By the Hammer of <i>Thor</i>!

11/08/2013 9:10 AM |


Thor: The Dark World: Marvel’s Thor movie was a nice (if mild) surprise back in 2011, probably because to that point Marvel Studios had only really worked on one non-Iron Man movie of their own, and that was The Underwhelming Hulk. So the fact that Thor‘s trademark Marvel penny-pinching (a lot of it is set in a small town in New Mexico) turned into advantage—Thor as a fish out of water is funny! His romance with Natalie Portman is actually pretty charming!—and that Chris Hemsworth made a credible alien-god-thing all contributed to a feeling that it could have been much worse (despite the clunky Avengers set-up section in the middle where Hawkeye is dropped into the movie without connection to anyone else on screen, like Usher in She’s All That). But then later that summer, Captain America: The First Avenger came out, and it was even more surefooted and sprightly than Thor; and then the next year there was The Avengers (in which Thor was probably the least-used team member), and then this summer brought a surprisingly robust Iron Man 3. All of this adds up to me being super-excited for the upcoming Captain America sequel and pretty much back to square one with ol’ hammer-man. That said, you (assuming “you” are someone who hasn’t immediately stopped reading this because it’s about a comic-book character named Thor) might as well get excited about Thor: The Dark World for the same reason it’s going to make a ton of money this weekend and next weekend: there hasn’t been a big comic-book movie since The Wolverine! Three-plus months! Obviously, there are too many superhero movies in general, but I think a big part of the problem is just how many of them stake out summer spots, stacked on top of one another, so I’m grateful that Marvel ventured into Thanksgiving territory with this one. Like the Pierce Brosnan James Bond movies and the Next Generation Star Trek movies during the nineties, it’s a blockbuster-in-waiting that seems a bit more exciting given the dearth of big, splashy, fantastical action movies around it (this is also why it will be slammed by Catching Fire when it comes out two weekends hence). I’m now thinking that maybe The Wolverine—a relatively quiet and intimate blockbuster comics movie—should have taken a fall date despite the X-Men summer tradition. Maybe they can try that with the just-announced (and unexpected-by-me) Wolverine sequel. Anyway, I started off talking about Thor but drifted over to Wolverine; yeah, that seems about right.