A review of “Thor – the Dark World” (no spoilers edition)

A review of “Thor – the Dark World” (no spoilers edition)

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});             The movie starts with a voice-over recounting an epic battle from ages past. The Lord of all things evil wants to take the world back to the darkness over which he rules. He takes a part of his dark essence and creates a tangible symbol of his power.
            Eventually he is defeated by the powers of good and his symbol is hidden through the ages.
            The symbol is found by a citizen of Middle Earth; a citizen who appears to be one of its weakest members but contains hidden strength. 
            The re-discovery of his symbol awakens the Dark Lord, who again masses all things evil into another pitched battle against the forces of good. Should good fail, the entire universe will be taken over by darkness… 
            But enough about “Lord of the Rings”, this is a review of “Thor, the Dark World”.
            Oh, wait, they both start out like that.
            In “Thor…” Sauron is called Malekith, played by former Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston, whose make-up is reminiscent of 2009’s “Star Trek” baddie Nero.  For a time during the show I thought it may have been the same actor. I doubted the producers would have been that dumb to cast the same actor in a similar role with identical make-up, though.
            Malekith the Accursed was created by the superb comic book writer/artist Walter Simonson. He received a byline deep into the closing credits. I hope Marvel managed to pry open its billion-dollar coffer to give him his complementary free ticket as thanks for the millions of dollars this movie will rake in with the help of his creation.
            The movie picks up where the last “Thor” movie and “The Avengers” left off. As is and will be the routine for these Marvel movies (and for Marvel Comics as well), these are shared-world movies – it is all interconnected. Events from one movie spill into the other movies. There is even a cameo/crossover to wonderful affect with a certain shield-slinging Avenger.
            The plot – after the battle at the end of the Second Age – er – the battle with Malekith, the One Ring – er – the Aether is discovered by Deagol – er – Jane Foster. It takes over her body and will eventually destroy her if a cure is not found.
            Just as had happened five thousand years ago during the first battle with Malekith, the Nine Worlds are converging. Physics will go awry and it will be easy to travel amongst the worlds.
            So Thor finds Jane and takes her to Asgard. Not coincidentally, Malekith invades Asgard to get back the Aether out of Miss Jane. Chaos ensues.
            Beating back the invasion is costly and Thor wants to take the battle to Malekith. Odin forbids it. So Thor, as any son would, sneaks behind his father’s back with the help of his friends and his imprisoned brother Loki.
            Meanwhile, Malekith travels to earth to begin the process that will envelope the universe in darkness. The Convergence will make this easier since, from Midgard, he will have access to all realms.
            Thor, Jane and her seemingly incompetent scientific team are all that stand in the way of the coming darkness.
           
            Chris Hemsworth does an excellent job in his third go-round as the Thunder God. I like him better here than in the first movie. It is nice seeing Thor at full power.
            Anthony Hopkins returns as the scene-chewing Odin –ever barking and snapping at his lines with his usual gusto. I love him as Odin and hoped he would have a bigger role in the battle scenes. Alas.
            We DO get to see Rene Russo as Thor’s mother Frigga kick some ass though.
            Idris Elba as Heimdall also as a bigger role here. I hope to see more of him in future movies.
            The aforesaid Eccleston as Malekith makes a very good villain, but there’s not much else for him to do other than thrust the Aether at Thor time and again. There’s not much motivation for him in this movie other than to “destroy the universe”. Yeah, get in line. There is a small bit about his wanting to avenge his people, but, ye gods (pardon the pun), his people started it. This isn’t about revenge – this is just a second go-round. Perhaps if we were to feel more empathy for a dying race Malekith would have been a bit more well-rounded as a villain.
            Jane’s compatriots return in this movie – Dr. Selvig still recovering from his role in helping Loki in “The Avengers” and Jane’s intern, the annoying Darcy (her comic relief is unnecessary; this is meant as to the character not the actress portraying her). And now Darcy has her own intern, an equally annoying and incompetent Britisher. Of course after all this comic relief we then have to take them seriously during the final battle. It baffles me that filmmakers think after two hours of laughing at these dolts we will suddenly accept their sudden conversion to adequacy.
            Loki is again played by Tom Hiddleston and as with both “Thor” and “The Avengers” he steals every scene his is in. Here is a villain whose motivations are as clear as they are complex – unlike Sauron or Malekith.  Throughout the film, until its very end, you have no idea whose side he is on.  Well, that’s not true – you know he is always on HIS side, but his alliances have so many twists and turns it keeps your attention during the movie.  Oh, and the aforementioned “get in line”? One of Loki’s best cracks in the film…
            And the movie keeps your attention. It’s not a great film – not as jaw-dropping as Thor’s last film appearance, but on par with the other Marvel movies to date (only the first “Iron Man” has yet to raise the same goose bumps as “The Avengers” did).
            The effects are smashing, pun intended. The faux-Shakespearian dialogue is still a hoot and Thor is easy to cheer on as he battles to save us all.
            It is worth waiting until after the first few minutes of credits (after an excellently-done cast roll call) to watch a set-up of either a future Thor or Avengers movie plot. The final scene after the rolling credits – where we learn the names of the grips and gaffers – is not as satisfying and is worth waiting until it is out of DVD or on-line viewing. It is not worth the dirty looks from the theater crew waiting for you to leave so they can sweep up your popcorn. There’s no Nick Fury asking Thor to join the Avengers; there’s no surprise guest-hero or guest-villain – the bit after the casting credits takes care of that.
            Good movie. Go see it in the theaters to get the whole effect of the vastness of the subject. Enjoy.
Copyright 2013 Michael G Curry

 

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3 thoughts on “A review of “Thor – the Dark World” (no spoilers edition)

  1. Good review, Mike. I kinda felt the same about the Red Skull portrayal in 'Captain America'; excellent actor (Hugo Weaving) & faithful enough take on Skull, but not a lot for him to do. Didn't quite gel for him. Hoping he'll return in a future film as he did in the comics with a meatier, more interesting plot for Cap/world domination. Agree that Hiddleston as Loki is the most impressive screen villain in many a celluloid era…endlessly watchable, unabashedly twisted, and making it all look like so darned much fun.

  2. I was tickled that Entertainment Weekly Columnist Dalton Ross also disliked the unnecessary (dare I say, “lame” secret coda at the end of the long, long credits. He even also mentions the ushers tapping their toes waiting for him to leave so they can sweep up. Popcorn in my case, Junior Mints in his case – that must be what separates the professional writers from amateurs like me, haha.

  3. Pingback: Some thoughts on Avengers: Age of Ultron | Currytakeaways

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