Thor: The Dark World may not be the crispest action movie ever, but crispness aside, it is an entertaining follow up and worthy of recommendation. Director Alan Taylor, who has directed episodes of notable tv shows such as Game of Thrones, Mad Men, and The Sopranos, takes his talent to the big screen and commands the action with poise and precision. You never feel lost with his direction. You do, however, feel a bit lost with the script.
The history, mystique, and science fiction elements, which makes these Thor movies stand out from the other Marvel/Avenger movies, is the main ingredient in the downfall of Thor: The Dark World. The exposition of the history of Asgard and the nine realms bogs down the film. Time and time again we are reminded of the history of the worlds or the meaning of some action and it takes its toll on the fluidity of the film, which suffers greatly during the first half of the film. The editing and jumps from scene to scene in the beginning and is just awkward at times.
Maybe the first half is slow to pick up, because there is less Tom Hiddleston, who steals the show as Thor’s brother, Loki. Hiddleston possesses the rare ability to be feared and loved at the same time (Hmmmm, that description kind of sounds like something else too . . . ). Everyone knows Loki was the villain in The Avengers and he did not exactly play Price Charming in the first Thor movie, so it is easy to look at him and shout “bad guy!” However, Loki is not all bad. He is an intelligent, conflicted, and complicated character and Hiddleston crushes it out of the park. The only problem with his performance, though, is that he blows away Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and runs circles around him, making the scenes with them a bit uneven.
Speaking of Hemsworth, he and Natalie Portman, who plays his “girlfriend from another realm” Jane, continue their cat-and-mouse game of love, but finally seal the deal with a kiss and become an official couple. So we can be spared the chase and the lonesome attitudes each display from now on, thankfully, and move on like adults.
And as far as the action goes, it is not over overriding and over-the-top like Man of Steel was, which is a relief. I feared a veering towards a more action-based movie was in the cards for Thor: The Dark World. Thor did not rely so much on action scenes as it did on exposition, which, for these Marvel movies, is something all too uncommon. But with more movies, sometimes, comes more stupid. Fortunately we were able to avoid that this time around, which is hopefully the trend moving forward.
The subject matter the film does explore is not as dark as “The Dark World” suggests (mind you, the dark world was literally a dark world). However, the family bonds explored in this film are deep and absorbing. The writers of the script did a great job in examining the relationships between the members of this powerful family. They may not be from this world or realm, but they do feel and hurt just like us. Anthony Hopkins and Rene Russo are great as Odin and Frigga. Oh, and don’t forget about Heimdall, played by the always amazing Idris Elba. He may not be family, but he sees everything!
All in all, Thor: The Dark World is a solid entry into the Marvel canon and builds on the solid predecessor of Thor. These “Avenger” hero movies, in general, have done a tremendous job in creating their own world. Hats off to Marvel.