Julie Taymor, director of both a gorgeous, moving new film of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" and the now-previewing Broadway musical, "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," told me yesterday, "All of the comic books that Marvel has put out, and especially 'Spider-Man,' are based on mythology -- in this case, the origin of the Spider, Arachne, the Greek myth. It is about hubris. Peter Parker is the chosen: he has no hubris, so he is the perfect Spider-Man. But all his villains -- all of them -- he never kills directly. They all die of their own hubris."
But if "Spider-Man" is, as Taymor says, especially based on mythology, one Marvel title is very especially based on it -- Marvel's remaking of the Norse thunder god into the Mighty Thor. In the Marvel version, Thor's father Odin tames his son's hubris by wiping his mind clean and giving him a mortal identity.
It's hard to tell from the trailer exactly how the movie handles Thor's origins, but we do see Odin casting out Thor from Asgard because of vanity, cruelty and greed. With actors like Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins merrily emoting away, and Kenneth Branagh at the helm, I'm psyched.