Thor: The Dark World Review
By Alec R. Lee
It’s James Hun- I mean, Thor! (can we edit that out?)
So the second movie in Marvel’s Phase Two has finally arrived. So, how does it stack up against the original. In my professional amateur opinion, it’s better than the first. I’m being serious on that one. I found the first Thor movie to be entertaining but nothing spectacular or “wow” inducing such as Iron Man. Thor: The Dark World takes the whole concept to a new level. There is less emphasis on the fantasy aspects that the first movie touched on and instead is treated as a science fiction film. There are interstellar conflicts, crazy science, and hot chicks. It feels like Marvel is trying to sell the concept of superheroes in space before they unveil Guardians of the Galaxy (still no trailer for that yet).
This movie was directed by Alan Taylor, a veteran of many HBO productions including a few episodes of Game of Thrones. You can tell that he did exert some influence on the film’s look, particularly in the battle scenes. The fights in this movie are freaking fantastic. There is a perfect balance of CGI and live-action to sell each shot. Considering that the biggest battle in Thor amounted to a mere skirmish in the desert, Thor 2 (I’m just gonna call it that) starts out in the middle of a battle (after a short exposition reel). There are several of these fights but they are paced just right that you don’t feel overwhelmed by the destruction going on. And on top of that, Brian Tyler’s heroic score really sells the film too, creating a simple yet powerful theme for the titular hero. I’m not much of a Tyler fan myself but his soundtrack here is definitely worth a listen.
The plot of the story is simple. In Thor’s universe, there exists an evil race known as Dark Elves who want to take over everything (of course!) and they had a weapon called the Aether that was designed to bring absolute power to its holder. However, in the past, the Dark Elves were defeated in combat and the Aether was taken from them. Cut to the present when the alignment of the Realms is upending the laws of physics in London. This seems to be only limited to certain objects levitating and portals appearing that can transport objects between Realms (but no GLaDOS). Thor’s love interest, Jane Foster, finds the Aether through one of these portals and naturally, this attracts the attention of both the Dark Elves and Thor and an intergalactic war begins.
I would have to say that although the tone of the film takes its premise quite seriously, there are multiple scenes that elicit the humor from The Avengers. This film is quite funny, believe it or not. And a few cameos didn’t hurt, either (Stan Lee and possibly others?). I can say that the overall outcome of the film is entirely predictable to a fault, but there were quite a few twists and turns that had my mouth gaping open for a couple scenes (they did play their hand a bit too early for a pivotal moment, but I shan’t say more). The CGI is also crisp and unique, although there is one scene where an effect depicting the Aether looks terrible, and I mean terrible. I will point out that the final fight is both epic and a lot of fun with the use of several portals to create hi-jinks throughout, which should banish the need for a Portal movie from your brain for at least a few months.
The cast does a good job as well. Chris Hemsworth is charming as usual as Thor. Tom Hiddleston is still a delight as Loki, who even gets some character development in this film, which was really good to see. Natalie Portman is…..hot. (The romance between her and Thor not quite so natural though…..) Then you have the rest of the supporting characters doing well with the material. Anthony Hopkins brings his usual gravitas as Odin. Idris Elba is awesome as Hemdall. And it’s always nice to see Rene Russo on the screen since her break from acting. I will say that Christopher Eccleston as the villain, Maleketh, is extremely flat and forgettable. As good as the movie is, he is the one weak link (by the writing, not the acting, I must clarify).
This film exceeded my expectations on what a Thor movie could be like. If you have the slightest interest in seeing The Avengers 2 when it comes out, you need to stop reading this and go to the theatres! It’s not like anyone reads these anyway! Go now!
Oh, and stay for the end credits sequences! (there are two of them)
Final score: 85/100