Movie Mom

Movie Mom


posted by Nell Minow
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking in bar, character gets tipsy
Violence/Scariness:Extended comic book/sci-fi/fantasy action-style violence, characters injured and killed
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters
Movie Release Date:May 6, 2011
DVD Release Date:September 13, 2011

The original Hammer is here.  Thor, Norse god of thunder and lightning (and the source of the word “Thursday”), star of Marvel comics written by Stan Lee and his brother Larry Lieber and memorably illustrated by Jack Kirby, now joins his fellow Marvel superheros with his own movie franchise.  Marvel pretty much has the big budget franchise assembly line working smoothly.  While it does not hit the spot the way “Iron Man” did, it delivers on what  it sets out to do, pleasing newcomers and fanboys as well.  To say that the post-credit sequence glimpse of things to come is the best part of the film is just to say that this film meets its number one goal — to increase anticipation for next summer’s Avengers movie, where we will see the superhero all-stars working together.

Thor (Australian hunk Chris Hemsworth) is the son of Odin, King of the Gods (Anthony Hopkins in magisterial mode).  In myth, Odin traded his eye for wisdom.  In comic books, he lost it in battle with the Frost Giants, with whom they now have an uneasy truce.  Thor has a brother named Loki.  They are close, but competitive, and true to his stormy nature, Thor is impetuous and arrogant.  A small incursion by the Frost Giants is squelched.  Odin wants to leave it at that.  Thor disobeys and takes the warriors from Asgard through a portal to fight the Frost Giants.  They fight bravely, but they are overmatched, and barely rescued by Odin.  Furious, Odin banishes Thor to earth, stripping him of his powers — and his mighty hammer.  “That is pride and vanity talking,” he tells his son, “not leadership.”

A physicist named Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) as pretty as her name is plain, finds him as she is investigating some cosmic phenomena.  As the government steps in to take over the investigation (“We’re the good guys.”  “So are we.”) she begins to realize that he is more than human.  And he begins to realize that the battles he left behind are following him to earth.  “These are someone else’s constellations,” Jane says as she looks up at the sky.

This has all the ingredients for a superhero movie — director Kenneth Branagh (yes, that Kenneth Branagh) ably mixes the action and drama. He takes it seriously enough to satisfy the fanboys and slyly but respectfully tantalizes them with touches only they will understand — look for Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye alter ego Clint Barton and a shout-out to Tony Stark.  But he makes it accessible to newcomers and adds in some humor, much of it provided by the refreshing Kat Dennings.  Hemsworth has all the charm and brawn anyone could wish, and Tom Hiddleston as Loki is one of the best super-villains to hurtle through a vortex to take control of the universe.  And the hammer really is extremely cool.

Stay to the very end of the credits for a glimpse of “The Avengers.”  If it makes this movie feel like nothing more than a long coming attraction, it makes me glad that “Captain America” will be out soon.

Parents should know that this movie has extended sci-fi/fantasy violence with characters injured and killed.  There is a scene in a bar and a character gets drunk.


Family discussion: What did Thor have to learn to deserve the hammer?  What is the meaning of the quote from Arthur C. Clarke about science and magic?


If you like this, try: the other Marvel films like “Iron Man” and “Spider-Man” and the original comics from Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.  You can brush up on Thor lore with this piece by Cinema Blend.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Roger

    I’m really looking forward to seeing Thor. Unfortunately, I let my 14 year old son choose between seeing Thor and Fast Five. HUGE mistake. Fast Five is awful, although it’s somehow receiving inexplicably high scores on a certain well known movie review aggregation website. And I’m REALLY flummoxed as to how The King’s Speech can be rated “R” for a single scene of non-gratuitous swear words, while Fast Five is PG-13 with its continuing steam of foul language–much of which seemed designed to crassly objectify women. I owe my wife an apology for not trusting her instincts that Fast Five would be a 130 minute waste of time…

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Rach

    We saw Thor yesterday. We debated about 3d or 2d and opted for the 2d given what others have said. The 2d version was very impressive on its own, the movie did have that ‘kenneth branagh’ feel to it (which we like), we also loved stan lee’s cameo and references made to the ‘hulk’ in one of the lines. If you are old time comic book junkies or newly introduced, you will definitely like this movie. We are looking forward to Captain America this summer and The Avengers next year. We found it interesting that a lot of the main characters were in previous big block busters (Star Wars, Star Trek, and Pirates of the Caribbean).

    • Nell Minow

      Great comment, Rach, thanks! And I agree about the 2D — any time 3D is added in post-production, it is not worth seeing.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Joanie Kensil

    Hi Nell! I missed the “Hulk” comment mentioned by Rach above, but the first thing my 17 yr old daughter said when we left the theatre was “I loved it! It was CLEAN!” In other words, one of the reasons she loved it is that it add the action and storyline we love, without swearing or sex. IT CAN BE DONE! My 16 and 14 yr old sons loved it as well. So THOR was the perfect Mother’s Day movie! It was much funnier than anticipated, too!
    btw, when was Stan Lee’s cameo? Must have missed that as well.
    Can’t wait for Capt. America! Let’s hope Transformers 3 is less nasty than 2! Our fave movie of all time is Transformers 1, so we have high hopes it can go into “Thor” mode.

    • Nell Minow

      Great comment, Joanie, thanks! I agree with enthusiasm. And that was Stan Lee driving the truck that was trying to budge the hammer (and failing)!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Joanie Kensil

    Sorry, should be “had the action” instead of “add the action”.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Vince

    I knew Thor would be a harder sell due to the fact that he’s not well known among the general public, so as someone who’s a huge fan of Marvel, it makes me glad that people are liking it. I confess that my experience with Thor is limited to his appearences in The Avengers (both the comics and the excellent cartoon series that’s on Disney XD right now), but I loved the movie and I really want to read the comics now. Fortunately, Marvel has a line of books called The Essentials where they reprint the original issues of their various series from the 60s and 70s, so I can see where Thor began and go from there. Building on what a previous poster said, I think it’s really great that all of the movies that Marvel has made themselves are more or less appropriate for family viewing because there’s hardly any blood, no sex and swearing is kept to a minimum. I’ve been trying to get my niece into superheroes (so far, so good) and it’s nice that I can actually share these movies with her If I want to. Captain America is a WWII movie so I’ll have to see if Marvel continues their family-friendly tradition. Here’s hoping.

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  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment David Crowley

    We saw it first as a couple, and then I took my kids to see it.

    I was always curious how they would play the Thor mythology into modern times… unlike other superheroes that mutated or were made by some gamma rays or spider bites, or some other thing, Thor was Thor from mythology.

    I thought they did a really good job about tying in the mythology and telling the story of Odinfather and the Asgardians. It was a good mix of Clash of the Titans (Norse style) and Superhero storytelling.

    In fact, after watching the movie, my two older kids were interested in reading more about the Norse mythology. :)

    • Nell Minow

      That’s the best news of all, David! Thanks!

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  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Sleepyndoc

    While I’ve always been more of a mutant fan than an Avenger fan, I have great respect for the Iron Man movies – they’re fabulous! Thor, while not as amazing, is a strong entry in the series. I recommend those who want to learn more about the universe seek out the “Ultimates” graphic novels – these movies seem to owe more to the reworking in the Ultimates universe than to the original comics. Looking forward to all these characters coming together!

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