Review #961 - Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Director:  Alan Taylor
Cast:  Chris HemsworthNatalie PortmanTom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston
Plot:  Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.

Genre:  Action / Adventure / Fantasy
Awards:  -
Runtime:  120min
Rating:  PG13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content.

“You must be truly desperate to come to me for help.”

The guy with the hammer is back in the second installment of the 'Thor' series, sequel to the excellent first movie by Kenneth Branagh.  While Thor (2011) was well-told and entertaining, Thor: The Dark World is the lesser counterpart.  It is not as novel or fresh anymore, but it is still a decent Marvel effort that pulls all stops to deliver nearly non-stop action. 

The narrative is advanced by the love-hate relationship between Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), as a new threat emerges from another world, seeking vengeance on the Asgardians and vowing to return the universe to a new order of perpetual darkness. 

While Branagh's astute eye for character and storytelling would have taken Thor: The Dark World to greater heights, new helmer Alan Taylor does no wrong in creating a sequel that will please Marvel fans and the casual moviegoer alike.  It is one of the more plainly enjoyable Marvel movies in their canon, finding a good balance between spectacle and humour. 

The action sequences are well-executed and the visual effects quite outstanding.  But what is most striking to me is that the cheesy humour works in some gleeful way that sometimes surprises the audience – like that of a familiar character popping up in the least expected fashion.

There are usually no outstanding performances in such blockbusters as the cast do what they are required of and nothing more.  However, Hiddleston does steal the show from Hemsworth with his screen presence.  He is like Benedict Cumberbatch in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), showing his dramatic quality that more often comes from a meaty supporting role.

Thor: The Dark World at the very least is good fun at the theaters, especially when it is firing all of its cylinders.  It gets better in the second half as Thor has to save Earth (for the third time now) – a climax that is both exciting and enjoyable. 

When the dust has settled, and we look back at all the Marvel movies since Iron Man (2008), Thor: The Dark World will be resting comfortably in mid-range.  It is not one of the year’s best blockbusters, but it doesn’t call too much attention on its flaws either.  If there’s a third installment after Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), can we have composer Patrick Doyle back?  The replacement Brian Tyler just doesn’t cut it, even if he did okay for Iron Man 3 (2013).

Verdict:  One of Marvel's more plainly entertaining movies with a good balance of spectacle and humour.


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Mark Ziobro said…
@Filmnomenon - Great review. It's good to see someone here who actually liked the movie. Is it me or were these other critics watching a different film? The movie is not boring. I liked the action, although the humor was a little bit much at times. Anyways, really liked the review. I'll follow you on twitter. I'm Mark, and I have a website called The Movie Buff.

Eternality Tan said…
Thanks Mark and for the intro to your website. Have left a note there. Keep in touch!

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