At long last, we have a Thor trailer. A disclosure: I’m predisposed to like this movie tremendously for three reasons. First, I grew up on an extremely heavy dose of the D’Aulaires mythology books, and so I’m rather predisposed to big gods-and-men stories (not that anything other than Mads Mikkelsen was acceptable about Clash of the Titans), but given I sort of think that even in the modern interpretations like Season of Mists, Thor gets shortchanged (though not, of course, in 1602). Second, I adore Kenneth Branagh, and I think he does quite well with semi-prodigal young men who go on to do great things, whether it’s conquer France or man up and love worthy but complicated women (or, for that matter, get revenge on sinister hypnotists). And finally, I thought Chris Hemsworth was just a terrific surprise in Star Trek, and I’m thrilled to see him get a chance at a big, splashy role.This looks rich, and cool, and delightfully eccentric in a way that’s gone beyond most of the superhero movies we’ve seen recently. Our superheroes are mostly ordinary men transformed by circumstance, the machinations of others, or their own inventiveness rather than aliens or gods. Even the X-Men are just a variation on ourselves, however fantastic their powers. But Thor, like Superman, is firmly not of our world, and it’ll be interesting to see how Branagh’s handled that on a larger scale and how audiences react to it.And I’m also curious to see what, exactly, Natalie Portman’s role is other than as the doe-eyed chick who finds Thor laid out by some creepy-lookin’ symbols in the ground. If we’re going to be stuck with superheroes, rather than superheroines, in the movies, we really, really need their romantic leads to be substantive, as well as gamine. Branagh tends to do reasonably well with women, with the exception of Wild, Wild West, which is so aberrational that it can be explained only by brain fever. If he can turn Portman into a next-generation American Emma Thompson, he’ll do us, and American cinema, a great service.
Thunder and Lightning