By Jeff Jensen
Updated December 11, 2010 at 06:46 PM EST

Next year promises to be a pivotal year in superhero pop, with Warner Bros. launching Green Lantern with Ryan Reynolds and Marvel Studios (with Paramount Pictures) introducing two new cinematic Avengers: Captain America starring Chris Evans and Thor starring Chris Hemsworth. (This is to say nothing of The Green Hornet starring Seth Rogen and Fox’s X-Men reboot starring James McAvoy.) By now, all of you have seen first looks at Green Lantern, Captain America and Green Hornet; now check out the trailer and feast your eyes on Thor:

The trailer is similar to the meaty sizzle reel that Marvel showed at Comic-Con last summer, but shorter, tighter and with a few more high impact special effect shots—and all the better for it. I’ve been wondering if mainstream audiences will embrace Marvel’s version of the impetuous and tempestuous thunder god of Norse mythology, with his florid tongue and golden locks, and who wields perhaps the most un-sexy of weapons/accessories… a magic hammer (name: Mjolnir) that looks like a cinder block on a stick. Thor wouldn’t seem to possess the geek/tech-culture relevance and rock star edge of, say, Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man. Then again, Clash of the Titans–another comic book war-of-the-gods fantasy–connected with audiences. And I think this trailer has enough visual wow and dramatic punch—as well a leavening touch of good humor—to make the character and his world appealing and interesting to newbies. The presence of Natalie Portman will no doubt goose Thor’s pop profile; no actress outside of Anne Hathaway is more of the moment at the moment. Indeed, I have to think the reason why Marvel is even releasing the trailer now is to make sure Thor gets included the Oscar-buzzy cultural conversation surrounding the Black Swan star. (The 3-D movie, directed by Kenneth Branagh, opens May 6.) Take a look and sound off below. What do you make of Hemsworth as Thor and Anthony Hopkins as Odin? Are you digging The Destroyer as much as I am? How cool is that penultimate image, with Thor driving Mjolnir into the ground and causing that earth-rippling shockwave of destruction? And the hammer–does it work for you? By Odin’s strapless metal eye-patch, I command you to sound off below!