Short version: It's good not perfect. Overall really fun.
Long version: Well...
Starting off this year's summer comic book superhero blockbuster extravaganza is the origin story, slightly altered from the comics, of Thor the god of thunder. The movie tells the story of how Thor, a arrogant blowhard at the beginning, is sent to earth and stripped of his godly powers after almost committing genocide and endagering his friends on a mission his father and king, Odin, hadn't allowed. On earth Thor meets plain Jane scientist Jane Foster and gets a lesson in humility right in time to save the day from his half-brother Loki.
All in all it's a fairly typical story presented in a really well told manner. Yes, you can predict quite a lot of what's going to happen and there are certain aspects of it that were rushed, the romance for example. But none of that mattered because you get so engrossed as the storyline does a good job of pulling you in with good momentum, interesting characters and a fun contrast between the divine realm of Asgard, fully realised in all its Kirby style sci-fi fantasy awesomeness, and the mundane human world.
There is one problem though with the movie's story. It doesn't really feel like its own thing really. It's just another step towards the grand slam project that is the Avengers movie next year. A step that has the specific mission to introduce Thor to the movie going audience. So it's more like a small part of something greater rather than its own thing, a problem that it shares with Iron man 2.
Then there are the characters. Let's go through most of them real quickly before getting to my three favourites. The warriors three and Sif were fun but really needed to be fleshed out more. Jane Foster was cute, quirky, weird and Natalie Portman, so basically every straight nerd's dream girl for reals. Darcy stole every single scene she was in for me. Clark Gregg continues to be awesome as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson. Anthony Hopkins totally works as Odin but gets a bit too little to do. And Stellan Skarsgård turns in a surprisingly entertaining performance. On to the big three.
Chris Hemsworth and the titular character works almost perfectly. He's got Thor's mannerism down pat and really sells the performance well. He also seems to be enjoying himself which is a plus in my book. He's funny, dramatic, kind (after he stops being an arrogant douche) and just otherworldly compared to the humans he meets up. There's just one thing that I was kind of disappointed in but that's more the movie's fault that Hemsworth's. Thor is one of the absolutely most badass asskickers in all of Marvel comics. I mean, he's a really big dude with an equally large hammer and he can make lightning bolts rain down on your face if you try something. You don't mess with a dude like that. When Thor gets into ass-kicking mode it is a sight to behold. So I was disappointed when there was only one such scene where we got to see Thor ready to own some ass with all his godlike powers. It's a good scene but that just makes me want to see more of it.
Tom Hiddleston as Loki is just loads of fun. It's very obvious that he's the big bad of the movie but his motivations are a bit more complex than just him being evil. Hell, the whole thing starts because he was playing a practical joke to ruin Thor's big day. And through the rest of the movie it's Loki's own ambition and pettyness that leads him on to an increasingly dark road. Hiddleston makes Loki seem really human and flawed which suits Loki in an origin story like this. Make no misstake though, by the post-credit scene Loki is fully evil and I can't wait to see what he'll do with his newfound attitude in coming movies.
Lastly the real surprise treat of the movie is Idris Elba as Heimdall, guardian of the pathway between worlds. There's a group of people that thought everybody should boycott the movie because they cast a black man as a norse god, calling it forced political correctness or some bullshit like that. They naturally never considered that Elba could have gotten the part because he's a terrific actor and nailed the performance perfectly. Heimdall is one of my favourite characters in the Marvel Thor mythos and I was delighted to see him portrayed with such skill on the big screen. Elba gave the character a gravitas and dry wit that made him stand out from everybody else and everytime he spoke I felt like I should straighten my back so he wouldn't punch me through the movie screen for slouching in my chair.
At the end of the day the movie is just a boatload of fun... for comic book fans. I'm certain that non-comic book reading movie goers can enjoy it as well but it does pander a lot, maybe a bit too much, to those reading the comics. Those that don't will be asking questions like "Who's the guy with the bow and arrow and why should I care about him?", "Why does Odin need to sleep so badly he's suddenly falling over?", "What the hell is that thing in the scene after the credits end?", and a few other questions I bet. Hopefully they won't mind and just be swept into the fun of the movie. Because that's what this movie is in a nutshell. Fun! It's not the most complex superhero movie or the most original. But it is damn entertaining and everybody does their job well, the key players doing more than that.
I give it a 7,5 out of 10 ranking it slightly below my sacred top five comic book movies.