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    Thor Hammers the Hype Machine as Early Reviews Are Thunderously Positive

    Chris Hemsworth, Thor Paramount Pictures

    How goes Thor?

    Well, we were going to see it anyway, purely based on the cool bus ads that make the bus look like it was smashed by the hero's mighty hammer.

    But now a few critics are saying there may be something to the actual movie! It's no Hamlet, but...

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    Director Kenneth Branagh "[invests] the dramatic passages with a weighty yet never overbearing Shakespearean dimension," writes Variety critic Richard Kuipers, who also says that leading man Chris Hemsworth "holds his own in distinguished company" such as Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman.

    Way to go, hunky Aussie breakout star!

    Sure, according to Kuiper, Thor is "slightly choppy," Portman's role is "thinly written" and Rene Russo is "underutilized" as Odin's wife, but most of the characters are rendered "deeply human" and the 3-D action looks great. And it gets better...

    The Hollywood Reporter's Megan Lehmann calls the effects-laden film a "burly slab of bombastic superhero entertainment that skitters just this side of kitschy to provide an introduction befitting the mighty god of thunder."

    HitFix.com's Drew McWeeny pays Hemsworth a massive compliment by calling him "as good a fit for the character of Thor as Robert Downey Jr. is for Tony Stark." He also says that the fight scenes have a "sense of power and force that we still haven't seen in many of these [comic book-based films]."

    Australian entertainment site The Vine (the movie had its world premiere in Sydney over the weekend) gives the film four stars and opines that "Thor never feels underfed, thanks to an impressive cast, a snappy script and thoughtful direction from Kenneth Branagh."

    It sounds as if the earthbound story doesn't hold up as well as the explosive battles being fought in the heavens above, but the movie sounds pretty Marvel-ous overall.

    Thor smashes its way into U.S. theaters on May 6. How big do you think it will hit?

    WATCH: Do you think Thor will make for a fun time at the theater?

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