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Thor: The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World

What She said:

She

Hey fanboys, quit complaining and acting like Thor: The Dark World is some great insult to the Marvel enterprise.  First of all, none of the Marvel movies are groundbreaking cinema classics.  Some are really, really good, but let’s not pretend that the Academy is going out of their way to recognize the studio.  And secondly, and I know you’re going to be all insulted by this, but Marvel/Disney are not making these movies to do justice to the comic book series that they portray—they’re doing it to make money off of you.  Thus, it should be all but expected that after all the great commercial success of The Avengers, the Iron Man movies, and the first Thor, these new films may become a little generic.  Granted, Thor: The Dark World could have been better, more introspective, but it’s clear that this film is aimed at the masses, and, unfortunately, we’re at a point where it needs to be taken at face value.  What we have here is a fairly generic, sometimes funny action/fantasy flick that exploits Chris Hemsworth’s blonde locks and chiseled physique.

Let’s talk plot.  It’s years after the original Thor, and we join some wars in progress.  Thor has been fighting across the Nine Realms to restore peace, and that means that he hasn’t been touching base with his girly, Jane Foster.  Just as Thor thinks things are finally about to calm down, some evil peeps known as the Dark Elves, led by Malikith, return from some sort of hypersleep in pursuit of the Aether, which holds infinite power and will enable them to destroy Asgard, Earth, and the rest of the Universe.  It’s actually Jane who has unleashed the Aether as she was searching for a portal through to Thor.  It possesses her at some point, and Thor needs to figure out how to get it out of her before Malikith kills her to get it.  Thor relies on his friends and the imprisoned Loki to try to safely get rid of the Aether and stop Malikith or else he will extinguish untold lives.  So, you can expect lots of fighting, some key characters dying, and Loki being Loki.

Thor: The Dark World

For you action junkies, you surely will not be disappointed.  This film boasts plenty of fighting and very good special effects to make it all seem real.  The scenes jump around from location to location—Asgard, Svartalfheim, and Earth.  At one point, as the Realms align, they literally zip from planet to planet seamlessly while fighting.  That’s pretty impressive.  But all this action can be a little, well, stupid, and I think that’s where some people are getting upset.  I’ll stop short of pointing out any glaring plot holes, but there are definitely elements of the plot that are glossed over or a little too neatly tied up.  There are also elements that are just a little silly—Darcy Lewis appears to be a lifelong unpaid intern, despite being a political science major, Dr. Erik Selvig seems to have gone nuts, which I guess is justified, but he turns into a full on buffoon, and even Thor himself, while smart at times, comes off as a meathead at others, particularly when challenged by Loki.

As with the original Thor, my favorite parts of this movie take place on planet Earth.  It’s just fun to watch Thor try to deal with the human way of life.  Honestly, I found many of the scenes that take place on Asgard to be a little boring. The world, while visually appealing, is somewhat stale compared to other locations within the movie.  Not a huge shocker, but the most interesting elements of this movie also had to do with Loki, who, if they do choose to not bring him back in the future, will be a loss for the franchise.  His character, being slightly peripheral, is really the only one who has a real degree of depth to him.  It’s interesting to try to read his mind and predict his next move.  

There was certainly opportunity for the film to dig deeper with other characters.  I think of Malikith, Odin, Thor, Jane, and Heimdall in particular.  But I think all of that was glossed over for the sake of time.  You see, a lot happens in just two hours.  The film could have benefitted from a speedier introduction so that the bulk of the story could be explored more deeply during the meat of the film.  But it seemed like it took a little bit of time for things to really get rolling with Thor:  The Dark World.  

Thor: The Dark World

Now, let’s talk about why I didn’t mind this movie, and actually liked it.  1.) It was a decent popcorn flick.  Sure, there were missed opportunities, but there was nothing offensively wrong with the film when taken at face value, and there was a decent amount of humor, which helped to carry this movie.  2.) It still served the purpose of helping to pave the way for the next Avengers film, and isn’t that what these lesser movies are all about?  3.) As a heterosexual female, I cannot pretend that I wasn’t thrilled by the obvious showboating of Thor’s redonk body.  It’s just plain fun to watch.

I think the acting in this film is actually quite solid—if only these talents were given a little more to work with.  Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Kat Dennings, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, and Christopher Eccleston (as Malikith) were all pretty good.  I enjoyed Eccleston as the ninth incarnation of the Doctor, and really wished we could have seen him stretch his talent further as Malikith.

I definitely enjoyed the first Thor movie more, but I did not hate this film, and clearly was not as bothered by it as many others out there.  I think y’all need to take a chill pill and just take it for what it is.  Thor: The Dark World was not as bad as Iron Man 3 in my book, so at least it’s got that going for it.  And hey, neither one of them are as awful as that 2007 bomb, Spider-Man 3.

Thumbs mostly up.

Thor: The Dark World

What He said:

He

Thousands of years ago Odin’s father, and Thor’s grandfather, Bor, battled with a race of beings called the Dark Elves. They are led by Malekith (Christopher Eccleston). Their goal is to destroy the Nine Realms (planets with human-life life on them) and return the universe to its previous state: darkness. If I understood correctly they are some of the oldest – if not the oldest – beings in existence and were born from the darkness that was the universe before the “birth” of the planets and life as we know it. They are the original bad guys in a way. So anyway, Thor’s grandpop defeats them, but not before their Malekith can escape with a group of elves, which includes his right-hand man Algrim.

