The Avengers are coming ... and coming and coming. Casual audiences may end up with a little fatigue by the time the all-star Marvel superhero flick hits next summer, but the die-hards are loving every chapter.

The Avengers are coming ... and coming and coming.

Casual audiences may end up with a little fatigue by the time the all-star Marvel superhero flick hits next summer, but the die-hards are loving every chapter.

The current piece of that larger puzzle is "Thor" - and it's another great introduction for new fans.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is a warrior in the realm of Asgard and heir to the throne of his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins). When Thor's arrogance reignites an ancient war, he's banished to our realm.

He lands in the deserts of New Mexico, where he meets one of those beautiful scientists who always populate action movies (Natalie Portman). Meanwhile, back in Asgard, Thor's mischievous brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) plots to claim the throne.

"Thor" isn't quite as transcendent as the best superhero flicks, but it's solid and highly entertaining. Director Kenneth Branagh is known for weightier fare, but he does action and humor well, too.

Relative unknown Hemsworth is a find, at ease whether he's wielding that iconic hammer or working some fish-out-of-water humor.

A poorly developed love subplot is the biggest misstep, but what action movie doesn't have one of those?

The 3D version can probably be skipped, but this "Avengers" warm-up shouldn't be missed.