Marvel Was Worried The MCU Would Collapse If Thor Failed


Thor: Ragnarok is a monster hit and currently sitting at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Forget the fact that it’s the best God of Thunder movie to date; this could be one of Marvel’s greatest films, period.

To quote our own Matt Donato’s review:

“As Thor tumbles head-over-feet through the infinite cosmos, summons thunder blasts and tries to erase the image of Hulk’s gargantuan – how did Tony Stark put it, zucchini(?) – from his mind, “Cosmic Marvel” continues to evolve as the studio’s most fascinating subgenre. It’s where MCU mastermind Kevin Feige allows filmmakers the most freedom, thus far.”

Not a lot of people had high hopes for the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), featuring what many described as one of the blandest superheroes on screen, yet director Taika Waititi managed to give us a splendid adventure that had us glued to our seats. There was no Captain America, Iron Man, or Spider-Man in this flick, but none of us missed them for a single second as Thor and his companions ran rampant and entertained.

The threequel’s success is made even more impressive when you consider the fact that both Thor and Thor: The Dark World are often viewed as the MCU’s two weakest efforts. However, if it wasn’t for Kenneth Branagh’s original solo outing with the God of Thunder, the franchise may not be what it is today. Reflecting on his time spent with the character, the director revealed that before Thor hit theaters in 2011, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was in a very fragile place.

“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.”

He then mentioned that the studio felt if the film failed, the future of the entire cinematic universe would have been at risk:

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.”

What the director says here makes sense. After all, before Thor, the MCU only really had Iron Man (and its sequel) and The Incredible Hulk. While Tony Stark had certainly proven to be a smashing success with audiences, we can’t really say the same about the latter. At least, not at that point. So, it’s understandable then that Marvel needed the God of Thunder’s first solo outing and his proper introduction into the franchise to be a hit.

Thankfully, Branagh mostly managed to deliver just that. Again, it’s widely considered to be one of the more underwhelming MCU movies, but it’s by no means a bad film and still brought in a healthy $449 million for the studio. Not to mention that Chris Hemsworth knocked it out of the park and audiences found a new actor to fall in love with.

And while The Dark World may have been only mediocre at best, the God of Thunder is enjoying critical acclaim once more now with Thor: Ragnarok. Speaking of which, the threequel has already passed $500 million worldwide and continues to smash through the box office. Suffice it to say, everything worked out alright in the end and Chris Hemsworth’s Avenger likely has a bright future ahead of him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.