Monday, 4 November 2013

Thor: The Dark World

One year after the events of The Avengers, Thor battles to save the Nine Realms from a mysterious enemy older than the universe itself. A primeval race led by Malekith, who is out for revenge, intends to plunge the universe into darkness. Confronted by an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot overcome, Thor must reunite with Jane Foster and set out on a dangerous journey that will force him to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Directed by Alan Taylor, starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan SkarsgÄrd, Idris Elba, Christopher Eccleston, Zachary Levi and Anthony Hopkins.

Approx run time: 2 hours

Before I start the review, I need to make something clear: I really didn't rate Thor, the first movie in this superhero's franchise. Of all of the Marvel movies that were made to tie in with the amazing Avengers Assemble, Thor was my least favourite. Fortunately, the god-like hero's second solo outing is definitely an improvement - though I'm still not won over by his hammer-swinging antics.

As the movie started, all I could think of was Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings; Anthony Hopkins did the voice over as an old battle played out on screen. The Dark Elves had a powerful weapon, which we'll just refer to as the one ring, but they lost the battle, and rather than destroy the weapon it was hidden. So basically, the premise of the plot was like Sauron trying to find his ring so that he could rule the world or whatever. Enter Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, who suddenly and quite stupidly finds herself acting as the ring-bearer. Honestly, I wasn't particularly impressed with the overall plot because I felt like I'd seen it a hundred times before (Peter Jackson and Tolkein did it sooo much better).

The main man still didn't excite me particularly either; he was quite boring and so was his dialogue. He spent most of the movie pining after Jane and being all heroic etc - which was pretty standard. There was nothing, not even his hammer-throwing, to make him seem particularly exciting or to distinguish him from any other superhero.

For me, the movie shouldn't have been called Thor, it should have been called Loki, because the evil 'brother' completely stole the show. Tom Hiddleston gave us another superb performance as the sarcastic, evil illusionist. Loki had all the witty one-liners and stirred up the most excitement even though, for the majority of the film, he was in jail because of that thing that happened back in New York.

Comedy was the driving force of the movie; the script made references to other aspects of the Marvel franchise that was sure to satisfy the huge fan-base amassed after the Whedonesque-humour-filled Avengers Assemble. Erik Selvig was back after being brainwashed in New York and he was hugely entertaining, as was Darcy, Jane's intern assistant , who definitely had a bigger part this time around. Look out for some fun cameos too from Stan Lee, Chris Evans (Captain America) and Chris O'Dowd.

The visual effects were definitely another positive and were quite stunning with a great fight scene set in London's Greenwich and a touching lantern scene that reminded me a little bit of Disney's Tangled. But for all the great comedy and visual elements, the plot was lacking. While it had a better plot than the first movie, it was a weird mix of LOTR, Star Wars and Star Trek and just wasn't original enough to really satisfy me. It's saving grace was the final scene which left us confused, bewildered and impressed. 

Definitely not as entertaining as Iron Man 3, but a much better adventure for Thor than his previous film offered. And as a bonus, Chris Hemsworth is a beaut - even with a campish red cape on. 

Rating: ***