Six years may have gone since Kenneth Branagh worked on the first Thor standalone movie, helping Chris Hemsworth soar as Marvel Studios' iteration of the God of Thunder, but the director is still invested on the franchise, recently saying that he is actually looking forward to checking out Thor: Ragnarok.
The third solo outing for Odinson arrived in cinemas earlier this month with a renewed purpose and an overhauled look. The decision to change what has been established in the first two Thor films is risky, but Hemsworth was determined to breathe fresh air to his own franchise which was dubbed the weakest compared to his other Avenger compatriots, Iron Man and Captain America. The risk paid off; not only did Ragnarok finally made Thor generally-appealing, it also raked big bucks at the box office, already surpassing $700 million worldwide and making it one of the top 10 highest grossing movies of the year.
It's safe to say, however, that none of this would happen if not for Branagh's hand at launching the character back in 2011. And despite being replaced in the sequel, Thor: The Dark World, by Alan Taylor, the actor/filmmaker has nothing but great words for Marvel and Hemsworth. He even said in an interview with Comingsoon.net that he is excited to check out director Taika Waititi's different take on Thor and his cosmic adventures:
“Really look forward to the fact that it’s clearly so different in tone, although Kevin Feige was in touch recently very sweetly, to say they use a bit of Patrick Doyle’s theme from the first movie and it’s quite a touching moment at the end of a great fun space adventure that sort of let’s you know the roots from which it came. They all sort of join up.
I’m very pleased it seems so releasing for Chris that the character’s been re-energized. Taika’s a terrific director, and a sense of fun and adventure with the character is also very pleasing to see. I’m proud to have been a small part of that universe and to have dealt with that subject tonally at a time when we were all pretty sweaty about whether we could make it work on its own, let alone as part of the great edifice that is now the MCU!”
It's great that even after all these years Branagh maintained a good working relationship with Marvel. Recently, he has also opened up about the challenges that he and his team had to face in successfully launching Thor as one of the MCU's most important players. And while Thor 1 admittedly is not everyone's favorite Marvel film or even Thor standalone, it accomplished what many perceived as unattainable in actually making an odd alien prince grounded and somewhat relatable. Branagh also introduced us to one of the more interesting villains of the franchise in Loki and while the romance between Odinson and Jane Foster did not really take off, the dynamic between the Asgardian brothers is enough for people to be invested in the world that they have come from.
As we inch closer to the big MCU culminating projects, Avengers: Infinity War and its untitled sequel, it's nice to look back in the last 10 years of Marvel Studios and realize that it was not an easy road for them to get into where they are right now as some might think. The Thor franchise is a very good example of that with a few missteps and stumbles before they eventually landed on the smash hit that is Thor: Ragnarok. The good thing about them, however, is they know how to customize their plans based on the reaction they get from their fan base.