THOR: THE DARK WORLD
**** (out of 5)
November 8, 2013
Chris Hemsworth as THOR
Natalie Portman as JANE FOSTER
Tom Hiddleston as LOKI
Anthony Hopkins as ODIN
Christopher Eccleston as MALEKITH
Jaimie Alexander as FANDRAL
Ray Stevenson as VOLSTAGG
Idris Elba as HEIMDALL
Rene Russo as FRIGGA
Kat Dennings as DARCY LEWIS
Stellan Skarsgård as ERIK SELVIG
Directed by: Alan Taylor
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
As a long-time fan of comic books, I have enjoyed this current golden age of superhero movies. It’s great to see these characters and the stories make their way to the big screen with such respect and quality. However, this glut of superhero films is not without its downside. It’s difficult to transfer some of these characters and stories to the big screen without getting bogged down in complicated mythology.
Thor, more than any of the other Avengers characters, is in the biggest danger of being out of touch with an audience, a point that was driven home by the good-but-not-awesome performance of Kenneth Branagh’s 2011 “Thor.” While the sequel “Thor: The Dark World” is not burdened by a full origin story loaded with a quite bizarre shoehorning of Norse mythology into alien worlds, it still has a bit of a far out plot. However, the film itself compensates for this with some great special effects, rocking action sequences and not a small dose of comic relief at the hands of Kat Dennings and Stellan Skarsgård.
In this film, which serves as a sequel to “Thor” as well as a sister follow-up to “The Avengers,” an ancient race of dark elves led by the evil Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) plans to use a once-every-5000-years cosmic alignment to reset the universe to their own dark existence. It’s up to Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and his reluctant villain-turned-antihero adoptive brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to defeat these beings and save both Asgard and Earth.
Okay, so this storyline is arguably more whackadoodle than that of the original “Thor.” However, its basic elements of a bad guy wanting to destroy the world still hold up in the passive viewing. Don’t try to think too hard through the story, or your brain might hurt. Suffice to say, enjoy the battles and the popcorn entertainment nature of the film.
Chris Hemsworth once again proves he was a fine choice for the role, playing the uber-attractive hero but also showing a Robert Downey Jr. level of charisma in the role. We get to see the return of Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) who was dismissed in “The Avengers” with a single shot of her pretty mug on the computer screen. She’s a little more integral to the driving force behind this film than the last one, so she doesn’t feel as much like the typical damsel in distress we saw before.
Of course, the most fun role reprisal is Tom Hiddleston as Loki, who was responsible for hundreds of deaths in “The Avengers,” yet fans still love the hell out of him. Hiddleston, like Hemsworth, has a lot of fun with his role, and he helps balance out the film with a whimsical performance in light of the often heavy nature of Asgard.
“Thor: The Dark World” is a better constructed film than its predecessor, with big-screen action sequences that don’t get too dark or violent. It’s the essence of what a popcorn comic book movie should be. Not everything has to be dark and brooding like the Batman Nolanverse. Instead, this film continues the Marvel tradition of enjoyable fast food entertainment that serves as a healthy dose of escapism in the theaters.