Thor the Conqueror

The standard of comparison is Stan Lee, and not Richard Fleischer. The film rises to its great occasion, Ricci takes a stately view of the succession of images provided by the script (composed by Tito Carpi, screenwriter of Heads I Kill You, Tails... You’re Dead... My name is Hallelujah), and patiently exposes each one for its own sake, with a patch of crosscutting in the grand finale.

In a furious battle, Thor is captured, tied up and blinded by his enemy with a flaming torch. He wanders the forest sightless, rests in a low cave, sitting on the stone floor with his back to the wall. A huge snake slithers toward him, at length he clutches it behind the jaws, reaches with his other hand for a clump of moss, squeezes out a few drops of venom, applies the moss to his eyes. Emerging from the darkness, his sight is restored.

Back in the forest, he visits a grave, digs up a skull with his bare hands, ponders it and covers it up again. A magic sword is his, a white horse appears out of nowhere. He faces the legions of his enemy’s adherents while his wife enters labor. He vanquishes his enemy in single combat as the woman gives birth.

This is grand, raw, elemental and refined, with Hamlet, King Lear and King Arthur drawn to comic-book specifications, heroically, and you have to be fairly blind yourself not to see it.