[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B00F3TCFAG][/pullquote] Thor is the latest offering from Marvel Studios and one in a series of films that is building toward their marquee attraction film The Avengers. Like Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk and the soon to be released Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor is something of an origin story that helps to establish the main characters from the comic book in preparation for a series of films that will hopefully prove as popular as the Spider-Man and Iron Man franchises have in recent years. The fears of fans of the comic books that Thor would be treated as a glorified trailer for The Avengers (a la Iron Man 2) prove unwarranted, and there are only 3 small moments that tie-in to the overall Avengers story and one of them is post-credits. Everything else is all about the breakdown in relationships between family members.
The majority of the story focuses on the relationship between Thor (Chris Hemsworth), his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and their father Odin (Anthony Hopkins). As expected Hopkins brings a certain level of gravitas to his role as the King of Asguard, however it is Hemsworth and Hiddleston who really impress as the Odinson. Hemsworth proves the casting agents right by being capable of switching from drama and action to comedy without any awkward moments. Hiddleston adds layers to what could’ve been a very simplistic villain, but with the newcomers take on the mischievous Loki there is sympathy aplenty for the somewhat victimised younger child. The whole thing feels like watching a Shakespearean drama unfold before you, which is perhaps not unsurprising considering who is at the helm.
When Sir Kenneth Branagh was chosen to direct Thor, it seemed like a thoroughly left-field choice. However, much like previous directors of Marvel franchises, they seem to have picked someone with strengths that lay in the particular genre. In this there is corruption, court intrigue and betrayal and it goes to prove that Sir Kenneth is the master of epic Shakespearean tragedies. Don’t let the threat of the Bard put you off though as there is plenty of explosions and set-piece battles, including an earth-shattering battle against the frost giants. Branagh fulfills his blockbuster action quota with aplomb, and even manages to make the scenes feel tight and important to the flow of the story.