I went on a man-date this Saturday and caught an afternoon showing of "Thor." First, it's important for me to note that I'm both a comic and a mythology geek. Thor blurs those lines more than any other character I can think of off the top of my head. But I knew this going in, so I checked mythology-Dan at the door, because Marvel Thor routinely, shall we say, departs from the myth.
We chose to see the 3D show. To be honest, I don't think you'd miss anything of substance by seeing the regular version, outside of a few, "That looks pretty cool!" moments.*
I really had only one major complaint, and that's how Asgard itself was portrayed. It was far too sci-fi, and this was most evident at Bifrost (the rainbow bridge). The bridge itself looked very cool (if a little "Billie Jean"...you'll know what I mean), and then it was completely smacked in the face by this spinning, whirling, teleportation device. But it also had Heimdall, who was completely hardcore, so it's kind of a wash.
Another minor gripe I had is that Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins perfectly portraying, uh, Sir Anthony Hopkins) was this hybrid warrior/pacifist/philosopher/loving Dad. Odin, like pretty much every god in every world religion ever, was kind of a douche. But I'm getting all mythology-y again, so I'll stop.
Plotwise, there's nothing groundbreaking here. Exiled hero attempts to find himself whilst another's evil machinations run unchecked, blahblahblah. You're not watching "Thor" for plot intricacies...
...you're watching it for fights! The film does these very well (and often), with a nice variety ranging from large-scale battles to a little mano a mano. The CGI, which had to be everywhere, blended nicely with the human elements. I can't think of an instance where the CGI was noticeable in a negative way. Like baseball umpires, not getting noticed means you're doing it right. Each battle seemed to be just the right length, as well. A special shout-out goes to The Destroyer, which was terribly awesome.
The non-battle parts were a nice mix of humor and the mandatory budding romance between Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Jane (Natalie Portman). Not that I have a hidden talent for noticing these things, but they appeared to have some genuine chemistry. It doesn't sound like much, but anyone who had to suffer through the painful lack of chemistry between Padme and Anakin in the Star Wars prequels knows how bad chemistry can take you out of the fantasy.
Speaking of Hemsworth, I thought he did a superb job as the thunder god. That was my biggest concern as the movie started: "How can anyone really play that big stiff well?" But he did a great job playing the arrogant Thor with increasing humor, charm...and, most importantly, excess badassitude.
The acting in general was sound across the board. Portman, Stellan Skarsgard, Colm Feore, Kat Dennings, and the rest (including the underutilized Warriors Three) did commendable jobs. Tom Hiddleston deserves special recognition for playing Loki so well that I didn't realize how well he was playing the role until better than halfway through the movie, if that makes any sense.
The movie had the requisite Stan Lee cameo, a few callbacks to other characters, and Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton (aka Hawkeye), in an uncredited cameo for nerds like me. And you should know by now to stay in your seat until the credits are done rolling.
Overall, I thought "Thor" was exactly the movie I hoped it would be, and it's yet another sign that "The Avengers" will kick unheard-of amounts of arse in 2012.
* What the hell is it with 3D movies that the coolest things are the little ones? "Thor," as "Avatar" before it, had shots designed just to showcase the 3D tech ("Hey, look, arrow coming right at your face! That'll be $5 extra!"), but the sweetest 3D effect was falling snow.