US Release Date: 11-08-2013
Directed by: Alan Taylor
- Chris Hemsworth, as
- Natalie Portman, as
- Jane Foster
- Tom Hiddleston, as
- Anthony Hopkins, as
- Christopher Eccleston, as
- Jaimie Alexander, as
- Zachary Levi, as
- Ray Stevenson, as
- Tadanobu Asano, as
- Idris Elba, as
- Rene Russo, as
- Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, as
- Algrim / Kurse
- Kat Dennings, as
- Darcy Lewis
- Stellan Skarsgard, as
- Erik Selvig
- Alice Krige, as
- Jonathan Howard, as
- Ian Boothby
- Chris O'Dowd, as
- Stan Lee, as
- Benicio Del Toro, as
- The Collector
- Chris Evans as
- Captain America
Chris Hemsworth in Thor: The Dark World.
Thor: The Dark World is more of the same. If you enjoyed the first Thor this one should do the trick too, despite its lacking in originality and featuring some rather bland special effects. Also like the first movie it vacillates between a self-aware campiness and taking itself too seriously. Personally I would prefer it if they really let loose and upped the humorous side. I mean just look at the titular character. How can you take him seriously? He looks like he was created by Tom of Finland (see photo).
Anyway, thousands of years ago there was a battle over the universe between the army of Odin's father Bor and a race known as the Dark Elves, led by Malekith. The dastardly Malekith wanted to bring darkness to the universe using a mysterious substance called Aether (pronounced ether). Of course the forces of Asgard were triumphant, the Dark Elves were killed (or were they?) and the Aether destroyed (or was it?). It's a prologue that looks and sounds suspiciously similar to the back story in Lord of the Rings.
Cut to modern day Asgard and Earth where these ancient forces of evil are about to re-emerge. It will take the combined might of Asgard and Earth to defeat them - after several big CGI battles naturally. These CGI battles have a sameness about them after a while. All you can do is just sit back and let them wash over you.
Meanwhile Thor and the boring Jane Foster continue their unfathomable romance. I still don't get what this amazingly powerful, near-immortal sees in the dull, bookworm scientist. Well they do say opposites attract, and in the brains department these two are about as far apart as you can get. Clearly Loki got the smarts in that family.
There is some humor here. Most of it provided by the supporting cast. Stellan Skarsgård as Dr. Erik Selvig strips naked and runs amok at Stonehenge (don't worry, his naughty bits are blurred). Kat Dennings and Jonathan Howard bring some humor as interns who fall for each other. Their big kissing scene provided one of the biggest laughs. I like the fish-out-of-water moments with Thor on Earth, but like in the first movie they fail to take full advantage of the possibilities. One of my favorite moments was when, upon entering an apartment, Thor gently hangs his hammer from a coat hook. It's a nice touch that was reportedly improvised by Chris Hemsworth.
Let's be honest, superhero movies are pretty much critic proof. I can only say whether or not I found it to be entertaining. My honest opinion of Thor: The Dark World is that it's solidly mediocre.
Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth in Thor: The Dark World.
Jane may be a trifle boring, but she does still look like Natalie Portman, so it's not that hard to imagine what Thor would see in her. Although you might think that someone with the strength and build of a Norse God might want someone a little sturdier to roll around with. Jane hardly seems strong enough to handle Thor's hammer. And in terms of being boring, she's hardly more boring than Thor himself, who is one of the least subtle and least interesting superheroes ever written. He and Jane can go off and have dull, but attractive babies together.
As Patrick wrote, this is a series that desperately needs more humor. The action off of Earth looks and sounds as though it were written for a video game and generates as much emotion as you'd find in one. The dialogue is hammy and sounds about as authentic as a bad game of Dungeons and Dragons. Not even Anthony Hopkins' rich speaking voice can give them feeling. He sounds as though he's hamming it up just as badly as the other actors, only with a posher accent. Only Tom Hiddleston as Loki brings the right pitch to his performance, walking the line between tongue-in-cheek and full-on camp. He's far more interesting than either Thor or Malekith.
On Earth, the story picks up a touch of life. The supporting cast provides some humor and Thor is much more entertaining when he's a fish out of water rather than when he's in his element. Kat Dennings and Stellan Skarsgard bring a warmth, humor and charisma to their small parts and do their best to breathe life into the movie.
Despite a couple of "deaths", the movie never manages to generate any emotion. The special effects are impressive, but so are every movie's these days. And no matter how good they are, they can't replace good writing or generate feeling. Instead of distracting from the fact that this isn't a good movie, they merely emphasize the fact they're almost all the film has going for it.
Echoing Patrick, if you enjoyed the first Thor, you'll probably like this one. As for me, I was never a fan of the original and this sequel did nothing to change my opinion.
Kat Dennings and Jonathan Howard as Darcy and Ian are far more entertaining than a hot scientist and a (not) Norse God.
The first Thor movie was unexceptional, while Thor: The Dark World is even less so. An ancient evil power called Aether awakens a nearly as old pasty faced elf with desires of dimensional domination. You know, just because. None of those scenes are even necessary as Odin repeats the story to Thor and Jane Foster later on.
With a billion people on Earth, it is coincidentally Jane Foster who becomes infected by the Aether for some unexplained reason. Chris Hemsworth has a shirtless scene just to show off. Stellan Skargard has a nude scene in a desperate attempt at a laugh. We first see Thor in an action scene that is played more for laughs than tension but ends up being neither.
As my brothers wrote, the best moments are on Earth. Those were the most entertaining scenes of the first film and I hoped for more of the same. However, what humor there was in the first film is just not here. The only glimmer we see is the moment Patrick mentioned with Thor’s Hammer.
Patrick also wrote that the supporting characters provide some humor and I will go so far as to add that Darcy and Ian steal every scene they appear in. They have far more charm and make a much better couple than Thor and Jane. They may lack Jane’s intellect and Thor’s power but they more than make up for it in charisma.
The only other person striking the right notes is Tom Hiddleston playing Loki. As Scott wrote, he is the only one on Asgard who seems to get his role. He is playing a jealous, vindictive prince with amazing powers and a chip the size of Norway on his shoulder. He is far more fascinating than Thor the bore.
In his review for Thor (2011), Scot wrote of, “…the obvious casting of the gods to include as many nationalities as possible...” It may have been the politically correct thing to do but Odin, Thor and company is based on Scandinavian mythology. Casting anyone non-Caucasian as a citizen of Asgard is like having Ron Howard portraying Malcolm X.
Another thing that confused me about Asgard is the military weapons. All of the soldiers are seen using swords and shields. However, they and their enemies have laser type cannons and guns. How stupid is Odin that he arms his men with sharp pieces of metal when laser guns are available. He arms his men like ancient Roman legionnaires instead of taking advantage of all the scientific advancement going on around him. No wonder Asgard keeps getting attacked. It has one of the narrowest minded leaders who ever existed.
In fact, if you think about it, Odin is the cause of most of the problems. He is horrible at military tactics. All of his enemies come back again. His sons are nothing to brag about. Thor is arrogant, hard headed, disobedient and not very bright. Loki is far smarter than Thor but had Odin raised his sons with a bit more equality, Loki may have not grown up to be such a backstabbing snake. Why could they not both been king? Odin set them up to not get along. This all powerful leader could not even protect his wife.
As Asgard makes less sense than a Twilight film; Thor’s time there, in any future movie, should be extremely limited. It is only when he has to deal with Earthlings that he has any charm to speak of. I also hope they keep Ian around so he and Darcy can further help to lighten up this horribly bland superhero franchise.
Photos © Copyright Marvel EntertainmentMarvel Studios (2013)