Since Marvel took conrol of their own properties for the big screen they have made some interesting choices for directors, which started with Jon Faverau taking the reins of Iron Man and producing an amazing film. For the third film in that series they have given the duties to Shane Black, screenwrting legend and director of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. These two appointments raised a few eyebrows but nowhere as near as the surprise that greeted the announcement that Kenneth Branagh would be directing Thor. This seemed very strange, but the guys at Marvel have pulled it off again, as I couldn’t imagine anyone else doing it!

  As a sell to the general public, Thor is a hard one, I love comic book films, but really didn’t know much about the character apart from he’s a god and has a big hammer.  This problem is dealt with pretty quickly. The film starts out in the New Mexico desert where Astro-Physicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and her team, Erik (Stellan Skarsgard) and Darcy (Kat Dennings), are waiting for a cosmic annomally to occur. When it does they literally run into Thor (Chris Hemsworth). The film then takes us back to the Kingdom of Asgard, where we meet the young Thor and his brother Loki as they are told the legend of Asgards battle with the Ice Giants, a war that was ended bytheir father Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins). Flash forward a few years and Thor is about to take the step into his fathers shoes but the cremeony is interrupted by an infiltration by the Ice Giants after their artifact taken by Odin. They are dealt with, But Thor sees it as an act of war amd wants revenge, despite his fathers protestaions he and a band of warriors head off to the ice kingdom of Jotenheim. Despite a brave battle Thor is saved by Odin, who angered at his sons betrayal, banishes him to Earth without his powers and his hammer, Mjolnir. Which brings us back to his run in with Jane. 

   This is where the fun starts in the film, as we have the ‘duck out of water’  Thor trying to make sense of this new realm he is in.  There is an immediate spark between him and Jane, and not just from Darcy tasering him. She is smitten and wants to help him, but Erik warns her off, and when SHIELD turn up and steal all her research it’s clear there is something else going on with him. Agent Coulson and his agents have found Mjolnir in a huge crater (end credits of Iron Man 2) and are trying to understand it. Whilst this is happening on earth, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is up to no good in Asgard, but can Thor get back and stop him?

  It is like a film of two halves, Thor. The Asgard protions of the film are very classical almost shakespearean which shows why Kenneth Branagh was the perfect choice. It is helped by the great actors he has chosen, Anthony Hopkins has the gravitas to play Odin, a true God and Leader. Chris Hemsworth is great as Thor, in the Asgard sequences he has that arrogance that the son of a god would have, then on earth stripped of his power his charm shines through. As Loki, Tom Hiddleston shows the confusion inside the character, he wants to be knig but never will be and it’s driving him mad, even though he loves his brother. Rene Russo is quite good though a bit wasted as she is hardly in it as the Queen Frigga. Idris Elba is surprisingly good as the gate keeper of kingdom, he doesn’t have a lot to do but when he is on screen he is pretty humble but threatening.

  The Earth sequences are more like the Marvel films we have already had, though there is a surprising lack of action. There are only two sequences of note, both good, but not to the levels of Iron Man. In one we are reminded that this is a pre-cursor to next years Avengers movie, with a brief appearance of Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye and a great  one liner about Stark.  What surprised me the most with the film was the level of humour. It’s a really funny film, during the Earth sequences, not just Thor’s misunderstanding of earth customs.  I did find my self  laughing quite a lot and i think the film need that as the Asgard parts are played so seriously.

 I saw the film in 3D, and have to say it was pretty disappointing. It works in showing the scale of Asgard but in sequences that are dark, it’s too dark. There were also scenes where things were popping out the screen that shouldn’t be. it could have just been the screen I saw it at, but if I was gonna go and see it again, I think I would watch it in 2D.

  Overall, it was a really enjoyable film, that could have gone badly wrong but didn’t. It’s believeable, you have a man with a gian t hammer flying through the sky and it doesn’t matter, it works, it fits in with the films we have already have and makes me excited for whats to come, not just in The Avengers but in Captain America. If Joe Johnston does as  good job as Kenneth Brangah we are in for a great summer of superheroes. Not forgetting X-Men First Class as well!

Rating 8/10

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