Friday, April 22, 2011

Shakespeare in Space (in other words, Thor : The Movie)

What happens when you put an Oscar-nominated Shakespearean in charge of the next movie in the Marvel comics franchise? Apparently you get a pretty awesome movie.

We all know the name Kenneth Branagh, whether you love him for his Hamlet, his Henry or even his Much Ado or Othello. But comic book movies? That's a switch. And, it seems, a good one.

“He has said there are elements in it that are like The Tempest or Twelfth Night,” he said. “Thor is certainly not a typical Kenneth Branagh film — but you can see how he has brought his experience to bear.

“All the inhabitants of Asgard, the fantasy land in the film, speak with clipped drama school accents which Branagh has obviously coached them in.


“He’s definitely about character, which is the quintessential trait you have to have to understand the Marvel characters,” he said. “It’s not just big hammers and capes and things like that. It’s about what makes the character tick.”

Personally I've never been a big fan of the Thor comic - I don't even really fully understand the backstory. I mean, is he a super hero or a god? My daughter studied mythology in school and whenever she connected Thor the god with Thor the superhero she was all, "Oh come on, Daddy, he's a *god*, how can he not be the most powerful one of them all??" I always liked the interpretation that he's a somewhat less-than-sane mortal who just thinks that he's Thor. Given that Anthony Hopkins plays Odin in the movie, I don't think that's the interpretation they're going with.

What do you think? Will a heavy dose of character development improve the latest comic movie offering? Or will an emphasis on character over action kill it for the summer blockbuster fans? How much Shakespeare do you think Branagh really brought to it?

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