Thursday, March 20, 2014

Movie Review: Thor: The Dark World

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good story and great character development
Cons: Climax a tad too long, Jane a weak characters
The Bottom Line:
Traveling the realms
Character development
In this fun sequel

"Do You Even Know What These Things Do?"  "No."  "Neither Do I."

I'm still trying to catch up on movies I missed in the theater in 2013.  One of those was Thor: The Dark World, so when I saw a friend had bought it, I snagged it right away.  (Yeah, I watched it that week and returned it.)

The story picks up after TheAvengers.  Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is busy fighting across all the realms to keep any dark and powerful forces at bay.  As a result, he is being treated as a hero and his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) thinks that he might be ready to become king.

The one thing holding him back is Jane Foster (Natalie Portman).  He loved this mortal woman, much to Odin's dismay.  However, she has just stumbled on an anomaly in London that could kill her.  Even worse, it means the Dark Elves, a race that had supposedly been defeated a millennia ago, want her to drain this anomaly from her and use it to take over the nine realms.

I have noticed some issues with superhero movies.  The first one is always an origin story, and it slows the movie down while we wait for the hero to gain their powers and come to terms with it.  Then, in the sequel, they have to up the stakes by giving us two villains.  I actually have to respect this movie because it doesn't try to do that.  Instead, it just tells us the next chapter of the story with the next villain.  Okay, so you could argue there is an army, but they act as one, therefore one villain.

This allows time for some character development, which I felt was a strong point of the film.  Through the action, we got to know many of these characters better, which made us care about the outcome.

However, I must admit I was disappointed with Jane in this movie.  Yes, the love interest is pretty much there just to get in trouble and provide motivation for the hero.  However, I felt her character was weak and worse than normal.  Definitely wish she had played a bigger role before the climax.

On the other hand, there's Tom Hiddleston's Loki.  The character is so rich and troubled, you can't help but sympathize with him even though he's the villain.  Yes, I do love to hate him.

The acting by everyone is wonderful no matter how big or small a part they play in the overall film.  As a Chuck fan, I have to give a special shout out to Zachary Levi who took over the Fandral role since Josh Dallas was tied up with Once Upon a Time.  (An interesting bit of trivia, Zachary was the first choice for the character in the first movie, but he couldn't do it because of Chuck.  Full circle and all that.)

Likewise, the special effects are wonderful.  While I wouldn't expect anything less from a movie of this magnitude, I wasn't disappointed.

Which brings us to my other minor complaint about the film, the climax.  Yes, the final battle has to be epic, but here I felt like it was a bit too frenzied with too much going on.  As a result, I also felt like it went on a tad to long.  I'm being nitpicky here, I realize, but that is how I felt.

Overall, Thor: The Dark World was a fun sequel that was well worth watching, and one that extends the Marvel Universe.  I'm enjoying watching this universe expand with each film.

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