I Saw A Film Today… Thor: The Dark World
As I look back on my review of Thor, and having re-watched it recently as well, I’ve come to realize I was very generous by giving the film a “See it!” pass. It is a really mediocre effort from Marvel in reality. It has an uneven plot, alright action, and sporadic pacing that makes it a rather lame flick. Granted, most of the special effects and casting are rather spot on, but not much else really delivers like other films offered in the so-called “phase one”. So expectations weren’t the highest going into it. To say I was surprised by the end result though would be an understatement.
Two years from where the first film left off, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been a busy little Asgardian prince. He and the Warrior Three have been restoring peace throughout the nine realms and after many battles, have accomplished their task. Time to clean up and head home, right?
Well, this is a Marvel film, so some city needs to be excessively destroyed. Why not London, where Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), Darcy (Kat Dennings), and the unhinged Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) are researching anomalies that are linked with the nine realms aligning. Then an ancient race of elves hellbent of destroying the realms begin attacking and all kinds of chaos breaks loose.
Much to my surprise, The Dark World may be one of my favorite films Marvel has made in the last few years. Sure, it is mostly mindless action and many times the plot is fairly predictable, but the film remains light enough to make a pleasantly entertaining film. Some of the side gags are a little unnecessary at times but ultimately they lend to the charm of the film.
The action sequences are nothing original here and at times are somewhat silly. Most are what you’ve come to expect in recent years, Slow motion moments of masculinity followed by Thor actually throwing the hammer down. The visual effects aren’t much different from any of the other either, but regardless they are very enjoyable to watch. Although I do suggest skipping it in 3-D. Much like 98% of the films released this year in the medium (Pacific Rim and World War Z are the exceptions), it is unnecessary and adds little to nothing to the experience.
The next two paragraphs may slip slightly into spoiler territory. So fairly thee warned.
One thing that I’ve come to find most annoying about Marvel releases in the last few years is the romanticizing of the villain, and the best example I can thing of is Loki. In the comics, Loki is evil. Plain, simple. Yet the common trend recently is to make fans more sympathetic towards the villain. Enough so that fandoms and other individuals can cheer for them and take their side. In this film, Loki dies… in the arms of his teary-eyed brother as he draws the final breath from his body. But then he appears at the end (shocker, I know), and the fandoms and fans rejoice, knowing that ridiculously adorable murderous trickster will continue doing the baddie game.
This subject of the modern role of heroes and villains was discussed extensively this weekend at a local comic con and there is a lot more to discuss. More so than this review can delve into. Maybe an article in the future can open up a discussion. Regardless, we’re moving on reluctantly.
The casting in the two Thor films are a pretty impressive choice. Chris Hemsworth is spot-on, giving a depth to this character that was missing from the previous film and The Avengers. On the opposite side, Tom Hiddleston is brilliant and crafty as Loki, which makes what I brought up in the previous paragraphs all the more annoying. Anthony Hopkins is enjoyable in a cheesy type of way. He’s half Shakespearean, half Games of Thrones. The supporting cast is great just as well. Maybe the greatest achievement of this film is giving each person more depth.
With all it’s minor falters, Thor: The Dark World delivers a Marvel film in the best possible way.
* Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content. 112 minutes. Directed by Alan Taylor (Palookaville, Kill the Poor).
** Poster by Doaly.
*** Thanks to mi hombre Cody for seeing this with me.