Sunday, November 10 2013, 12:54 PM MST
Movie Review: Thor - The Dark World
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: Alan Taylor
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Recommended To: Fans of the Marvel brand. Even those that have become a bit tired with it.
Synopsis: When an ancient evil awakens an army of dark elves Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is forced to betray his father to avoid a galactic war.
Review: 2011's Thor was a problematic film in that it tried to balance a hefty amount of comedy in with its darker themes in the way that 2008's Iron Man had done (and 2010's Iron Man 2 had failed to do). The comedy felt forced and unnatural and undercut the supernatural sense of wonder that should have been the core of the film. Unfortunately Thor: The Dark World suffers from a similar discord; albeit with better results.
The films narrative is split between events happening on Earth and the conflict that is unfolding in and around Asgard. The action that takes place in space and on foreign planets is spectacular. Nearly everything that happens on Earth is goofy and distracting. Do we really need the running gag of Stellan Skarsgard's mad scientist Erik Selvig preferring to not wear pants? Do we need the mindless banter of Kat Denning's clueless Darcy Lewis? You could assert that they bring a sense of levity and balance to the film, but Tom Hiddleston's playful and malicious Loki provides the most laughs and does so without disrupting the films building sense of tension and danger. The time spent with Lewis and Selvig would have been better used to flesh out Christopher Eccleston's villain Malekith. Were we allowed to understand him and his motivation better the films final showdown would have had more meaning. As it stands it feels a little anticlimactic.
Thor: The Dark World is a good film that easily could have been a great film had it been allowed to focus entirely on its most interesting characters rather than being more concerned about being a reunion of the original films cast. At least the franchise seems to be moving in the right direction and somewhere down the line I'd most certainly welcome returning to Asgard.
-Ryan Michael Painter