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Thor swings a big hammer 

Inaugural 2011 summer blockbuster (mostly) delivers the goods

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Take a Marvel Norse god superhero, Shakespearean director Kenneth Branagh, and special effects up the wazoo and you get the epic battle-fest, Thor. After venturing to icy Yodenheim to fight blue-skinned, red-eyed giants, the jacked, blonde Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is banished from Asgard---his magical, gilded home in the sky---landing on Earth in a magnetic tornado, where he meets astrophysicist Jane (Natalie Portman) and her entourage. Asgard’s a paradoxical, seductive mix of Elizabethan, mythological and sci-fi: they fly through space, but also ride horses. The warrior-god’s manners translate hilariously on Earth---smashing a coffee mug on the floor doesn’t say "thank you"---but Jane, the size of Thor’s bicep, falls for him anyway. Omit half an hour and it’s a kickass summer movie. Branagh salutes his past with the Asgardians’ pseudo-British accents and Anthony Hopkins as patriarch Odin.


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