Thor vs. Captain America
Battle of the trailers.
The internet has recently been ablaze with buzz about the release of the trailer for Captain America: The First Avenger, set to hit screens this July. Some of the commentary has sought to compare first impressions of the film to the trailer for Thor, another comic book adaptation backed by Marvel Studios, with Thor so far losing out. The scene is set for a battle of the box office, with the two comic-book heroes clashing head to head. But one key question remains: will the films follow in the footsteps of in the footsteps of Sin City and The Dark Knight and soar to the heights of comic adaptation supremacy? Or will they fall to relative obscurity, only to be pursued by comic book fans aching for a new medium to obsess over?
At first glance, I doubted the calibre of both films. The Kenneth Branagh-directed (!) Thor appears to revolve solely around the adventures of a buff, vaguely Scandinavian-looking blonde (who is inevitably and lovably out of place in a foreign world), galumphing around with his magnetic hammer and trying to save the world, while charming the pants off Natalie Portman. The references to the fact that he comes from a 'Higher Realm' seemed silly rather than believable and - if the film really does seek to draw on Norse mythology - what remains to be explained is why the trailer 8 a space-age robot charging down a suburban street while shooting gigantic fireballs.
Also: when we say buff, we seriously mean buff. Look at Chris Hemsworth's arms!
Captain America looked just as naff. While it too 8 a man with an overly-oiled chest, the film centres on a theme more prevalent in Western films: Nazi killin'. The trailer 8 all the obligatory explosions set to a heavily strummed rock-music soundtrack, coupled with images of the Captain fearlessly leading a group of helmeted soldiers behind his proud shield of red, white and blue. How closely the film resembles American Dad in its arrogance remains to be seen.
On subsequent further viewing, however, I realised that my critical judgement of the films was being swept away by the sheer excitement brought on by the humungous explosions, slow-mo shots of charging heroes and adoring kisses of leading lasses. And maybe this is just the point: though not all comic-book film adaptations can hope to reach the calibre of the greats, there's a lot of fun to be had with an over-produced, spectacularly over-done hero flick where the fate of the world is at stake. And, although my comic-book loyalties will forever lie with Tobey Maguire in Spiderman, when Thor comes charging into the scene with his magic hammer, I'll be cheering with the rest of them.