes and feel, is impressive. It seems very different to the likes of Iron Man and almost does have a God-like quality to it – a feat that is particularly fitting for setting Thor apart from the other Avengers. It is nothing short of a spectacular watch and hopefully the upcoming Captain America and 2012’s The Avengers will be close to Godliness too.

Best scene: Fight sequence in the S.H.I.E.L.D camp.
Best performance: Chris Hemsworth as Thor.
Best line: Thor: ‘I need a horse’
Pet shop owner: ‘We only sell cats, dogs and birds’
Thor: ‘Well give me one of those that is big enough to ride’

We advise you to not only stay after the credits for a little glimpse of something special, but to also look out for an appearance from future Avenger Hawkeye, played by Jeremy Renner, in the S.H.I.E.L.D camp.

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