* * * B
On second viewing, the original Thor movie holds up well. The fish out of water story gives the film some comedic lightness, forming the roots that later flower in Ragnarok. Unlike the original comic book story, Thor is clearly shown to be the son of Odin from the beginning, including a long fantastic flash back that shows how he came to be banished to earth by Odin (Anthony “Hannibal” Hopkins).
In the second act, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) meets up with scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who is studying the energies of the Bifrost, the cosmic bridge by which Odin sends Mjolnir (Thor’s hammer) and Thor to Earth. The relationship is handled very well. At first, Thor appears insane to Jane and especially to her skeptical mentor Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård), but as he searches for Mjolnir, they come to see that he’s more than a lunatic.
In the final act, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) sends the destroyer, a lethal robot created by Odin to protect the tesseract, a powerful Jotun artifact (an, it turns out, one of the infinity stones), to Earth to destroy Thor. The spell that Odin put on Mjollnir that prevented Thor from wielding it is broken when he learns humility, and he is able to summon his hammer in time to save the day, and is revealed to Jane in his full glory.
The film has a few weaknesses, but overall is very enjoyable. Front-loading the back story removes any mystery regarding whether Thor, a powerless mortal who thinks he’s a Norse god, is actually insane or not. The first act establishes Asgard firmly in reality. As Jane Foster says, quoting Arthur C. Clarke, “magic is just science we don’t understand yet”. I think a more gradual reveal of the truth of Thor’s claims could have made the film even better. This one is well worth rewatching if you haven’t seen it since 2011.