I think Chris Hemsworth has already been embraced by Hollywood as a rising star, so the reviews he's getting for "Thor" won't do much except confirm what people already believed.
If anyone's going to get a real bounce out of "Thor" and suddenly get tons of work thrown their way, it's Tom Hiddleston. His Loki is an immediately satisfying addition to the Marvel universe, sly and sullen and emotionally bruised, a villain we can understand. Hiddleston is exceptional at playing the things we're seeing and also playing the things that are simmering just under the surface. He demonstrates a preposterous amount of charisma here, and considering he has to stand equal to Hemsworth, I'd say Marvel lucked out not once but twice on this film.
We chatted with him on the set of the movie a bit, and he struck me there as a guy who was still very much in the middle of a process, not really sure what to think yet. He was enjoying himself, but he was also aware of the scrutiny and the expectation, and I think he was just happy to rely on Kenneth Branagh, who he had just worked with on "Wallender," to guide him through it intact.
Now, though, he seems looser, more at ease, and able to look at what he's done with some perspective. As a result, this conversation was much better than the one we had on set, and I love seeing someone who enjoys each part of the release of a movie. I saw them in the hallway showing him his Dr. Pepper can for the first time, and he was more than happy to show me his Loki action figure during our chat.
It's fitting that I started today writing about "Star Wars," because that film casts a long shadow still, and I think for anyone who grew up in a post-"Star Wars" world, becoming an action figure is one of those surreal things that you never think about, but that is part of the job when you make certain types of movies. I can tell you that Hiddleston's enthusiasm was genuine, and it only made me like him more.
We know we'll see him again in "The Avengers" next year, but I have a feeling that's just the start of our shared encounters with this intriguing young actor. And based on what I've seen so far, that's a very, very good thing.
"Thor" opens everywhere this Friday.