If you are a fan of Marvel Comics God of Thunder, then you aren't going to be disappointed in director Kenneth Branagh's "Thor" feature film. However that being said, if you're the nitpicking type, you will probably have a field day over some portions of the movie.
Let me address my own minor quibbles with this opening chapter of Thor's adventures, in fact that sums it up in a nutshell. While the film plays out as a complete story, the overall impression that I was left with at the end, was that the whole thing felt like a grand opening act or terrific first "chapter" that really whetted my appetite for the rest of the story. Not a deal breaker really, but still slightly disheartening to me as a viewer. It made me feel - somewhat - like, "That's all?"
The cast was topnotch and Chris Hemsworth was wonderful as Thor, Anthony Hopkins embodied Odin the All-Father even better than I had hoped, and that despite his screen time seeming more akin to a glorified cameo. There are several cast members that I wasn't particularly familiar with including Jaime Alexander as Sif, Josh Dallas as Fandral and Tom Hiddleston as Loki. These three standout to varying degrees in their roles, with Hiddleston's Loki truly a tour de force performance. Genre veteran Colm Feore is almost unrecognizable as Laufey, King of the Frost Giants, but he was one of my favorite characters in this film. Great work on his part. One character isn't an actor at all, and despite his limited use in the film, the Destroyer was awesome!
Comic book purists will either be pleased with the nod to Thor's original comic book secret identity "Donald Blake" or be left a bit cold, but this didn't bother me as much as the major change to Jane Foster's original career. Of course we live in the "modern" era and therefore must show a woman in a strong role, so Natalie Portman's otherwise fine performance as scientist Jane, trumped the originals comic book role as a simple nurse. Try getting actual nurses to understand why their traditional caregiver role in our society isn't respected enough by the film makers to retain this aspect, and you might find yourself on the receiving end of a dirty needle sometime. Oh well, that alteration certainly paled against the most egregious change made from comics to film. No surprise that politically correct mindsets won out in the casting department. Two significant characters were unnecessarily tweaked to widen their appeal to - who the hell knows - but Hogun and Heimdall are Norse Gods after all, and having a samurai and a soul brother on hand didn't seem especially Scandinavian to me.
Idris Elba was actually not too bad as the mighty Heimdall, guardian of Bifrost (aka the Rainbow Bridge) and he almost won me over despite the fact that a black actor has no business in this pantheon of gods. Same goes for Tadanobu Asano as Hogun, not an Aesir like most of the Asgardians, but certainly not a Japanese warrior either. I call bullshit on these two casting choices, but don't blame them for being present in the movie; the modern thing to do after all - for inclusiveness.
The special effects are quite terrific, the writing was really good and the film does leave me wanting more epic Thor tales on film. Hopefully, Marvel Studios can keep it up with all of the planned Avengers segments, since they basically blew it with X-Men and Fantastic Four. Recommended!