Immediately after the new Thor movie ended, my Gay Guy Pagan pals and I reached a swift, unequivocal conclusion: Chris Hemsworth is one fine-looking man. (Look at the picture that Laura has posted below; LOOK at those biceps!) I agree with Laura that Thor easily ranks among the very best of the super-hero film oeuvre; I believe it is director Kenneth Branagh who is hugely responsible for the mythic sense of epic dimension that the movie possesses. (Check out how often Natalie Portman and her companions are positioned in shots suggestive of the eternal human yearning towards the stars and the cosmos, the heavens and ideas of Deities.) Due to the marvels (pun) of CGI-technology, the scenes in Asgard are amazing, particularly the breath-taking ones astride the Rainbow Bridge; the movie is so visually astounding, I promise waiting to see it at home on Netflix is not going to be nearly equal to watching it on a huge screen. Incredibly, I found that (for once) the 3-D effects worked extremely well, adding to the film’s overall impact (3-D has a tendency to piss me off more than to impress me, I find).
Again undoubtedly due to Branagh’s presence, the acting was a cut above the usual super-hero movie-level; Hemsworth’s Thor has a distinctive (and ultimately charming) personality, with an idiosyncratic manner-of-speech and worldview (cosmic-view?) that makes him unique in the super-hero film-universe. Jaimie Alexander is so beautiful and impressive as the warrior-Goddess Sif, someone should keep her in mind for a big-screen Wonder Woman (should the TV show fail to go over).
What I find fascinating about the movie is its depiction of Thor (in Asgard) as a spoiled, self-indulgent, disobedient royal brat- taught a lesson by the All-Father Odinn by banishment to the mortal realm (our earth), where he must live subject to the conditions of mortality until he can demonstrate the compassion and judgement that will re-earn him his Godhood. It is a bit like the expulsion of Lucifer from Heaven (equally kicked out of paradise for arrogant pride); it is also like the Underworld Descent story, in that Thor is forcibly Descended into the hellish Underworld of our Mortal Realm, where he must live subject to the conditions of mortality until he can reclaim and regain his Divinity.
In short, Thor appears to me a parable about Incarnation, as I think that we are all Divine Beings temporarily removed from our natural Realm of Divinity and deposited here in Mortal Space until we learn the lessons that will free us from subsequent Incarnation.
Obviously this is a Fantasy Adventure story and not meant to be any sort of “authentic” tale of the Teutonic Thunder-God of Nordic mythology; mention should be made of Anthony Hopkins (very thoughtful as an aging God-King, weighing his crown between his two sons Thor and Loki), and the “Odinn-Sleep” that he falls into about halfway through the movie. As this is the famous “Sleeping Trance” ascribed to the All-Father and taken as evidence of the shamanic nature of Nordic religion, Pagan movie-goers may wish to be aware.