It’s official, the next few years belong to Marvel. Iron Man 2 kicks off comic-book mania next month, followed by Thor in early 2011, then Captain America and The Avengers. Since we’ve heard so much about Iron Man 2, Thor director Kenneth Branagh decided to open up to the LA Times about where his film is at in regards to production and what we can expect to see in theaters.

In Thor, Branagh is working with a mixed bag of actors that includes Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, and Chris Hemsworth.

“We’re in New Mexico now where we have a contemporary Earth part of our story. I guess we’re two-thirds of the way through the story and at this stage of the game what’s surprising and delighting me is the way the cast, the ensemble, has fused together. It’s kind of an interesting combination of very young and very experienced people and the double-up of that, it seems to me, is there is a lot of fire in the movie. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, it doesn’t try to be too solemn.”

It was a surprise to find out that the director of films such as Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, and Henry V would take on something in the comic book genre. But after reading what Branagh had to say about the film, you might notice that his previous work is a lot closer to Thor than you think.

“Inspired by the comic book world both pictorially and compositionally at once, we’ve tried to find a way to make a virtue and a celebration of the distinction between the worlds that exist in the film but absolutely make them live in the same world. It’s about finding the framing style, the color palette, finding the texture and the amount of camera movement that helps celebrate and express the differences and the distinctions in those worlds. If it succeeds, it will mark this film as different…. The combination of the primitive and the sophisticated, the ancient and the modern, I think that potentially is the exciting fusion, the exciting tension in the film.”

Branagh grew up loving Thor:

“Growing up, my single comic book passion was Thor. From my time in Belfast as a kid, that’s the first time I came across that comic, really, exclusively, I don’t know why, but it struck a chord. I was drawn to it. I liked all the dynastic drama.”

For those of you aren’t familiar with the character’s story, the film will center on a powerful yet arrogant warrior who ignites an ancient war. He falls to Earth (à la Hercules) and is forced to live among humans as a punishment. He then comes across some serious challenges while on earth when he faces the world’s most dangerous villain.

What do you think of Branagh’s vision for the film? Are you excited to see the outcome?