Community Spotlight: “Thor: The Dark World” (2013) Review by Papa Kenn

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[box_light]“Thor: The Dark World”
Director: Alan Taylor
Writers: (screenplay) Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, (story) Don Payne, Robert Rodat, (comic book) Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston, Jaimie Alexander, Zachary Levi, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Idris Elba, Rene Russo, Kat Dennings[/box_light]

 

When it was first announced, I would be lying if I said that I was thoroughly excited to see the new Thor movie starring Chris Hemsworth. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Thor in The Avengers and enjoyed his first movie despite it admittedly being one of the weaker Marvel Studios films. So color me surprised when I found myself very much enjoying Thor: The Dark World, and actually considering it to be one of my favorites in the “Marvel Avengers” franchise! It’s not without its faults, for sure, but then again none of them have been perfect (though The Avengers and the first Iron Man come very close).

As with the video reviews, let’s break this film down into its two stances. Starting with…

 

The Good


1) Most of the movie takes place off Earth, allowing it to take on a much more epic scope than Thor’s first movie.

2011’s Thor had one primary weakness, and that would be the fact that almost the entire movie takes place on Earth with action that often lacked that “epic” feeling one would expect when seeing demigods fighting (at least from my perspective). While a fair portion of The Dark World does take place on Earth, the majority takes place either in Asgard or one of several other realms/galaxies/universes/whatever-they-are.

2) Basically everyone puts on a great performance. Particularly Tom Hiddleston as Loki. Also, Idris Elba as Heimdall is nothing short of pure badass-ness.

While a fair number of people complain that Natalie Portman’s character Jane Foster is bland, she does manage to pull off an effective and believable performance from my perspective. Even Darcy (played by Kat Dennings), the most inconsequential character from Thor’s first outing, is a more well-rounded character this time around. As the point itself states, performances were overall solid, and never really seem “fake”.

3) The Dark Elves are visually quite terrifying/creepy at times.

There are several moments when all we see of them are the masks staring at the screen, and for me they take on a very porcelain doll-like appearance (anyone that has seen The Conjuring will know exactly what I’m talking about). Several battle scenes manage to maintain this creepy atmosphere about them as well, which is particularly effective considering how silly poorly directed action scenes can make even the scariest nightmare seem like a joke.

4) While not a movie that will get viewers pumped up in the way that The Avengers did, The Dark World has great action scenes and surprisingly emotional moments.

(Spoiler Alert – Click the toggle to reveal hidden spoilers)

[toggle_simple title=”Spoiler!!” width=”100″]There are two scenes that I found particularly effective. The first is when Thor visits Loki in his cell after their mother Frigga (Rene Russo) has been killed. Shortly before, we had seen Loki telekinetically make a few pieces of furniture fly across the cell after hearing of her death, but he otherwise seems collected and full of spite toward Thor still. After Thor calls his bluff however, Loki reveals the truth…that his entire cell is shown to be in shambles and the grief over his mother’s loss has taken an emotional and physical toll on him. It’s a truly powerful scene. The second great scene for me was the entire segment where it seems Loki has betrayed Thor to the Dark Elves, going so far as to seemingly cut his brother’s hand off. Combine this and the events that follow with what appears to be a heartfelt plead for forgiveness when Loki seems to be mortally wounded, and by god did it give me (as they say on Tumblr) “the feels”.[/toggle_simple]

 

The Bad


1) Several characters feel underplayed, and one in particular seems to get the shaft in The Dark World compared to even his short on-screen time in the first film.

While most of the side characters give adequate performances, Sif (Jaimie Alexander), Fandral (Zachary Levi), and Volstagg (Ray Stevenson) are all relatively underplayed despite being some of Thor’s closest friends. That’s nothing though because even they get more screen-time than Hogun (Tadanobu Asano), who is supposed to be one of The Warriors Three alongside Fandral and Volstagg! Unless I’m mistaken, he is in a total of 2 (maybe 3) scenes, and all of them are painfully short. One is nothing more than a reaction shot that barely lasted two seconds!

2) The main villain just isn’t very intimidating.

No offense to Christopher Eccleston, as he seems to be trying really hard to be intimidating in the role, but the main Dark Elf Malekith doesn’t seem to have been written very well. As mentioned before, the Dark Elves (or minions in this case) are creepy and at times visually terrifying. Even Malekith’s right-hand man is more intimidating as a villain, though I won’t say why because that would be a spoiler. Speaking of which…

3) The Aether, a power apparently able to undo the universe as we know it, doesn’t seem very powerful.

(Spoiler Alert – Click the toggle to reveal hidden spoilers)

[toggle_simple title=”Spoiler!!” width=”100″]Despite being a maguffin of such power that it can apparently undo the universe and bring about the return of the “dark world”, the magical Aether seems to be severely under-powered during the final battle between Thor and Malekith. For starters, it seems to be more powerful when it infects Jane Foster and the wrong person does nothing more than touch her arm. Even his right-hand man seems stronger than Malekith at full power, as he not only manages to nearly beat Thor to death with his bare hands, but is able to swat (yes, SWAT) Thor’s hammer Mjölner out of the air! The very hammer that the Hulk can’t pick up is swatted out of the air like an annoying (albeit heavy) fly.[/toggle_simple]

While I consider the lack of an intimidating villain to be the one major issue, I have to take into consideration that Iron Man didn’t have a very intimidating villain either, and yet it’s one of my absolute favorite films in the Marvel Avengers series.

For people like me that are still on-board the Marvel Studios bandwagon, Thor: The Dark World is another great entry in the series that many are likely to enjoy. I especially recommend giving it a try if you love the other films from Marvel Studios, but didn’t care for the first Thor. If superhero films aren’t your thing, or you have grown weary of the barrage of Marvel movies (which is perfectly understandable), you could give The Dark World a pass or at least wait until it’s on DVD/Blu-ray to try it out.

 

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[box_alert]Author note: All copyrighted material used under Fair Use. If you are a copyright holder and believe your material has been used unfairly, please contact me at: [email protected][/box_alert]