It seems quaint now that Thor was only the fourth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the all-conquering umbrella beneath which world domination has surely now been achieved. At the time of its release in 2011, the first Avengers union was a year away and it was still possible to fit together the jigsaw pieces. Kenneth Branagh seemed a counterintuitive choice for director with mostly Shakespeare behind him, but the leap from declamatory historical drama to the mythic world of Norse gods proved not insurmountable, and our man 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.
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