Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thor: The Dark World



The God of Thunder returns in a film that features his own world for most of the story. Everyone will discuss how much the movie needs more Loki, and they will be right but it has a variety of other surprises as well. I am a couple of weeks late in getting here but it is an entertaining film and I don't think there are big secrets out in the webs that would spoil it for anyone.

Four films in one day and I'm too tired and it is too late to complete all the reviews. I will fill in all of them this week.

Now I am finally catching up with the films from last weekend. I am planning on seeing some new things today and I don't want to be behind.  This is the simplest of the four films to review. If you liked "Thor", you should like this film. It keeps all the original elements in place and  lets the actors carry on with the parts that they have established. The only exception being Stellan Skarsgård, who's Erik Selvig gets turned into a figure for comic relief and as a consequence, is undermined when the weapon he has devised is brought into play. 

There was more Anthony Hopkins and Renee Russo in this film and that is an improvement from my point of view. Russo as Thor and Loki's mother gets a good dramatic story line and appears to fuel the temporary alliance of our two demi-god brothers.  It is not clear what the resolution for Odin's character means, it was not very clearly explained but that will probably be the basis of the next stand alone Thor movie. It looks for all intents and purposes as if Marvel has managed to succeed in making the films work as part of a collective universe but also maintain their stand alone story lines. I did not feel impressed with the "Dark Elf" antagonists in the film. They were satisfactory but largely cardboard cutouts. Loki remains the key ingredient in making this story of conflicted Prince of Asgard Thor work. 

The movie is much grander than the original film. It features more action in Asgard and other spots in the Universe, as well as more interesting locations on Earth than the desert town found in the first movie. I actually found Natalie Portman to be less annoying in this film as well. She seems to have lightened up a bit about working in a comic book story and that makes the film feel less like it is reaching for grandness and more like it is trying to entertain us.  Tom Hiddleston steals the movie as everybody expected to happen. He plays Loki just right, so at times we can believe him and then at just the right moment, his voice changes, his eyes gleem and we know that we have been suckered in by a trickster. There is a fleeting cameo that got a big laugh in the film and it worked completely for me because it features a character that I like better than almost all the other characters in this Universe. 

So, the movie is big and loud. It has some spectacular set pieces and there are a number of good laughs. None of the material will surprise you or elevate the movie above it's comic book roots but it will please fans and entertain those who have enough patience with some simplistic story telling. There is plenty of eye candy for the female fans, both Chris Helmsworth and his chiseled look and Tom Hiddleston and his dark eyes will make many fans want a return to the land of the gods in the nine realms. Go and have fun, there will be a new comic book movie in the spring, this one will tide you over until then.  

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