“Deus ex Machina to the Max”

“Hotshots” looks at a movie!

Thor is from the Marvel Studios, which is an obvious indication that it is based on a comic book, even though its roots go all the way back to Norse mythology, in which the title character was the Norse god of thunder, might, and war and who had a magical hammer that returned to him.

So, if you are not a teenager, don’t care for comic books, and not all that interested in Norse mythology, you can skip this one even though it was directed by acclaimed actor-director Kenneth Branagh and stars Sir Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman.

No, Hopkins doesn’t play Thor. He plays Odin, the supreme god and the father of Thor.

So, if you do see this movie, don’t be surprised if you recognize elements of Norse mythology, Christian mythology, Shakespearean stories, the legend of King Arthur, and every cliche in the book from bad government agents to the use of “bad cop, good cop” in the form of “bad god, good god.”

Oh, yes, the story switches back and forth between the realm of the gods and here on earth, where Thor becomes banished for his bad behavior.

In other words, he has to redeem himself and learn not to be so obnoxious.

And once that Thor lands in New Mexico, he runs into Dr. Jane Foster and her team of astrophysicists. Or, rather, she runs into him. Twice.

Jane is played by Natalie Portman, and if you think that this role is beneath her after winning an Academy Award, you would be right.

Thor’s hammer lands in the desert, too, and so the story cuts back and forth between the treachery up in the realm of the gods and Thor’s trials down on earth, not to mention a budding and implausible romance with Jane.

For an action movie, there is way too much talk, too, from the narration at the beginning to set up the story to the exposition in the middle that makes you just want to say, “Blah blah blah, already!”

And the title gives critics the chance to say the movie is “Thilly, thorry, thtupid, thuperfithial, and thimplithtic.”

Thor even has an ending that would embarrass the gods, because it is one of deus ex machina to the max, assuming that anyone in this simplistic day and age gets that.

I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”