[The Week in Geek is a weekly Tuesday column that plunges headfirst into a deep pool of genre geekiness without ever coming up for air.]
There seems to be a real mixed reaction to the trailer for 'Thor,' Marvel's latest bid for another Summer blockbuster. Sure, 'Thor' fans are pumped, but there's a vocal group of fanboys who don't like the Jack Kirby-inspired art design, Chris Hemsworth's spotty accent (pronouncing "Earth" as "uhth"), or having their magical myths mixed with the mundane. My personal concerns stem from director Kenneth Branagh's last big-budget stab at box office gold, 'Mary Shelley's Frankenstien,' a misguided mixed bag if there ever was one.
However, I remain optimistic. While not a 'Thor' fan myself, I think the trailer does a good job with a fairly tough sell, bringing Thor's offbeat universe of Asgard to vivid life. Branagh's never been known as an action director, so the greatest surprise from the trailer is how big and bold the action scenes look. It's an important step on the eventual march toward 'Avengers,' and Marvel will be eye-balling 'Thor' very carefully to determine the franchise possibilities of some of their less popular characters.
Marvel has a full Norse pantheon headed our way, in thunder-cracking 3-D, so let's check out some of the Asgardians that pop up in 'Thor's' trailer...
Thor (Chris Hemsworth)
It's obvious from the trailers that they're taking a little departure from Thor's comic book origins. He won't have the crippled doctor Donald Blake alter-ego in the film, but he will be a Norse god sent to Earth for an extreme lesson in humility. Thor is super-strong and fast, and, with the power of the hammer Mjolnir, Thor can also control electrical storms and fly.
Odin (Anthony Hopkins)
Odin is king of the Norse gods and Thor's father. He banishes Thor to Earth after Thor's arrogance fans the flames on a centuries-old conflict in Asgard, the home of the gods.
Loki (Tom Hiddleston)
Thor's brother, and Norse god of mischief, is the main villain in this story. In the trailer you can get a glimpse of The Destroyer, Odin's nigh-unstoppable suit of armor, which Loki has been known to control as if it were its own being. Loki is motivated by jealousy of his beloved brother and his own selfish desire to supplant Odin and rule Asgard.
And speaking of The Destroyer, it looks ridiculously faithful to the comic book version -- a mindless, lumbering silver juggernaut of destruction created by Odin, but used by the evil Loki to try to destroy Thor. Branagh makes good with The Destroyer money shots in this initial teaser, showing the giant enchanted armor tearing things up in the ungodly hot Nevada desert.
Frigga (Rene Russo)
Russo plays Thor's mother and Odin's wife, Queen of the Norse gods. She's not usually a major player in the 'Thor' comics, but it's always good to see Rene Russo back on the big screen.
Heimdall (Idris Elba)
In Norse mythology, Heimdall is the watchman of the gods, and in the comics, he has served as Odin's temporary replacement as ruler of Asgard during times when Odin was needed elsewhere. There are quite a few shots of Heimdall in the new trailer, leading one to wonder just how big of a part he plays in 'Thor.'
Sif (Jaimie Alexander)
The beautiful Sif, Thor's childhood friend and eventual lover, may be taking a backseat to the romance between Thor and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). Sif is a powerful warrior in her own right, and judging from her appearance in the trailer, they'll be playing that up instead of her on-again-off-again relationship with Thor.
Hogun (Tadanobu Asano)
The only member of the Asgardian Warriors Three that you can get a good look at in the trailer is Hogun. He's one of Thor's fiercest allies, and he's pictured in the trailer with his signature mace.
'Thor' lands in theaters on May 6, 2011.