Tag Archives: Thor

Comics to screen: Marvel Avengers Assemble

by Matthew Turner

Warning: This post contains SPOILERS for Marvel Avengers Assemble (or The Avengers, if you live anywhere other than Britain) and is intended to be read after you’ve seen the film.

With the recent release (and what already looks like phenomenal box office success) of Marvel’s The Avengers, it seems only fitting to mark the occasion with a final Comics To Screen post. This will examine how writer-director Joss Whedon, closely supervised by Marvel Studios, has blended the now established movie universe (referred to, annoyingly but conveniently, as the Marvel movie-verse) with the classic comics themselves. Arguably, with the enormous success of the  three key movie franchises (Iron Man, Thor and Captain America), it’s no longer really that important to cater to old-school comics fans, but it’s nonetheless interesting to look at just how much of early Avengers history survives into the new movie and to see which elements have been drawn from elsewhere.

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Playing to the Audience: “Thor” and the Joys of Marvel Superhero Movies

by Matthew Turner

What do people want from Marvel superhero movies? (Sorry, DC fans –there’s only room in this blog post for one superhero universe). Looking beyond the obvious answers (super-powered fight scenes, spell-binding visual effects, compelling characters and entertaining stories) the makers of a superhero movie about a lesser-known character like Thor (or a pre Iron Man Iron Man) have to perform a complex juggling act. On the one hand they have to appease the existing (though in Thor‘s case, relatively few) fans of the comics, bearing in mind that with characters like Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, there’s almost 50 years of backstory to draw on (this isn’t the place to go into the Ultimate Marvel Universe but it’s worth noting that film-makers have so far steered clear of its rebooted and updated versions of the properties). On the other hand they have to introduce the character to a whole new audience (usually by way of an origin story) and hopefully launch a new money-making and sequel-generating franchise – basically, everyone wants another Iron Man, the enormous success of which has led directly to the upcoming Thor, Captain America and Avengers movies. Speaking of which, Thor director Kenneth Branagh had a third ball to juggle, in that he had to lay the groundwork for the upcoming The Avengers and provide significant crossover with both the Iron Man series and Captain America, establishing a Marvel universe continuity that isn’t wholly reliant on post-credits cameos from Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.

Continue reading Playing to the Audience: “Thor” and the Joys of Marvel Superhero Movies