Comic Con: Thor Panel Impressions And Footage Description

Marvel finally unveiled moving images from  Thor today at the studio's panel in Hall H at the San Diego Comic Con. Director Kenneth Branagh took the stage with Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Kat Dennings, Clark Gregg and Tom Hiddleston. They didn't reveal much about the film we didn't already know, but did twice show a trailer.

First up, because I have to get this out of the way: the trailer was shown in 3D, and it was pointless. Just as with The Last Airbender, a great many shots looked like they were barely in 3D at all, and even the most processed shots didn't particularly benefit from the conversion. Beyond that, I thought the film looked a lot better than we'd been afraid it might. Hit the jump for a full trailer description.

Here's a full rundown of the trailer:

It opens with thunder and lightning, and a camera shot that drops directly down into a SHIELD-erected structure. The building is hiding the hammer of Thor, which was found in New Mexico. We hear Agent Coulsen (Clark Gregg) interrogating Thor as shots are intercut of Thor decimating SHIELD agents in rain and mud. Coulsen surmises that, based upon his prowess, Thor must have serious military training. (There's a pretty cool shot with Thor useing a jump kick to drop one agent.) The interrogation comes to a head with: "who are you?"

Then the camera flies up into Asgard, panning around a huge gold, Jack Kirby-ish palace in which Odin is castigating Thor for being rash, dishonorable, selfish and bringing war to Asgard as a result. Thor, kneeling before Odin (Anthony Hopkins), wears his helmet (looks good!) but Odin bellows his anger at Thor and casts him out of Asgard.

Then the thunder god is lying in the dirt when he's found by Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and her assistant Darcy (Kat Dennings). Thor opens his eyes and grumbles "this is Earth, isn't it?" The women take him in and Darcy cracks wise while ogling the god: "for an insane homeless man, he's pretty cut." There's dialogue about Foster and her team being on the verge of some discovery and Thor promises that she'll find what she's looking for if he gets what he wants.

That's the hammer, and we've got to surmise that Coulson's interrogation comes after Thor broke into the compound to retrieve the hammer. But when we see him approach and attempt to lift it, he fails. Voiceover from Odin, "Whosoever lifts this hammer, if he is found worthy, shall weild the power of Thor." The young god is obviously not yet worthy.

That leads to images of Loki taking over Asgard and a swirl of combat footage — the Warriors Three battling some threat to Asgard, chaos in the New Mexico town where Jane Foster is working and a big battle between Thor and Loki. Voiceover from Odin says something to the effect that Thor will have to face what's coming to him. And that's when the kicker comes in: Destroyer, a huge metal beast, lands in New Mexico. Coulson and other SHIELD agents confront it, with one agent asking if it's one of Stark's. Then the Destroyer's face opens up and unleashes fiery hell on the agents.

(We had a spy photo of Destroyer a while back that was removed at the request of Paramount; below is an official image released today. That's not a still from the film, but rather a photo from the Comic Con show floor.)

So: the commentary. I liked the footage a lot. Getting beyond the 3D, the stuff on Earth fits in very well with the Marvel movie universe as established in the Iron Man films. When not in the costume, Hemsworth looks powerful, though not insanely massive. (And, for what it's worth, Branagh said that some elements of the Don Blake story have been worked into the script, but in some surprising ways.)

The footage in Asgard is a bit more fantastic, but I didn't think it strayed into Flash Gordon territory. Branagh seems to be keeping his camera moving a lot, which might help ease a sense of stiffness that some of the costumes have. Loki's helmet looks great, but some of the Asgardian armor and costumes will take some getting used to. But the battle footage between Thor and Loki sold me.

The Destroyer stuff is a great kicker as far as the trailer goes, because it is strongly reminiscent of Iron Man. That should help audiences unfamiliar with the characters and story. But I also wonder how big a presence the Destroyer really has — being a lot like Iron Man has a downside, since we've already seen climactic 'big armor' battles in those two films. This one has to be a smaller part of Thor, otherwise Marvel will seem like it is just relying on proven tactics.