Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thor: The Dark World Review

Overall, I really enjoyed the experience seeing Thor: The Dark World. It is a lot more “Star Wars-y” than I would ever expect from a Thor film, though. There are a couple sequences on an alien (dark elf) spaceship that felt like they came straight out of the rebooted Star Trek franchise. And the battle for Asgard involves elf fighters and spaceship versions of Viking longboats. I had to laugh in the theater, the sound effects and feel of the whole sequence was like Empire Strikes Back or Chronicles of Riddick.

Chris Hemsworth clearly enjoys the role, and watching him strut confidently around the screen is a joy. The ladies want to be with him, the men want to be him. As a big fan of female heroes, I wish Jaimie Alexander’s Lady Sif did more than give sidelong glances in between butt-kickings. She has so much potential. Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster is a walking plot device. She does what she can, but she spends so much time being moved around the board as a living MacGuffin that when she finally has an impact on the story, it felt like too little too late. I am also fully convinced that Marvel Comics needs to find a way to get Idris Elba’s Heimdall into the comics. He goes from an afterthought to a supporting character with potential with nothing but Elba’s gravitas.

Stealing the show, once again, is Tom Hiddleston as Loki. Honestly, how is it not a problem that the “villain” of the Marvel U has the most charisma out of any of the leads? Whenever Loki is on screen, the sense of humor involved goes up, but the dramatic weight of the scene doesn’t suffer for it. Thinking back on the film, almost every highlight involves the trickster son of Asgard.

As for the villains, they don’t hold up as well as the other Marvel movies. I think Christopher Eccleston tried his best, but he can’t act his way out of that much makeup. Malekith the Dark Elf is never more than a generic big bad with vague motivations. He has a few lines of dialogue that briefly raise the stakes, but not as many as Tom Hardy’s Bane from the Bat franchise. It takes a lot of good lines to raise a villain’s personality through masks and prosthetics. I have no problem with the inclusion of Kurse. There were enough nods to the comic to make the villain feel familiar, and Kurse is also the source of the most “comic-booky” moments of the film. Tell me you didn’t smile when he picked up that enormous boulder and tossed it at Thor. Physics be damned!

Perhaps I sound too down on this; it is a fun movie, filled with whimsy and action. Alan Taylor clearly has affection for the comic source material, and the feeling of adventure and excitement that permeate the film are hard to resist.  It is a tad long, and a tad too space opera, but if you want to see super-heroes banging ancient weapons off each other, this movie hits the spot.

Thor is GOOD!

(And other than the previews, pretty kid-appropriate too. My 8-year-old loved it.)

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