An astonishingly awkward marriage of ancient Norse mythology and 21st-century nonsense, Thor, a Marvel reboot directed by Kenneth Branagh, works too hard at simply functioning to assert why it, or we, should bother. A headstrong young prince known for smashing heads first and asking questions later, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is set to be anointed king of Asgarda fanciful, otherworldly realm populated by Scandinavians who talk like Englishmenby his revered father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins). But after his grand coronation is interrupted by an invasion of the dreaded Ice Giants, Thor defies Odin's pragmatism by fighting back and disrupting an uneasy peace. As punishment, he's stripped of his powers, separated from his weather-taming hammer, and banished to the American desert. Soon thereafter, Odin falls into a coma, elevating scheming stepson Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to the throne and setting into motion rusty wheels of intrigue, betrayal and redemption. Asgard seems realized from storyboards rejected as too tacky for even Star Wars 2.0 and Avatar, evoking instead the epic chintziness of Peter Yates's Flash Gordonanother B-movie bomb helmed by a seriously slumming Brit. But what's surprising isn't that Branagh took on Thor; his once-promising career hasn't really re-railed since his Frankenstein monstrosity of 1994. It's that there's scant evidence that a classically trained dramatist had anything to do with what's on screen.