Marvel forgoes interesting origin


On May 6, Marvel Studios’ Thor kicked off the summer movie season. It was big, it was epic and it was pretty much everything a summer blockbuster should be. Including not being very good.

Typically, over the last handful of years, the summer movie season has been full of large spectacle movies that bring success at the box-office, but offer little in way of being decent cinematic experiences.

I will admit, I didn’t have the highest of expectations going into the theatre, but knowing that Marvel has had past efforts that turned out better than expected, I was still at least remotely excited to see their latest endeavor.

When I walked out of the movie though, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had wasted the last two hours watching absolutely nothing happen.

Yes, there was some suitable, if not mindless, action involved, but so little seemed to happen narrative wise that I was left feeling a sense of emptiness.

And then I figured out why. As good as Thor was as an introduction to the comic book character, it was little more than that. The actual plot was quick and easy. The love story with Natalie Portman’s character was a sidebar. In the end, it felt like nothing but a set-up to The Avengers movie that will be released next year. As far as being a stand-alone film, this superhero outing was a complete bust.

Marvel’s previous cinematic attempt, Iron Man 2, I realized also suffered from similar problems. There seemed to be no real interest in developing an original movie but rather the purpose lay in advancing the character of Tony Stark so we would eventually see him in The Avengers movie.

It didn’t necessarily suffer the same, inherently pointless outcome as Thor did, but it felt lax nonetheless.

Given how highly I am anticipating the comic-book team to make their big-screen debut together, I can’t say that I am entirely put-off by the studio’s attempt at launching these characters before putting them into their tent-pole picture.

But at the same time, I look to their earlier cinematic efforts of The Incredible Hulk and the first Iron Man, and not only did they advance the anticipation for the group movie, but they worked exceedingly well as individual films too.

So, on some level, I can’t help but shake a finger at the way in which the mega-corporation is handling their most recent franchises. Thor’s legacy will be nothing more than a pit stop on Marvel’s highway to a greater project. Unfortunately, I know it didn’t have to be that way.

With these last two missteps then, here’s hoping that July’s Captain America: The First Avenger breaks the pattern of mediocrity and does more than simply make me yearn for next summer.

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