Film Feature: Seven Things We Want From ‘Thor 2’

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CHICAGO – Even though the summer movie season is barely halfway over, it seems clear that, when we reminisce about summer 2011 later this year, one of the biggest surprises of the season will have to be the simple fact that it was possible to make a “Thor” movie that actually works.

Because, c’mon, it’s Thor. He’s the hammer guy. The winged helmet guy. The living god who hangs out with the Hulk and the Silver Surfer. This is a movie that very easily could’ve been laughed out of the multiplexes, but, thanks to some very shrewd decisions by director Kenneth Branagh and Marvel Studios, “Thor” became one of the most fun, watchable, and oddly compelling superhero movies of the past few years. It was light years better than the much-easier-to-adapt “Green Lantern”, got us nominally more excited for July’s “Captain America” movie, and was a much, much better teaser for Joss Whedon’s upcoming “Avengers” movie than the underwhelming “Iron Man 2”.

So, at the end of June, when Marvel confirmed that “Thor 2” was actively in development, with a planned release date of July 26, 2013, we were excited. However, thanks to our bitter experience with other Marvel sequel slumps like “Iron Man 2”, “Fantastic Four 2”, and “Spider-Man 3”, we have a long list of things we want and don’t want from another “Thor” movie. So, in the futile hope that we might be able to have some influence on the direction of the nascent “Thor” sequel, here are our picks for the seven things we definitely want from “Thor 2”.

Photo credit: Paramount

1. A Solid Replacement for Kenneth Branagh

While we’re happy that the charismatic Chris Hemsworth gets another turn at playing our favorite Asgardian ass-kicker, we’ll admit that we’re not pleased that Kenneth Branagh won’t be returning to the director’s chair. Branagh was, unquestionably, the MVP of “Thor”. His Shakespearean sensibilities blended amazingly well with “Thor”. He deftly balanced a mass of confusing back stories, a mish-mash of tones, and an ambitious scope and, despite all those disparate elements, delivered a solid, well-polished adventure flick that was both accessible and fun. He’s going to be a hard act to follow. In terms of a replacement for Branagh, we’d love to find someone with Branagh’s ability to balance epic Shakespearean godliness with down-to-earth intrigue and romance. What about John Madden (“Shakespeare in Love”, “The Debt”), Mike Newell (“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”), Peter Weir (“Master and Commander”, “Truman Show”), or Duncan Jones (“Source Code”, “Moon”)? Personally, our dream choice would probably be Terry Jones, ex-Python and director of the obscure cult flick – and best Viking movie EVER – “Erik the Viking”, but that’ll never happen.

Photo credit: Marvel

2. Give Us One, Just One “I Say Thee Nay!”

OK, yes, Branagh did do a commendable job brining out the best qualities of Thor, while also editing or minimizing some of his more ridiculous characteristics. And we are very glad that the “Thor” team found a way to have the character sound regal and godly without resorting to his full-on, flowery script, uber-Asgardian dialect. HOWEVER… we were more than a little disappointed that the character’s most iconic catch phrase – “I SAY THEE NAY!” – didn’t make it into “Thor 1”. Yes, it’s a hard line to pull off. It sounds clunky and melodramatic and goofy as hell. But it is THE quintessential Thor line. If Bryan Singer found a way to have Wolverine say “Bub” and Michael Chiklis’ Thing got to yell “It’s Clobberin’ Time!” than we will never be 100% won over by Chris Hemsworth’s performance until he gets the opportunity to “say thee nay” at least once.

Photo credit: Marvel

3. Use The Enchantress and The Executioner as Bad Guys

Tom Hiddleston’s Loki was a fantastic villain in the first “Thor” movie, but, let’s be frank, if he’s also going to be one of the major bad guys in Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers” — a fact that was pretty much confirmed by the after-credits scene in “Thor” – by the time “Thor 2” gets around, we’re probably going to be pretty Loki-ed out. So, who else can fill the void? While Thor has a pretty decent rogues gallery, many of his classic villains are either a little too cosmic or a little too mundane to work in a movie. Asgardian baddies like fire demon Surtur or Hela the death goddess are too esoteric and impersonal, particularly after so much of “Thor 1” was spent on building Thor’s human relationships, while his 1970s human costumed foes like the Absorbing Man and the Wrecking Crew are way too cheeseball and minor, given the regal tone of “Thor”’s Asgard scenes. (It also doesn’t help that Nick Nolte played a weird version of the Absorbing Man in Ang Lee’s terrible “Hulk” movie.) So, what Thor villains have the ideal mix of the human and the divine? The Enchantress and the Executioner fit the bill perfectly. The Enchantress (or Amora) is one of the most powerful magicians in Asgard, and she’s constantly got her sights set on Thor. She’s a schemer on par with Loki (they’ve teamed up several times before), and she has a long history of antagonizing Jane Foster, i.e. Thor’s human love interest (Natalie Portman). She frequently travels with Skurge, the Executioner, a fierce, oddly noble Asgardian warrior whom the Enchantress constantly manipulates, thanks to his undying love for the evil sorceress. Together, they make a very cool, very complex pair of antagonists that could explode off the screen with the right casting. The Enchantress has the cosmic magical might of Loki, but she’s also got very human reasons for wanting to claim Thor as her own, and the jilted romance angle would really give Natalie Portman a very active reason to interact with the bad guys, making her a more integral part of the story. And the Executioner could easily throw down with Thor in a series of man-on-god battle royales – giving us our quota of Norse barbarian violence – all while having much deeper and complex reasons for picking a fight rather than just being the token bad guy. They’re two fantastically human villains with a ton of personality, which would be a much better fit for the world that Branagh created in “Thor 1” than some faceless Kirby cosmic entity or a costume-wearing super-crook.

Jessie's picture

Chris Hemsworthave has given

Chris Hemsworthave has given the best superhero performance.
I absolutely loved it! His charming smile- blue eyes and sexy body,
he has to be a God!

Roach's picture

Hear hear! At the risk of

Hear hear! At the risk of beieng boring I think you have got this spot on! not 100% sure about “I say thee nay!! but what the hell…coudl be fun I guess

David Scholes's picture

Thor 2

As a Marvel Thor fan from way back I’m delighted there will be a Thor 2 movie.

I’m also pleasantly surprised at how well Thor 1 has done.

Aws to future villains - that’s a hard one. I’d love to see Galactus but I guess he’s just to uber and too cosmic. THe Executioner and the Enchantress might just work. I wouldn’t want Lokiagain.

As an Aussie science fiction writer:
I’ve written some Thor fan fiction. Scroll down below my author profile to see over 40 stories:

Jeremiah's picture

John Harlacher for Director

Methinks John Harlacher (from Urchin & Love Simple fame) would bring tremendous strength to the Thor sequel.

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