How sweet to think that Thor was only the fourth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At the time of its 2011 release, the first Avengers assembly was still a year away,and Kenneth Branagh seemed a counterintuitive choice for director. But it worked. The leap from declamatory Shakespearean drama to the mythic world of Norse gods proved not insurmountable, and Ken brought not just scale and seriousness, but a good ear for humour and a swirling score by his regular Scottish collaborator Patrick Doyle. Once the Game of Thrones-style backstory is established — nine realms, Frost Giants, Asgard, Tom Hiddleston’s evil sibling Loki — we get on with the fish-out-of-water fun, as Chris Hemsworth’s po-faced, hammer-wielding hunk crash- lands into astrophysicist Natalie Portman’s experiments in New Mexico… and things quickly get loud and preposterous. Way better than its sequel, I maintain.
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