Review - Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Guest Reviewer - Matt Hull
Twitter - @ApolloCandy
Director - Alan Taylor
Cast - Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Christopher Eccleston, Kat Dennings, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, Rene Russo.
Certificate - 12A
Thor: The Dark World is the second Thor movie and the second in Phase 2 of Marvels Avengers series. A comedic fantasy/sci-fi hybrid that keeps in line with previous films to allow monumental efforts of Marvel to produce a series of connected, yet separate, films.
When we meet Thor (Chris Hemsworth) again the 9 Realms are in disarray. Thor and the Warriors Three are tasked with bringing peace and are on the cusp of it when an ancient evil is awakened. The Dark Elves are a race of Elves who were in existence before the universe came to be. With the help of The Convergence, when the 9 Realms align once very 5000 years, and the Aether, a sort of anti-matter, they want to destroy the 9 Realms. Which brings us to Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and her crew of scientists on earth. Jane has almost given up the hunt for Thor 2 years after having last seen him and Eric Selvig (Stellan Skasgard) has gone missing. She’s on a date when she’s interrupted by Darcy, (Kat Dennings), telling her of the anomalies in physics, leading them to the Aether without them knowing and bringing Thor and Janes lives together again.
Much has been some fuss made in the media about whether Natalie Portman actually wanted to be in this film, since one of the reasons for her to sign on was due to Patty Jenkins being given the directing role, who was then fired and replaced by Alan Taylor. If there was any bad blood on set it isn’t evident in the film. Natalie Portman is as much of a delight as she was in the first film, effortlessly bringing charm and wonder to the role of a woman transported to another world. Her chemistry with Chris Hemsworth is more established in the film than the first and Chris Hemsworth shows us again why he is becoming the star that he is. He commands the screen in a way that recent young actors helming big blockbusters (Sam Worthington, Taylor Kitsch) simply cannot. In both the physical and in dialogue scenes, he rules the screen like a King.
The film shifts the focus from earth and takes us to various other realms, giving us a much bigger scope over the first film. We spend a lot of our time in Asgard this time, which is good news for most of the cast. Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba and especially Rene Russo get much bigger roles, often getting in on the action and beefed up conversations. Although strangely one of the aspects I thought worked well in the first film, The Warriors Three, appears briefly with much less dialog. Hogun Appears on screen twice and isn’t actually seen in Asgard, an answer I expect lies on the cutting room floor.
Which leads me to what I feel is the only real fault with the film. The editing. There have been rumours that director Alan Taylor made a 150 minute cut of the film, but was then asked by Marvel to cut it down to 2 hours. Eventually the film has ended up at 105 minutes long (Not including credits) and some peoples story lines feel weak because of it. Unfortunately one of the best aspects of the film suffers because of this. Christopher Ecclestons Dark Elf Malekith is a man without much motive or history. We know their overall plan is the destruction of the 9 realms, but there doesn’t appear to be much reasoning for it. After having such a great villain in Loki for two movies, its a shame to move onto someone without much of a motive or a backstory.
Thats not to say that Eccleston is bad. He excels in the role, still visibly him underneath make up and talking in a made up language, you do feel a righteous conviction from this character and he is truly menacing, especially when coupled with his sidekick Kurse, a (not exactly explained how) transformed Dark Elf played by Adewale Akinnuoya-Agbaje. A devoted servant who will go into the most dangerous situations to serve his master. The Dark Elf army themselves don’t have much personality beyond the main two, but their technology and design brilliantly realised, giving off a strong Star Wars vibe, especially during an ariel assault midway through the film.
Game Of Thrones director Alan Taylor does an impeccable job with his first big budget film. Clearly his work on the show has influenced the movie a lot in the design stages. I was worried that Asgard would change too much with a new director, as Alfonso Cuaron did with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, but it still looks the same, just with a grungier tone to it. We get to see a lot of Asgard this time, many new locations which are all beautifully designed and in keeping with the first. The only major difference i found was with the soundtrack. The main theme by Brian Taylor isn’t as rousing as Patrick Doyles and the quieter scenes can’t hold a candle to tracks such as Lokis Lie or Can You See Jane form the first film.
Of course you cannot talk about Thor without talking about Loki and Tom Hiddleston. Just as Hemsworth does with Thor, Hiddleston becomes Loki with ease. This is the third time now that the two have played the roles together and they gel incredibly. Loki spends the majority of this film sitting in a prison cell, but still manages to exude a sense of power and manipulation. Some might say that he is underused, but I would prefer that to being overused. Tom Hiddleston has become a very popular actor, which normally means film makers try to work their most popular character in to films too much. Alan Taylor and the writers have found a way to have some sort of balance, yet bring more to the character than just a prisoner in a cell, mostly due to the contact with his mother. Loki is a very tragic character and you always feel a that there is a big redemption move coming from him towards the end of Thors story.
The comedy is still there from the first film, and is possibly even funnier. Unfortunately some of these comedy beats come at inappropriate times such as after a big death and during the final battle. It does help keep the film lighthearted though, but some consideration into how you want the tone of the scene to play out to the audience wouldn’t have gone amiss. There are also three funny cameos, one seen in pictures and clips, one as expected from Stan Lee, but there is a third you don’t want spoiled for you.
It may be the seventh in the series, but it shows no sign of slowing down where other franchises have failed. As with all Marvel films, stay after the credits for a surprise! Twice! Bring on The Avengers 2 and Thor 3.
Rated - 4/5 Bags of Salted Popcorn
Check out the trailer here - http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4KTvjFGgGkk