Directed by: Kenneth Branagh
Cast: Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Anthony Hopkins (Odin), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Natalie Portman
Thor had the potential to be a Asgardian train wreck. The idea of marrying Marvel’s shared universe to Norse mythology seemed like an impossible task to pull off; like suddenly introducing Clash Of The Titans into the Bond franchise. Instead, Marvel chose an unlikely director – Branagh – who chose an unlikely approach – play everything straight – with an unlikely outcome – everybody loved it.
Playing it straight is not as easy at might seem when you’ve got Norse Gods in operatic costumes poncing about gloriously theatrical sets thee-ing and thou-ing all over the place. But the fact that Branagh pulls it off comes in the moment when Thor’s buddies – the Warriors Three – walk down the dusty high street of a desert town, and it takes a SHIELD agent to point out how ridiculous they look. You? You’ve just been watching the comics of your youth brought to life, and accepting it, lovingly.
Thor also benefits from some glorious production design that brings Jack Kirby’s fantasyscapes to dizzying reality; a spectacularly charismatic performance from Tom Hiddleston as Loki (no wonder he’s back in The Avengers); and a star who looks and acts just like Thor should (come on, you’ve always know he was a big spoilt brat who’d cy if somebody nicked his hammer).
If anything lets it down it’s the fact that the Earth action feels less than suitably epic. You’d hope that if Thor were sent to Earth to learn a lesson in humility it would take more than 48 hours in the desert, a quick battle with a firebreathing robot and a foxy chick batting her eyelashes at him.