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Thor 2 Lightens Up a Dark World

Thor The Dark World

Thor The Dark World (Photo credit: The_JIFF)

I went to see “Thor: The Dark World” last weekend. (Actually, I saw it three times.) And I have to say that I rather enjoyed it! (Obviously, I went three times.)

Disney’s Marvel movies have gotten making enjoyable superhero films down to a science. They’re a manageable length, good balance of light and dark, funny dialog, and cast top-notch actors. Could the films be better? Probably, but they consistently deliver solid entertainment.

“Thor 2” picks up where “The Avengers” left off. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been arrested and the nine realms are in chaos. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and his crew of warriors are traveling around restoring peace to the worlds. Meanwhile, in the grander scheme of things, all of these worlds are aligning in space, an event that happens once every 5,000 years called The Convergence. During this time and lines between realms become blurred and some really freaky things happen.

Down on Earth, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is studying these freaky things (or as she calls them, gravitational anomalies or some other sciencey term) and mending her broken heart after Thor left her in New Mexico and didn’t call or write for two years. While researching she accidentally unleashes an ancient evil called The Aether into herself that a dark elf named Malekith was waiting for. Oops!

It’s up to Thor to get the evil out of his beloved, keep it away from Malekith (Chris Eccleston), and save the universe from total annihilation. Hmmm, he might need a little help from a certain trickster god imprisoned in the dungeons on Asgaard.

“Thor 2” has some problems but we’ll get to those later. Let’s start with the good stuff, like how funny this movie is. Not just because of the dialog, but the delivery and timing is spot-on. Kat Dennings, who plays Jane’s intern Darcy, is really good and says exactly what the audience is thinking. Also, there are little moments, like Thor going into Jane’s apartment and tentatively hanging up his hammer on the coat rack, like “this is what humans do, yes?”, that are laugh-out-loud funny. And watching Stellen Skarsgard run around Stonehenge naked is always good for a laugh.

It was also nice to see more of the warriors and the world of Asgaard. Since most of this movie takes place off of Earth we get to see more of the beautiful godly realm. We also get to see Heimdall (Idris Elba) and each of the warriors (Fandral, Hogun, Volstagg, Sif)  have their own scenes and chance to stand out.

Oh Loki, how I love you so.

Oh Loki, how I love you so.

I also loved seeing Thor’s mom, Frigga (Rene Russo), get more action this time around. There is also more about the relationship between her and Loki and what makes him such a fantastically complex and interesting villain.

We got to see more depth from all of the characters, which is what a good sequel should do, reveal more about these people you were merely introduced to in the first. Also, when you’re talking about a franchise like this that is part of a bigger Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s good to really see characters shine in their own movies so they can pop in and out of others with little exposition. Writers and directors don’t need to reintroduce them or their motivations because it was in the last movie.

I love movies with good characters and my favorite scenes are usually ones where you can just see them interacting with each other. I like studying the relationships between them. “Thor 2” has some excellent moments between Thor and Loki. They’re interesting to watch. It helps that the chemistry between the two actors is so good. They play off each other like friends, or brothers, would. These two characters have a long, sordid, history and you really get a sense of that here while they’re teaming up to fight a greater evil, instead of just battling each other.

Visually, this movie is impressive as well. Costumes, make-up, effects, everything looked amazing. I saw this movie in both 2D and 3D and while I’m not a fan of 3D to begin with, it didn’t add a lot to my viewing experience. There were really only a couple scenes where I noticed a difference at all. The trailer for “Hobbit 2” before had more depth of field. Not that I minded, and the important thing is that it didn’t detract from anything.

While the majority of the film is fantastic, I do have a couple problems with it. First off is the ending. They throw a lot of sciencey mumbo-jumbo and I have no idea how the happy ending actually came about. There was a box and they turned some dials and bippity-boppity-boo, presto-chango, the end. Maybe this is just my general lack of interest in science, or maybe this is just writers hoping we won’t look too closely. Either way, I don’t think I mind too terribly. There was action, and a good fight scene, and it all worked out in the end, it just seemed a bit rushed.

I was also disappointed that Portman didn’t get to do more. She’s a good actress and Jane is a feisty character and she seemed to spend a good portion of the movie unconscious. She has her moments, just overall seemed underused. But that just meant there was more time to watch Hemsworth and Hiddleston, so again, I can’t complain too much.

I left the theater (each time) thoroughly entertained. It’s probably fair to say that this is the most enjoyable Marvel movie that doesn’t star Robert Downey Jr. There are some twists and surprises, as well as big laughs and tender moments. And if you go be sure to stay for two after credits scenes.

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “Thor 2 Lightens Up a Dark World

  1. Not the best stand-alone Marvel movie yet, but still a fun one that reminds us why Thor matters so much in the first place. Great review Ashley.

    Posted by CMrok93 | November 12, 2013, 8:22 am

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