Natalie Portman's 'Thor': A Different Kind of Superhero Movie?

These days, there's a superhero for every taste. We've seen 'em broody (The Dark Knight), nerdy (Spiderman 3), cocky (Iron Man), conflicted (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and goofy (Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer). So when the creators of the upcoming Thor tell us that it will redefine the superhero movie, what could they mean?

Let's ask Natalie Portman. The Brothers actress, known for being choosy about her films, will star as Thor's love interest. And she took the role because of the film's director: Kenneth Branagh. Says Portman:

"I was just like, Kenneth Branagh doing Thor is super-weird. I've gotta do it."

We've gotta agree with her there: Branagh, director of several Shakespeare adapations, is a strange choice for a superhero movie. Accordingly, he's nabbed knighted actor extraordinaire Anthony Hopkins for the role of the Norse god Odin. And he has good taste in women: In addition to Portman, up-and-coming actress Kat Dennings (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) will have a part.

So what is it about Thor that's attracting all this talent? Really, The Mighty Thor is a very strange superhero. Rather than being an ordinary mortal endowed with supernatural powers, he's exactly the opposite: an unruly god who has been made human as a punishment. Human Thor must then defend the Earth against divine forces, not to mention pursuing human love interests. We can see why Branagh might be intrigued by the material: The themes of life and death, power changing hands, and humans surpassing their limitations are practically Shakespearean.

And who will play the title role? Branagh has made the unconventional decision to cast a relative unknown: Chris Hemsworth, Captain Kirk's dad in Star Trek, will be wielding Thor's mighty hammer.

Do you think making a superhero movie is a smart move for Natalie? Chime in below!

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