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With Marvel Playing It So Safe, Matthew Vaughn’s ‘Thor’ Film Feels Like a Missed Opportunity

Thor in Thor: Ragnarok.

Now more than ever, many a fan’s hopes are riding on Deadpool 3 to get the Marvel Cinematic Universe firmly back on its feet, and with the titular character sporting a sizable history of success outside of the MCU brand, the film is bound to be the Multiverse Saga’s best shot at course-correction.

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Now, if Marvel Studios had been willing to take bigger swings with its last couple of projects (even conceptually bold endeavors like Secret Invasion and Echo fell apart due to dire studio oversight), perhaps the course wouldn’t need to be corrected at all. Indeed, it’s times like these when one really thinks about how things could have been different—not necessarily better or worse, but just different.

That leads us to Matthew Vaughn’s unrealized Thor origin film, which was ultimately given to Kenneth Branagh and also ultimately worthy of a tip of the hat, but in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the Argylle director riffed on what his vision would have looked like, evoking an ambitious image of the god of thunder’s answer to Captain America: The First Avenger, which remains one of the strongest entries in the whole franchise.

It was a take on the Vikings and was set in the world where the Vikings were ruling, they believed in Thor, and Thor being banished to the Viking world, and having the shit kicked out of him for saying he’s a god. And Loki got him vanished. So, you had the best of both worlds: Valhalla and this gritty, documentary-style Viking movie.

It’s no bold statement that Vaughn’s comedy chops may not have suited the Asgardian warrior quite as well as Branagh did, but there remains plenty to be said about how Vaughn’s idea for a Thor film represents the largely untapped depth of the superhero genre’s playground. We’ve seen a caped protagonist save planet Earth (or at least New York City) from a giant beam in the sky on more than several occasions, but why not slot that same hero into a historical drama like Vaughn seemed intent on doing? How might one use superheroes in a romance or Western? Why haven’t we gotten a Sanctum Sanctorum mockumentary yet?

Maybe these would all suck, but you can’t be awesome without the risk of sucking, and as genre fiction titan Brandon Sanderson once said, it’s always best to err on the side of what’s awesome.

(featured image: Marvel Studios)

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