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Marvel's Norse god of thunder "Thor" has had a tough go of crossing that Rainbow Bridge from Asgard to the multiplex. Online critics and fans have bemoaned the trailer, verbally beaten the cast like the family mule, and have shown a code-red-level skepticism for what could easily have been a camp-fest of the highest magnitude.
On the eve of its Australian premiere and May 6 Stateside bow, however, Thor's hammer seems to be in an upswing as critics across the globe chime in on Kenneth Branagh's comic book adaptation with near-universal praise. The consensus seems to be that it's a fun ride for geek or non-geek alike and everyone involved gets the thumbs up, even if it's not an out-of-the-park homerun. But don't take our word for it...
"Neither the star pupil nor the dunce of the Marvel superhero-to-screen class, "Thor" delivers the goods so long as butt is being kicked and family conflict is playing out in celestial dimensions, but is less thrilling during the Norse warrior god's rather brief banishment on Earth." -Variety
"It's a noisy, universe-rattling spectacle full of sound and fury with a suitably epic design, solid digital effects and a healthy respect for the comic-book lore that turned a mythological Norse god into a founding member of the superhero team known as The Avengers." -THR
"'Thor' is too knowing to stock up on the movie mozzarella. What it is, though, is tremendous fun, and further proof that Marvel Studios knows how to handle its back catalogue." –Empire (4 out of 5 stars)
"Chances are that even the most ardent acolyte will be won over by a film that manages to poke genial fun at the helmet-wearing hammer-wielder, whether he's lording it up on his planet or stranded on ours, while still adhering to the same bangs for bucks ratio as the Iron Man and X-Men cycles." -Total Film (3 out of 5 stars)
"Although it would've been nice if Asgard felt a bit more 'lived in,' Branagh and Co. deserve credit for making these 'gods' feel like real people. The rest is just very sweet eye candy, but the good stuff is the family drama and they nailed that." -IGN (3.5 out of 5 stars)
"The film is true enough to its comic origins to incorporate ideas like the Rainbow Bridge, one of those things I honestly never thought I'd see anyone do in a live-action movie, and they manage to make it sort of gorgeous." -HitFix
"Thor is everything you might hope and expect it to be, equal parts good and bad. It is the type of movie I would have loved if I saw it at age 10 — and I'm sure this movie will play awesome to younger audiences." -/Film
"Huge points to whoever cast Hemsworth as he's on the same level as Robert Downey Jr. in 'Iron Man.' When Hemsworth was wielding Mjolnir and fighting against the (edited for people that don't like spoilers), I was completely sold and smiling from ear to ear. Thor has one of the best action scenes in any Marvel movie." -Collider
"'Thor' is like the chatty art-pic and the fluffy commercial blockbuster meeting head-on; it's 'The Tudors' by way of 'Masters of the Universe' (in fact, the plot of this thing closely resembles that of the 1987 feature), the kind of film Branagh might actually get – and I say this with love – people to see." –Moviehole (Two hammers up!)
"Kenneth Branagh and his team pulled together several interpretations of the character for the screen interpretation. In doing so, they may actually have the definitive version of Thor." -Den of Geek (4 out of 5 stars)