By Michael Koresky, Andrew Tracy, and Adam Nayman
On Mondays, two Reverse Shotters wipe the weekend from their bleary eyes and engage in a postmortem on the multiplex trash (good or bad) they took in.
When in 1994 I saw Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, in which then powerhouse Brit hyphenate Kenneth Branagh stripped himself to the waist, offering up his newly buffed and broad-chested torso, and proceeded to writhe around with a body-suited Robert DeNiro on a floor covered in slick puddles of birthing goo, I realized we were no longer dealing with just the world’s foremost Shakespearean auteur. “Superheroes Are the New Shakespeare” read a scary Gawker headline today—but the turtle-faced writer-director-star and former Emma-Thompson-and-Helena-Bonham-Carter beau used to prove the opposite. His Henry V, his Hamlet, even his Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, are nothing if not triumphant, virtuous, athletic, romantic—stopping just short of superhuman. They prevail in the Battle of Agincourt and conquer saucy love interests, and even that fussy, withering melancholy Dane cuts a robust figure as he heroically parries and thrusts with Laertes, even sending his foil sailing across the room with a distinctly supernatural force.
So, though at first it might seem odd that Branagh has been placed at the helm of the new 3-D Hollywood blockbuster Thor, by Odin’s raven, I think it works! And not just because the mighty Thor gets a shirtless scene almost as gratuitous as Branagh’s in that hoary monster movie: as the titular thunderous God, fallen to Earth from the goofily grand and very vertical realm of Asgard, Chris Hemsworth rages and bellows like no one since Branagh’s Hamlet at the end of Act Three. Continue reading