The first installment of a superhero series always has it quite easy. It’s usually a fish-out-of-water tale with a regular guy getting some superhero powers, figuring out how to use those powers and saving the world from some raving lunatic.
What makes the first flick a success is the casting and acting over the story. Get the right person in the role (Iron Man and Robert Downey Jr. come to mind), and the fans will keep coming back for more. It’s the sequel where things start to get dicey.
Thor: The Dark World is knee-deep in dicey-ness. But for those going through superhero movie withdrawals, this will entertain until the next must-see movie comes out. For everyone else, I’d consider skipping this one and waiting for the (hopefully good) Hunger Games sequel to come out.
The Dark World picks things up where The Avengers left off. In The Avengers, when the Tesser-act is stolen by the evil Loki (Tom Hid-dle-ston), head of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury calls in as-sist-ance from a team he has dubbed the Avengers: Iron Man, The In-cred-ible Hulk, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Cap-tain Amer-ica to take down Loki.
Loki’s got more than a passing connection to Thor: he’s his adoptive brother. Back on their home planet of Arsgard for The Dark World, this time the enemy is Malekith (an unrecognizable Christopher Eccleston). Malekith is the leader of the Dark Elves, a group of weird-looking folks who speak in a language that we need subtitles to read. Loki has been imprisoned for his crimes in The Avengers, but Thor needs Loki’s help to take down Malekith and his army who want to destroy the world using something called the Aether.
Hiddleston’s the reason to watch here. He’s clearly having a lot of fun with the role, but I would have liked to see more of his trickery and treachery. Hemsworth’s easy on the eyes for sure, but still a little wooden.
The Dark World is directed by Alan Taylor, who doesn’t quite have Kenneth Branaugh’s (director of the first Thor) Shakespearian touch. Aside from a few humorous scenes, The Dark World is almost all non-stop action. More action than the first movie means things never really stop to slow down, and that’s a good thing because it kept my attention. In that way, this Thor is better than the first flick, which didn’t have as much action.
Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster is still the apple of Thor’s eye. She’s been wondering why Thor disappeared, but she welcomes him back in her life after he spouts some (admittedly valid) excuses about saving the Nine Realms. Jane has more to do this time, but still manages to be forgettable (both the actress and the character). Portman is a great actress, and I yearn to see her in more movies like The Professional, V for Vendetta or Black Swan. Thor just seems like an easy paycheck. Jane Foster is no Lois Lane or Mary Jane Watson. She’s lacking the heat with Thor that makes me not really care about a romance between them.
Thor is more appealing alongside the other Avengers. As a standalone character, I am not all that interested in his story. Maybe it’s one of those stories you already need to be invested in through having read the comic books. ••
Movie Grade: B