One of the cornerstones of the Marvel Universe, it has to be said that the mighty Thor gets very little respect. Hulk is the mightiest, Spider-Man the nimblest and Captain America the bravest but… Thor is a GOD. Devised by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby to tap into mythology as a quick way to make use of ready made (and free to the public) creations, Thor was an opportunity for Stan to stretch his creative muscles in new directions. Lofty dialog and explosive cliffhangers beset a noble yet somewhat vain hero who was ordered by his father Odi to learn humility in the realm of mortals. Kirby delivered the goods in kind with mind-blowing architecture, horrific monsters and the most bizarre way of flying ever seen in comics, throwing a hammer as hard as he could and hanging on.
This Summer Thor will be introduced to a new audience in a big budget movie directed by Shakespearean actor Kenneth Branagh, starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins, the movie is the latest in a long line of expensive gambles on Marvel’s behalf to solidify themselves as the House of Ideas on the big screen. The script by J. Michael Straczynski (popular for Babylon 5 and his recent run on Thor), the story will retell the story of a brash and impatient son rebelling against his father. Exiled to Earth to learn his lesson, Asgard is besieged just when they need Thor the most.
I’m hoping that this movie is a hit if only for my boss Eric’s sake. He’s the biggest Thor fan around and there will be thunder over Jotunheim if this flick is a flop!
To ramp up the excitement there are several tie-ins for the Mighty Thor, so I thought I’d write about a few of them here.
Next month, the animated direct-to-DVD film Thor: Tales of Asgard will finally hit the shelves. Marvel Entertainment’s latest animated venture, it arrives long after Planet Hulk which won wild acclaim from fans but was released so long ago that it can easily be forgotten. Given that Warner Brothers has released several top notch animated features in the duration, expectations are rather high for Tales of Asgard. As it features a young version of our hero… many are waiting to be disappointed.
Young Thor, determined to experience adventure, drags his devious half-brother Loki on a journey along with the Warriors Three on a quest for the Lost Sword of Surtur. I agree that it all looks very child-friendly and Disney-fied (even though this has been in development long before the Disney buy-out), but I have to point out that the writer Greg Johnson who has worked on Wolverine and the X-Men and the Planet Hulk DVD film, both of which are stand out successes for Marvel. The animated movie is also loosely based on the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby back-up stories that ran in early Journey into Mystery comics back in the day. So before you discount this one on the basis of it being the ‘adventures of Thor Junior,’ you may want to give it a second look.
Thor: Tales of Asgard has a May 17, 2011 street date.
Bonus- trailer for Thor: God of Thunder next gen videogame
Also, arriving in stores on May 3rd, 2011 is Thor: God of Thunder, the long-awaited next-gen videogame, just in time for the feature film. Like many tie-in games, God of Thunder isn’t an adaptation of the movie but more of a companion piece set in the same universe, much like the Iron Man and upcoming Captain America games. Set in Asgard, God of Thunder pits the hammer swinging hero against all the baddies from Ymir to Ulik and more. For fans of the mighty one, this will be like a dream come true.
I should admit that the animation and graphics look decidedly dated, much like the Iron Man games (also developed by Sega), but I think that the developers are going for gameplay over looks.
Experience a spectacular, epic-scale original adventure in Thor’s first standalone game as he battles through numerous worlds of Norse mythology to overcome monstrous foes lifted from the pages of the comics. Wield Mjölnir, Thor’s legendary hammer, to fight enemies on an immense scale while controlling the elemental storm powers of lightning, thunder and wind to vanquish foes. Battle against legendary enemies including Ulik, Ymir and Surtur in conflicts that span realms ranging from primal worlds of fire and ice to extraordinary planets inhabited by Frost Giants, Trolls, and other monstrous denizens.
Enchanted Uru Hammer: Feel the surging power of a Norse superhero as you devastate multiple enemies with melee combo attacks and hammer throws, utilizing Thor’s elemental storm powers of thunder, lightning, and wind.
Epic Enemies: Take on an array of titanic enemies dozens of feet tall weighing over 20 tons using multiple strategies including grappling, vaulting and elemental attacks.
Level Up: Acquire new abilities, powers, and weapon upgrades as Thor earns Valor points through his exploits.
Immortal Heritage: Step into the role of the son of Odin, Asgard’s divine ruler, wielding the mighty hammer Mjolnir that gives you control of elemental powers.
Original Storyline: Delve deeper into the heroic tales of the Thor universe with an original story created specifically for the video games.
For more info on the upcoming game, visit Sega’s official website devoted to Thor: God of Thunder.
Thor: God of Thunder will be released on May 3rd, 2011
Yet more hammer slinging animation!
Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers has been running for a few weeks now over at Marvel.com and is surprisingly amazing. Previous efforts such as Spider-Woman and X-Men left me feeling very unimpressed, but this one is superb. Based on the mini-series Loki by Rob Rodi and Esad Ribic, the Marvel Knights production is sharp and intriguing. If you are looking for yet more Thor material to get in the mood, you should really check these out.
Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers trailer
Visit Marvel.com to watch these animated shorts.