Midweek Movie Review: Thor: The Dark World (3D IMAX)

Superhero sequel Thor: The Dark World is definitely worth experiencing on the big screen. This said the film is consistently entertaining but far from exceptional. In going grander in scale, it has lost some of its predecessor’s charming idiosyncrasies; replacing them instead with destruction on par with that in The Avengers. There is a lot that is pleasing about Thor 2; a lot that works; but a week after watching it’s difficult to recall it in any detail. And that ultimately isn’t a good sign in terms of its longevity or rewatchability.

In terms of The Dark World’s plot, the future of the Nine Realms – including Earth and Asgard – is at stake as they all align for the first time in centuries, and ancient Dark Elf foe, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) comes out of stasis to plunge all the worlds into primal darkness. Asgardian prince Thor (Chris Hemsworth) commits to combating this threat, and that means forming an alliance with his treacherous adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston).

There’s no excusing the fact that Thor: The Dark World draws on all kinds of plot contrivances to keep supporting characters from the first film – like love interest Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and Stellan Skarsgård's Dr Erik Selvig – involved in the action. Conveniences abound. Still, the film is a beautiful, effortless mix of fantasy and science fiction; particularly the exhilarating Realm-jumping finale. And most of the time, the audience is happy to suspend their disbelief, disengage their minds and go along for the ride. Especially since Loki remains arguably the most fascinating, complex character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; impossible to pin down in terms of his moral code.

Thor: The Dark World certainly ups the stakes. It’s a world-hopping tale, far vaster in scope than its predecessor. There is also a substantial amount of character side-lining and death – where minorities, gratingly, are singled out for a franchise departure for the most part. For the record, despite her prominence in posters, Jaimie Alexander’s warrior Sif seems to have an even smaller role in The Dark World than the original Thor.

While the world establishing and exploration is certainly interesting in The Dark World, personally I did miss the “fish out of water” humour that made the first Thor so distinct. The one single laugh-out-loud moment in the new film involves Thor and the London Underground. You’ll know it when you see it. It’s also one of the few times the title character gets to turn on his knowing charm in a sequel where he’s predominantly grim… and bland.

Screening in 3D and 3D IMAX, Thor 2 was converted for both formats and as such isn’t essential (expensive) viewing in either. Even if the snow and ash does look pretty impressive.

That’s it, really. There’s a mid-credits sequence that will no doubt link into next year's Guardians of the Galaxy film – which hopefully will look like more than just an expensive episode of Star Trek – as well as a split-second scene right at the very end which seems designed to generate the warm fuzzies. Other than that, Thor: The Dark World is undemanding, highly polished popcorn entertainment; nothing more.

3.5 stars out of 5


Popular posts from this blog

Is the rebooted Lara Croft gay? Evidence for and against...

Fun for Monday: Your Pop Culture Myers-Briggs Personality Type

Ladies I Love: Part 2 - Rhona Mitra