Newest Superhero Entry “Thor” Is No Modern Marvel

Oh, how times have changed. When I first heard the news that Kenneth Branagh was slated to direct the Marvel Studios summer blockbuster “Thor,” based on the classic comic book series, I nearly did a double take.

First off, for those who aren’t familiar with Branagh, you might recognize him as Gilderoy Lockhart, the creepy guy from the Harry Potter movies. Or, if you are a weirdo, like me, you know him as the guy who received critical success in the mid 90’s for his work in directing Shakespearean adaptations, such as “Hamlet.”

So, now that you know Branagh, you can understand that it was an odd choice for him to be given such an out of character directing job.

The bad news is, the movie is completely underwhelming. Get at me Marvel fanboys.

When I say underwhelming, I must point out that “Thor” was receiving incredible early acclaim, but as more and more critics got to see the film, the less “Thor” impressed.

As more and more superhero movies get released, the more I become aware with what makes each film succeed or fail. Like all other Marvel and DC flicks, it comes down to the screenplay. Call me old fashion, but I can’t simply like a movie based solely on dazzling effects and a gorgeous female co-star.

The screenplay, partly written by the brilliant mind that brought you “Agent Cody Banks,” yes, that’s sarcastic, is mediocre at best. Not once was I wowed with the wittiness or sharpness of the dialogue, instead, I found myself occasionally chuckling at the wooden acting and stale screenplay.

Aussie actor Chris Hemsworth, who is given the role of a lifetime, is somewhere between likeable and empty in his performance. He certainly looks the part, but his soul isn’t there. There is something so much more endearing about Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark.

Truthfully, I think that I may just be spoiled. Over the past decade, Marvel and DC productions have seriously upped their game in the films they have brought us. With the exception of a couple tomatoes such as “Daredevil” and the “Hulk” franchise, no one can deny the renaissance that is superhero films.

Yes, I understand that each film is different, but the thematic elements and production values remain the same. I will stay in the Marvel realm for fairness, considering the Christopher Nolan “Batman” franchise soars well above the rest of the competition.

Take a film like “Iron Man.” Before it is released, critics doubted that the film would have success, partly looking at the questionable director choice, comedian Jon Favreau. However, “Iron Man” happens to be Marvel’s greatest achievement. Yes, the first two “Spiderman” movies are very well made, but I still believe that the original “Iron Man” cannot be topped.

Maybe it was the hype, maybe it was the big names attached to the film, maybe it was the overblown CGI effects. Whatever it was, “Thor” just isn’t that good. Who knows? All I know is skip “Thor” and rent the original “Iron Man.”