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Thunderous Blunders: Thor proves the comic book is better than the movie 

I'm calling BS. I know my Mighty Thor and he did not have a beard. Nor did he look like some kind of male model lumberjack hunk.

click to enlarge film_2011_thor_041.jpg

I'm calling BS. I know my Mighty Thor and he did not have a beard. Nor did he look like some kind of male model lumberjack hunk. As his mortal alter ego, he was the kindly Doctor Blake who walked with a cane, but when he pounded that sucker to the ground, he turned into a powerful god-like warrior from Asgard. I know these things because I was a bonafide Marvel comic book geek back when Thor was penned by Stan Lee and drawn by Jack Kirby. I was also a complete Norse mythology nut, finding the Viking heroes far more exciting than those pansy Greek gods. I know all about Thor, Loki and Odin and where they resided in the heavens across the rainbow bridge of Asgard.

I thought there might be hope for humor in this Marvel installment with director Kenneth Branagh, whose over-the-top version of Frankenstein had me laughing from start to finish. Sadly, that's not the case. The saga of the fallen Norse god has been revamped into a tidy tale of good-versus-evil... versus an awful storyline... versus special effects.

The outline of the plot is somewhat true to the comic. An enraged Odin (Anthony Hopkins) strips Thor (Chris Hemsworth) of his powers and banishes him to Earth, leaving Thor's half-brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), next in line for the throne. Thor then is forced to struggle with the task of proving himself worthy among mortals.

Casting newcomer Hemsworth and his steely glint and man-beard is a mistake. He never wears Thor's cool winged helmet, and he far too quickly learns the way of humans. The original Thor had a hard time comprehending anything human, and this conflict was the root of his rebellious attitude. But in the Hollywood version, Thor adapts fast and lands an immediate love interest in Natalie Portman (laying on the cuteness).

Thor's hammer should be the coolest part because he can demolish anything in his path with it and it returns to his hand like a sledgehammer boomerang, instead it's stuck in cement in a "Sword in the Stone" sub plot.

Branagh and company might've had fun making this flick, but it misses the mark entirely. The best part about the Marvel comic book superheroes was their conflicted world of dwelling on their soap-operatic human problems. The inner turmoil eating them alive was where the fun was. Thor only scratches this surface. The moral of this story is that home is where you hang your hammer and while Thor is forced to eat some humble pie, the filmmakers expect us to swallow a slice of it, too.

Thor

★1/2✩✩✩

Starring Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman,

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Rated PG-13

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