Thor and the magical power of Natalie Portman

I saw the new Thor movie tonight. I'll give you the gist of the movie, with no spoiler details.

First of all, atheists are allowed to watch the movie. The Asgardians are actually super-advanced aliens who live in a high-tech mega-city with trans-galactic transporter technology that uses wormholes. They use it to oppress distant worlds and impose their medieval political system on the universe. We're supposed to feel all right about that because the king is Hannibal Lecter.

Thor is a bad, foolish bully-boy who picks fights with the Blue Man Group, so Hannibal Lecter flings him to Earth to learn wisdom. He meets Natalie Portman, who smiles at him and buys him lunch, and then suddenly when a crisis comes he has learned self-sacrifice and respect for life, i.e., he is now wise. With wisdom comes a cracking great hammer which he can use to smash things, which seems an entirely appropriate reward for learning the virtues of restraint, although the fact that he spends the last half of the movie demolishing a flaming Michelin Man and the Asgard set is a bit temper-tantrumy.

The plot was jarring, though. It's supposed to be a movie about character development, but there wasn't any, unless great exploding cgi is now a substitute for actual interpersonal relationships and human interactions. Or maybe just sharing a ride in a truck with Natalie Portman makes you sensitive and thoughtful. I didn't see anything transformative, though, and am only hypothesizing the invisible Portman radiation.

To be fair, I have to admit that I might have completely missed significant parts of the plot. There's a scene early on where Thor takes off his shirt, and I think I abruptly turned gay and blacked out from the shock. Don't worry, Mary! Natalie Portman flashed a few more smiles later in the movie and turned me back.

She really is magical.

Also, if you're a comic book nerd, beware: the movie completely disregards the true origins of Thor. Donald Blake is Natalie Portman's ex-boyfriend, who doesn't even appear in the movie, except as a sweater which was used to cover up Thor's naked torso, causing everyone in the audience to moan and hate Donald. If you don't know what the heck I'm complaining about, then yes, it's perfectly OK for you to go see the movie.

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