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This is a guest post by Mariana Ashley.

We live in an age of great superhero movies. Every summer, millions of people head to the movies to check out the latest hero or heroine fight against a grave evil to save the world from certain doom. Kids out of school for the summer look forward to the season for exciting action. Summer 2011 did not disappoint in this regard, producing one of the best superhero films I’ve seen in year, Thor, distributed by Paramount pictures. The movie was recently made available on Netflix streaming, and I highly recommend giving it a screening.

If you don’t know the details about Thor, here’s my rundown on the movie.

A brief plot summary

Thor has a massive plot that spans several worlds. It involves the fabled story of the Norse god, KingOdin (Anthony Hopkins), and his two sons, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who together rule the mystical and mighty kingdom of Asgard. Asgard is basically like the Greek’s Mount Olympus, filled with mighty warriors, fabled lands, and extraordinary beings.

The story begins with the tale of Odin’s battles against the ice people of Jotunheim, a planet part of the Nine Realms of the universe (which includes Earth). Years after the victory over Jotunheim, Odin gives a speech whereby he intends to declare his son Thor the king of Asgard. Events transpire to prevent this from happening, as it happens that someone allowed the ice people to return to Asgard for revenge. Furious, Thor travels to Jotunheim to wreak havoc on the ice people, only to be brought back home by Odin and then banished to Earth by the old king in a fit of rage. Odin sends Thor’s mythical hammer to Earth as well, removing its power until Thor seizes his destiny as a leader.

Thor arrives to Earth in a blaze of glory, striking near a team of research astronomers studying strange events in the sky. Among the researchers is Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), a devoted scientist from a research college on the brink of discovering the forces that connect Thor’s world to her own. At first Thor’s acceptance of his banishment on Earth is rocky and filled with predictably hilarious scenes of the man trying to order people about and display his strength to ordinary Earth people. Eventually he accepts the fact that he has lost his powers, at least for the time being.

In Asgard, meanwhile, it is revealed that Thor’s brother Loki was behind the plot that led the ice people to launch the attack that provoked his brother. Loki and Odin argue about Thor’s place in Asgard, and Loki makes it clear that he wants to rule the realm when Odin passes on. Things come to a head in their argument, but I won’t tell you what happens.

Thor’s friends travel to Earth to tell him of what has transpired in Asgard in his absence, prompting the prince to seize his destiny and save both Earth and Asgard from his brother. You’ll have to watch the movie to see how it all ends, and it’s definitely worth watching.

What makes Thor so good

Thor is a fun movie, plain and simple. Its action packed, wittily written, and never lacks for an interesting story. The movie is directed by seasoned Shakespearian Kenneth Branagh, who injects the otherwise outrageous superhero story with a bit of gravity and depth found lacking in many other summer blockbusters. Thor is part of the Marvel universe that includes fan favorites like Iron Man and the Hulk franchise, and the characters of this movie factor into the 2012 blockbuster The Avengers. Overall, the movie is a very satisfying action film, certainly one worth streaming on Netflix for free.

Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in all topics educational. She welcomes your feedback at mariana.ashley031@gmail.com.