How does "Thor" stack up against other heroes?

How does "Thor" stack up against other heroes?

How does

Its hammer time.

Thor, the newest costumed do-gooder with designs on movie stardom, debuts in theaters May 6. Chris Hemsworth, he of the memorable cameo as Captain Kirks dad in Star Trek, stars as the title player in the latest Marvel movie spectacle. Hes a hero unlike any other thats visited the multiplex during the superhero movie boom.

For one thing, hes not a household name like Batman, Spider-Man, Superman or another of this summers superpowered movie stars, Captain America.

Normally, I”d say it”s a problem to not have that mainstream name recognition, said Rick Marshall, editor of MTVs Splash Page blog. But the fact that the film is being packaged with “Iron Man” and the rest of the Marvel movies helps make “Thor” feel like one chapter in a bigger story.

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Here”s a look at who Thor is and how he matches up with other cineplex superheroes.

Video: Hemsworth brings down “Thor”s” hammer (on this page)

Where did he come from

What also sets Thor apart from other super types is his origin story.

Superman may have a bit of a God complex, but Thor really is a god, heir to the throne of the cosmic realm of Asgard. Unlike Batman, Spider-Man or the Hulk, there is no life-changing event that makes Thor put on his cape and armor. His powers arent created in a lab, like Captain Americas Super-Soldier serum; he isnt handed a magic ring by a dying alien as Hal Jordan is in Green Lantern.

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His powers don”t come from science or some sort of traumatic experience, said Marshall. [Thor] is a magical being, not a mutant or an alien or a guy with lots of guns or gadgets.

The character is already a god when we meet him, notes film and television producer F.J. DeSanto. A very cocky god, mind you, but one with very special powers that he is born with but doesnt necessarily have the maturity to use properly.

A cocky Thor”s rash actions have his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) at his wits end. To teach his spoiled son a lesson in humility, Odin exiles Thor to Earth to live among mere mortals.

Thor is really no different than the average rebellious teenager with daddy issues, according to DeSanto. His being banished to Earth is no different than a parent sending their kid off to military school.

Origin story grade: B

Mighty Mjolnir

Tony Stark has his armor, Batman his utility belt, Green Lantern his magic ring, Captain America his shield. Thor He has an enchanted hammer that allows him to control thunder and lightning. The guy can make it rain whenever and wherever he wants.

What other superhero has a weapon cool enough to warrant its own name Mjolnir (pronounced Myol-neer)

Unlike Iron Man or Green Lantern, who are dependent upon technology or an alien artifact for their powers, Thor isnt beholden to his hammer to save the day. Hes a gifted warrior and the strongest dude in the Marvel Universe, although the Hulk could give him a run for his money on a really angry day.

Weapon grade: A+

Video: “Thor” could conquer the universe (on this page)

He is who he is

Despite the fact that alter egos, be it playboy Bruce Wayne, mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent or test pilot Hal Jordan, are staples of the superhero genre, Thor is skipping the hero in disguise shtick.

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When youre a card-carrying immortal, a secret identity seems rather silly, doesnt it

Besides, its kind of hard to disguise yourself when you have a physique straight out of the WWE and hair like an Allman Brother.

Identity grade: C

Comrades in arms

Batman and Robin, Green Arrow and Speedy (dont ask), Iron Man and Rhodey; superheroes love sidekicks.

Thors band of brothers on Asgard are the Warriors Three: Fandral the Dashing, Hogun the Grim and Volstagg the Valiant. Think of the Three Musketeers and you get a good idea of the makeup of this power trio. Ray Stevenson, who put on a fat suit to portray the portly Volstagg, also stars in the latest version of the Musketeers legend, due out in October.

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The Warriors Three will soon have competition for Thors attention. The Thunder God will be a key player in next summers big superhero onscreen convention The Avengers.

Comrades grade: B+

She blinded me with science

Like another superpowered alien with a red cape, Thor is a stranger in a strange land. And like Superman, the Son of Odin meets a woman who helps him find his way in his new world.

Jane Foster (newly-minted Oscar winner Natalie Portman) is the scientist who discovers Thor in the desert after his father sent him packing. As sure as the sun is bright, expect her to need to be rescued by Thor at some point in the film. Its practically part of the DNA of a comic book movie.

But Foster isnt just a damsel in distress. Shes the latest in a string of strong-willed superhero love interests who happen to have a fondness for formulas. The Hulks crush, Betty Ross, is another lab rat. So was Sue Richards in the Fantastic Four films. Theres something about a lab coat

Love interest grade: B-

Video: Portman: Hemsworth is a “decent guy” (on this page)

Oh brother

The best superhero films have had villains as memorable as the heroes. Think of the Joker in The Dark Knight, or Doc Octopus in Spider-Man 2 and Magneto in the X-Men trilogy. Thor has himself a doozy: His own brother.

Loki (Tom Hiddleston) wants to rule Asgard and hes perfectly happy to lie, cheat and scheme his way to the throne, blood ties be damned. Loki has tons of issues, most of them being of the “father always liked you best” variety, and the combination of rage, jealousy and maliciousness makes him a threat not just to Thor but to Asgard and Earth.

In other words, an opponent worthy of the God of Thunder.

Villain grade: A

Will all of that help Thor break through the crowd of capes in theaters this summer It cant hurt.

A few years ago, Iron Man wasnt a known commodity outside of the comics world, either, said DeSanto. Dont discount people who are interested or knowledgeable in Norse mythology. Theres some value there. Of course, it would really help [Marvels cause] if the movie is good.”

Michael Avila is a writer in New York


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