Marvel has been teasing fans for weeks now with promotional material for its upcoming Thor movie. The studio has released several character banners, movie posters, and TV spots in the past month alone, in case people weren't already aware that the God of Thunder will be making his big screen debut this summer.
Now Marvel has released an official clip from Thor - and it's a mixed bag, to be honest. While a minute of footage doesn't reflect that much on a film as a whole, this particular scene illustrates what could work - and what may not work - in Kenneth Branagh's comic book adaptation.
For context: This clip from Thor takes place in the aftermath of the titular character's (Chris Hemsworth) arrival on Earth, having been banished from the realm of Asgard by his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins). The resulting natural phenomena that surrounds Thor's arrival attracts the attention of a trio of scientists - Professor Andrews (Stellan Skarsgård), Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), and her assistant Darcy (Kat Dennings).
Check out the resulting scene from Thor (via MTV) below:
What little we see of Hemsworth as Thor here does support Tom Hiddleston's recent comments about the actor not being self-conscious while portraying the brass and brawny warrior, even as a regular human. Portman isn't required to do much here, other than look concerned and pretty - though, to be honest, I get the feeling that's what she'll be doing for a good chunk of the running time. Take that as you will.
This clip won't abate the concerns of those who figured Dennings would be stuck providing easy comic relief in the movie, as seen in the second Thor theatrical trailer. Darcy isn't actively annoying here, and she hopefully won't join the long list of irritating comical sidekicks in action blockbusters (see: Jar Jar Binks, Short Round, etc.); still, it just seems so blatant that the character is here to get laughs. On the other hand, given Branagh's background in Shakespeare, maybe that's the whole point - Darcy is meant to be recognizably "the fool" of the piece. Anyway, moving on...
One last thought: the Earth-set sequences in Thor so far have featured noticeably heavy use of Dutch (read: slanted) camera angles, and I'm reminded of Branagh's well-spoken comments about what he considers key to visually distinguishing scenes set in the real world from that of Asgard:
“It’s about finding the framing style, the colour palette, finding the texture and the amount of camera movement that helps celebrate and express the differences and the distinctions in those worlds. If it succeeds, it will mark this film as different…. The combination of the primitive and the sophisticated, the ancient and the modern, I think that potentially is the exciting fusion, the exciting tension in the film.”
We'll see if that approach pays off when Thor arrives in U.S. theaters on May 6th, 2011.