J. Michael Straczynski Happy With Kenneth Branagh for Thor
Ever since we made the announcement about actor Kenneth Branagh being hired to direct Thor for Marvel, the internet has been abuzz either attacking my opinion or agreeing with my concern. To restate my feelings, I'm officially worried that the film isn't going to have that same finesse that Marvel's films from this year (Iron Man and Incredible Hulk) have had due in part to their directors. However, I'm of course open to persuasion or at least some convincing and MTV has provided just that. They were able to get in touch with well-known comic author J. Michael Straczynski and ask him about the decision. His answer: "Honestly, I can't imagine anyone better suited to this." Really? He can't think of anyone else?
Straczynski, known best as the creator of "Babylon 5" and screenwriter of Clint Eastwood's Changeling, has also been writing the most recent issues of Thor since 2007. So his opinion is considerably valid, especially because he's petty well-versed on the character, I'd say. "'Thor,' at his best, has always had a classical bent to the character in terms of his history, the way he speaks, and the often Shakespearean intrigues and dramas that surround him. That kind of dialogue and character needs the hand of someone who comes from a theatrical/classically trained background in order for it not to sound forced or artificial. Branagh is absolutely the perfect choice." A strong statement from a rather powerful comic writer.
I'll admit that I'm not too well versed in the Thor mythology, but I'm a Marvel fan and I'm looking forward to seeing how the three year lead up to The Avengers (in 2011) plays out. So if Thor is going to be included in the Avengers line-up, then I know I will be very interested in seeing how he's introduced. Thus, my concern over Branagh's involvement is valid, because he's not a likely choice and doesn't have any action experience. Straczynski's statement about Thor's Shakespearean ties makes a lot of sense, but I don't want to see a slow-moving, action-less Shakespearean movie with way too much dialogue, do you? I want to see a great action movie that will be the perfect introduction to the character, like Iron Man was.
I will remain optimistic in the hope that Branagh turns out to be much like Favreau, a fan at heart with the passion to create the perfect superhero film. However, until I'm convinced otherwise, I'm still worried that Thor may be Marvel's first big mistake, even if J. Michael Straczynski thinks he's the perfect choice.