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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this comic book-based action movie about the Norse god Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth), who's banished to Earth to master his temper and discover his humility, has some fairly intense action/battle scenes. But although characters hit, spear, stab, and blow up their enemies, and weapons are used, the violence isn't particularly bloody or gory. There also isn't much swearing -- "hell" is about as forceful as it gets -- or sex (just kisses/flirting), and drinking is limited to some beer consumption. And underlying all of the mayhem, there's even a positive message about finding and learning from your weakness.
What's the story?
After his son THOR (Chris Hemsworth) storms Yodenheim -- the realm that the Norse gods' native Asgard has been in an uncertain peace with for eons -- because of an unexpected attack from the Frost Giants, Odin (Anthony Hopkins) banishes him and his hammer to Earth. There, Thor literally runs into an astrophysicist (Natalie Portman) who impresses him; he also learns humility and grace. Meanwhile, Thor's brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has risen to power as Odin lies in a restless sleep. The Frost Giants are out for revenge, and everywhere, including Earth, is in peril.
Is it any good?
Armed with lessons about international politics and diplomacy, this is an entertaining, surprisingly astute film defined by top-shelf special effects and a compelling, if crowded, storyline. The initial political fracas that leads to Thor's banishment is United Nations-worthy. (Who says fantasy movies can't be cerebral?) Nearly every character is somewhat layered, especially Loki, who's played to chilling effect by Hiddleston.
Still, it's disappointing that Jane is -- par for the course for most comic book-movie love interests -- rather flimsily drawn. No matter how sensible and smart she is, she crumbles at the sight of an impressive six-pack. (Okay, 8-pack.) It's an annoyance, but not a spoiler. Thor is fun to watch, period.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Thor compares to other comic book-based adventures. Are these kind of movies only popular because they offer an escape, or is there more to them? What messages do they send?
Does the film make Norse mythology applicable to today's society? How?
How does the fact that much of the movie's violence is based in fantasyaffect its impact?
- In theaters: May 6, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: September 12, 2011
- Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman
- Director: Kenneth Branagh
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Superheroes
- Character strengths: Humility
- Run time: 114 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.