Sep 13, 2011

Missed Connections- Thor: JMS vs. Kenneth Branagh

10:44 AM

As I busted a Thor viewing party amongst homies this week with its Blu-Ray release -- recalled the source material from J. Michael Straczynski & Olivier Coipel/Marko Djurdjević run (Thor #7-601) that influenced the Summer blockbuster.  As Con & Betty continued gawking and drooling over Hemsworth I was running through the particulars of how the film benefited from leaving out some of the arcs, characters and other aspects from the comics.  This was afterall my choice comics-flick of the year (yes, better than X-Men: First Class in my book) but the book was equally dope.  Gotta start by saying that damn it is sick that they made Hemsworth a near a splitting image of Coipel's art.  
From Mjölnir, the cape draping, chainmail-- Thor's modernized look from the books was nearly identical on-screen 
Alright, many differences to dissect between the book and script but I will roll through more of the elements that stand out for me.  First off is the family dynamic in the book that revolved around Thor, Odin, Loki, Borr (Odin's father) and Balder (brother of Thor and Loki).  It made tons of sense to cutout Borr and Balder from the film to help contain story and better manage screen time between Odin, Thor and Loki.  And it also allowed Loki to be portrayed in a less villainous way by not showing how it was actually he that went back in time to temporarily kill Borr.

Another huge component removed from the film was Dr. Donald Blake, who was the mortal tether on Midgard to Thor.  For many hardcore Thor readers this was probably one of the bigger gripes with the film.  But the confusion of it all and how it was Thor himself that was exiled to Midgard, let alone having some scrawny dood carrying around a stick that when struck to the ground would transform to Mjölnir & him to Thor--yeah, pass on that.  Also avoided was the in same way that Jane Foster became the mortal husk for Lady Sif.  Having Thor love both Sif and Jane Foster would not be carried over to the mainstream so well, maybe so in one of Colorado's polygamist community.  Good job Branagh.

The infusion of comedy and ancillary characters that helped to round out and ground the Nordic-god tale was vital in keeping the film palatable by us mere mortals.  This was carried out via Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), her sidekick Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) and the Warriors Three who were all only background or not in the books.  Whether it was the lecherous ogling over Thor by Foster & Lewis no different than my gal-pals do or the ensemble laugh box provided by Fandral & Volstagg-- humor was vital in making this a one-of-a-kind Superhero-Romantic/Comedy that made the film as successful as it was.

Being of Asian heritage I was overjoyed by the casting of one of the more talented Japanese actors of the last 20 years-- Tadanobu Asano as Hogun (of the Warriors Three). 
Asano was not just your add-in role to show ethnic diversity. Heimdall and many Asgardians were multi-ethnic
Yeah, sure this is a story steeped in Nordic fables but despite all of that Branagh and his casting team made a rich, believable international flick that reflected diversity.  Thor gets my inner-Angry Asian Man stamp of approval in making a multimillion production accepted beyond just the round-eyes of the world.  Take that Peter Jackson. 

The medium of comicbooks can be woven and developed in story to give homage to the multitude of creators and stories before it, but the art of movie-making can only do so much in less than 2 hours to  balance the egos of screenwriters, producers, directors and actors-- but in Thor they did just that.  Booyah!

This post was written by:
big O
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

0 Responses to “Missed Connections- Thor: JMS vs. Kenneth Branagh”