Fast-forward to the present day and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and his sidekicks are busy trying to keep the peace across the Nine Realms. You see, after the Bifrost was destroyed at the end of the first movie, the other planets descended into chaos. The Asgardians are sort of the peacekeepers of the universe and without them being able to travel to the other realms, people took advantage of that. It is because of this that Thor has not been back to Earth. This doesn’t go unnoticed by his gal-pal Jane Foster. Jane (Natalie Portman) hasn’t stopped thinking about Thor since she met the big blond stud two years ago, but she doesn’t know he’s out fighting evil all over the universe. It also doesn’t help that she saw him in New York – during the events of The Avengers – fighting against his brother Loki and his army. That doesn’t stop her from wanting to see the big guy though. She might be a little mad at him, but how long can you stay mad at the God of Thunder? When she discovers a rare phenomenon happening on Earth, she thinks it is an opportunity to find Thor.

It’s actually related to what Malekith was trying to do thousands of years before. It’s an even called the Convergence. Essentially, the Nine Realms will align, and parts of each world will “overlap” with one another. It is at this moment Malekith plans to use his ultimate weapon to annihilate all the realms at once. Oh yeah, and Jane inadvertently becomes a vessel for Malekith’s weapon. It’s a type of energy and when she accidentally releases it from its “prison” it jumps into her body. This puts her on Malekith’s radar, which is where Thor becomes involved.

Malekith launches a surprise attack against Asgard in an attempt to kidnap Jane. You see, the Asgardians thought the Dark Elves all perish in the battle against Granpop Bor. Malekith had been hiding for millennia and had recently reemerged for the first time since then, so they caught Asgard off-guard, and bust them up pretty good in the process.

Thor: The Dark World

Thor then sets out on a quest to put an end to Malekith’s reign of terror once and for all. I should also mention his adopted brother Loki is brought along for help. Thor doesn’t trust Loki (Tom Hiddleston), but he also knows his brother’s magic is some of the most powerful on all of Asgard. Only Odin’s magic is stronger, but Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is slowing down, and also doesn’t agree with Thor’s plan to go after Malkith. So, Thor breaks his brother out of prison and heads off after Malekith.

I was really looking forward to this one. I really enjoyed the first Thor quite a bit and thought the previews for this one looked solid. I wasn’t disappointed.

One of the first thing that stood out to me was the expansion of Asgard and the other Nine Realms. We got to see a little more of all of them and I enjoyed that. Asgard is a combination of something out of a mythological fantasy and a science fiction movie, but blended in a way that doesn’t feel odd or conflicting. The Asgardians dress and live like ancient gods. They carry swords, shields, and spears, but also have highly advanced technology.

For an action/adventure movie, the acting is actually pretty damn good. It has a Shakespearian quality to it. Anthony Hopkins and Rene Russo really bring it home as Thor’s parents and the leaders of Asgard. They have a very wise, noble, and sometimes arrogant quality (Odin in particular) to them. They’re definitely the mother and father of the movie. Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston own Thor and Loki respectively. Thor is one of the strongest warriors on Asgard. He’s brave, a good leader, and kicks major ass. Loki is as sneaky as ever and it’s a delight to watch Hiddleston play this character. I won’t say I’m rooting for him, but he’s certainly entertaining to watch. Loki always has some trick up his sleeve.

The supporting cast was pretty solid too. I enjoyed seeing a little more from Idris Ilba’s character Heimdall. You kind of always suspected he’s a bad-ass, but you get to see him in action a little more in this movie. He’s arguably one of the strongest beings on Asgard. He just comes off as very old, wise, and powerful. Natalie Portman is great as Thor’s love interest Jane too. She’s a great leading lady. She’s funny, smart, useful, and good looking. She’s both a damsel in distress and a useful ally. She’s a physicist and is often able to help with the stuff Thor doesn’t understand. It’s nice to see a useful leading lady.

Some of the humor fell flat, but overall I thought the movie retained much of the humor from the first movie. Stellan Skarsgard plays Dr. Erik Selving, who was Jane’s mentor, until Loki really screwed him up when he made him one of his minions in The Avengers. He’s kind of nuts now and his scenes were pretty funny. They took the character in a more comedic direction, but it worked for me. Kat Dennings continues to offer some sassy one-liners as Jane’s right-hand gal, Darcy. Some of her jokes are a little weak, but overall I think the performance is pretty amusing.

The action was great in this movie. Thor has a few good fights. He faces off against both Malekith and his lieutenant Algrim; who is one mean MFer. The makeup and costume for that character were simply awesome.

The only complaint I had about the movie was I wouldn’t have minded a little more buildup. I love a good action movie – and this one is certainly entertaining – but sometimes the movie feels like it movies a little fast. I love the action sequences, but they’re also a little quick at times, and it makes the movie move a little fast at times. The movie is under two hours, so it’s not like they were in danger of running too long. Overall though, it’s a fun popcorn movie and a solid addition to the Marvel Movie Universe.  

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on November 14, 2013.

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