Release Date: May 6, 2011

Movie of the Day for Sunday, May 24, 2009
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He and John Henry should totally hang.

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
5/18 Les Winan Manages to not be ridiculous despite the high potential for ridiculousness. Highly enjoyable and does the character justice.
65/171 Max Braden This is a watchable popcorn movie, but Iron Man still tops the recent comic book hero genre. Idris Elba in particular was very cool.

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In Marvel Studios' quest to put together an Avengers movie, many fans were asking which heroes are going to be the founding fathers of the team. The week after Iron Man opened to record box office totals, Marvel Studios made quite clear the lineup they are going to have in the Avengers movie - Captain America, Iron Man and a certain goldilocked Asgardian by the name of Thor.

Created by Stan Lee, writer Larry Lieber and Jack “The King” Kirby in 1962, Thor's first appearance was in Journey into Mystery #83. The series was later re-branded “The Mighty Thor” and continued on for years, featuring work from such comic book legends as Gerry Conway, Neal Adams, Roy Thomas and Walt Simonson. Thor joined The Avengers (comic book style) in Avengers #1 in 1963, which was written by Stan Lee and featured art by Jack Kirby. Also on the team in the beginning were Ant-Man, Wasp, Iron Man and the Hulk. Captain America didn’t join until Avengers #4, when they found him frozen in a block of ice in the ocean. The team had a very fluid roster with people leaving and returning all the time, but the core team was ordinarily the big three of Iron Man, Captain America and Thor.

Thor's relationship with his family and other Norse gods like himself who live in the city of Asgard has provided many a classic story line, as have his trials of trying to work on Earth. Recently, the Asgardian gods faced Ragnarok and their time passed, but as things go in the Marvel Universe, the Asgardians were resurrected. This occurred in the highly acclaimed and best-selling new Thor series from writer J. Michael Straczynski.

With the character back on track in the comics, it’s been a long time coming for Thor to make an appearance on the big screen. He’s made a few appearances in various cartoons over the years, but his biggest onscreen appearance was in the 1988 TV movie The Incredible Hulk Returns. It served as a pilot for a Thor TV series that never got off the ground. This interpretation of Thor was considered a major letdown. He was portrayed not as the noble son of Odin and defender of the weak, but as a boozing brawler who was loud, obnoxious and fairly boring. Conversely, the Donald Blake character, his human alter ego, was pretty spot on. He used a magic walking stick to summon Thor. Many a comic fan today laughs at the memory of that movie.

After an aborted attempt by Sam Raimi and Stan Lee in the 1990s to bring the character to the big screen, Thor lay dormant as a movie property for years. Then, Marvel Studios was formed and they made a major effort to reacquire characters that Marvel had licensed out years before to other companies. Enter director Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, Stardust). He was initially tapped to direct X-Men 3 but dropped out two weeks before filming. After the release of Stardust, he was contacted by Marvel Studios to adapt and direct the Thor movie. Kevin McKidd (Dan Vasser on Journeyman and Lucius Vorenus on the HBO series Rome) admitted he’d been in talks for the movie Thor, not as the main character but for another part. After a script was turned in by Mark Protosevich and the movie received a preliminary budget at $300 million, Vaughn then began his own rewrite in an attempt to bring the budget down to $150 million. At some point in this process, forward momentum stalled and Vaughn eventually dropped out.

After Iron Man opened to $102.1 million, Marvel Studios held a conference call to announce the next slate of movies. This included the news that Thor would be released in 2010 alongside an Iron Man sequel, followed by Captain America and The Avengers in 2011.

As things stand as of right now, there is neither a director attached nor an actor signed to play The Mighty Thor. Marvel Studios is supposed to be making announcements about Thor and their other properties in San Diego Comic Con in 2008. The current rumor is that Brad Pitt is Marvel's choice if he does agree to take on the project. (Pete Kilmer/BOP)

Vital statistics for Thor
Main Cast Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston
Supporting Cast Anthony Hopkins, Rene Russo, Stellan Skarsgard, Jaimie Alexander, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Josh Dallas, Tadanobu Asano, Idris Elba, Clark Gregg, Colm Feore
Director Kenneth Branagh
Screenwriter Mark Protosevich, Ashley MIller, Zack Stentz, Don Payne
Distributor Marvel Studios
Official Site
Rating PG-13
Running Time 130 minutes
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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