Kenneth Branagh On ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ & How ‘Thor’ Saved The MCU

Kenneth Branagh, director of Marvel's first 'Thor' movie, reveals how important it was to get the character right and reveal his excitement for 'Ragnarok'.

Thor Ragnarok Marvel Studios

While Thor: Ragnarok has been wowing audiences with director Taika Waititi’s bold new take on the Marvel mythos, the director of the first Thor movie, Kenneth Branagh, has had his hands full with the release of his new film, Murder on the Orient Express. It’s been six years since Branagh’s Thor, but the director’s passion for the character hasn’t faded a bit. In a recent interview with Uproxx, while discussing Murder on the Orient Express, Branagh revealed his excitement to see the third instalment in the Thor franchise and spoke about how important that first Thor movie was to the future of the MCU.

Asked about Ragnarok, Branagh’s love for the God of Thunder was evident:

“I am most certainly going to see Thor [Ragnarok], and I do care about it, and I’m thrilled that they’re making a third one and I love that director.”

Touching on the fact that, at this point, the Marvel Cinematic Universe had only introduced two heroes – Iron Man and the Hulk – Branagh revealed that the pressure was on to get Thor right:

“And then number three, it was sink or swim before Captain America and then suddenly, oh, it was fine after that. We make Iron Man 2 and Avengers and everything’s tickety-boo. But everybody who was there knows that that was an incredibly sweaty time.”

Asked if this meant that the future of the MCU could have been at risk had Thor failed, Branagh said:

“That’s certainly how they felt. No question that Kevin Feige used to say to me, “This is the single most difficult tonal challenge for us, to make this movie work in itself and fit into this large universe.” In fact, I think Thor, and in Chris Hemsworth’s performance, becomes an absolutely integral part.”

Branagh went on to praise both Hemsworth (Thor) and Ragnarok director Taika Waititi, saying:

“[Chris Hemsworth] was always, always funny. Always funny. But we also would definitely try to anchor some family drama in that first one, and you try to establish the mythology and the fish-out-of-water thing as well when he comes to Earth. So I think we laid out quite a lot of places from which the story could develop. And I’m personally really looking forward to what Taika’s done with it. I’m very pleased that they’re not just making the same movie each time. They’re being ballsy.”

With its bombastic action comedy styling and colorful cosmic setting, there’s no doubt that Waititi’s Ragnarok is worlds away from Branagh’s Thor. Branagh’s film was a more traditional, grounded superhero affair, showing the character’s heroic beginnings as a demigod banished to Earth.

Are you happy with how the Thor franchise has progressed? Are you still a fan of Branagh’s early work establishing the character? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Thor: Ragnarok stars Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Mark Ruffalo, Tessa Thompson, Idris Elba, Karl Urban, and Jeff Goldblum. Here’s the official synopsis:

“Imprisoned on the other side of the universe, the mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth) finds himself in a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), his former ally and fellow Avenger. Thor’s quest for survival leads him in a race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela (Cate Blanchett) from destroying his home world and the Asgardian civilization.”

Thor: Ragnarok is now playing.

Source: Uproxx