Thor: The Dark World a Q&A Review

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Following the events of The Avengers movie, Thor, God of Thunder sets things right across the nine realms just in time for R. A. Salvatore characters to wake from their ancient slumber and wreak vengeful havoc on his home world of Asgard.

Directed by:
Alan Taylor

Starring:
Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Christopher Eccleston

BEST COMPARISON

The Lord of the Rings (2001) meets Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)

DEFINING SCENE

Queen Frigga (Renee Russo) hands Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) his ass in a one-on-one knife fight.

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LOW POINT

The silly James Gunn directed mid-credits sequence that’s meant to be a weighty lead-in to future Marvel flicks (*Cough Guardians of the Galaxy, *Cough The Avengers 3), but is hilariously overacted and looks like a scene from a filler episode of Farscape.

THE Q&A

Finally, the much anticipated Thor sequel I’ve been waiting for. What’s it about?

Elevendy-thousand years ago Odin‘s dad, Bor, wiped out most of the dark elves on their home world for trying to turn the lights out on existence by unleashing a dark energy called The Aether. Their leader, Malekith the Accursed and a handful of foot soldiers escaped into space where they’ve waited in hypersleep for some dunderhead to free the captured Aether from its impossible to find secret location. Impossible, unless you’re a super hot, socially awkward astrophysicist desperate to find the one that got away by chasing down any clue that might lead to the two of you getting back together.

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What?!

OK, so every five thousand years the nine realms align in what’s called The Convergence, which is the sweet spot for unleashing dark magical weapons when one is feeling conquesty. Unlike the Tesseract, which was a source of seemingly unlimited energy and the linking macguffin throughout “phase one” of Marvel’s interweaving cinematic universe, The Aether is a primordial energy parasite that can convert matter into dark matter. How converting everything to dark matter helps anyone doesn’t really make sense. But hey, comics, right? Needless to say, our antagonist, Malekith doesn’t seem like the sharpest super villain in the longbox, so whatever he’s planned isn’t really worth pondering.

Anyway, this Convergence event somewhat messes with how physics work and opens up random rifts in space. And by random rifts I mean a portal directly to the carefully hidden Aether where Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), love interest of our hero, ends up being the dunderhead.

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This of course causes Malekith‘s spider senses to tingle with fresh hope of claiming The Aether and using it to plunge the realms into darkness. This also puts Jane in danger, which activates Thor who’s been using Heimdall to creep, which ticks off his father because humans are like termites to Asgardians, and just like that Thor needs his brother Loki‘s help.

Loki’s back? Yes! I’m all giddy like schoolgirl.

Funny you should say that, because this movie could have been titled The Loki Movie by the way actor Tom Hiddleston (Loki) puts the hammer down on the rest of the cast. His bits so far eclipsed the other actors I was sort of hoping (praying) that Jane and her cohorts would be wiped from the nine realms so that I might continue to revel in the uneasy alliance between Loki and his brother, Whatshisname. Maybe it’s because the romance between Jane Foster and Thor is so hilariously bad and void of any sort of genuine passion that my estrogen levels found solace in the thought of rival brothers locked in an eternal conflict over who was loved the most, but I’m still going with Team Hiddleston.

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Wow, man. Not a fan of a little romance?

Not when it’s used like a water taxi to ferry me from one setpiece to another. Not when I could watch The Notebook instead.

Point taken. So why is Odin being such a grumpy gus?

Betrayed by his adopted son. Real son is as an arrogant, pigheaded brute always in need of constant life-lessons if he ever wants to sit on the throne. All of the usual Freudian father/son tropes one expects when there’s a lineage hanging in the balance. Despite Thor almost single-handedly restoring  monarchistic rule peace across Yggdrasil (thanks google), there’s always some flaw the cranky old god finds to beat his kid over the helmet with. This time through it’s apparently forbidden love.

Thor and Jane again?

If you do the math Thor is over a thousand years old. That’s way crazier than even Edward and Bella in Twilight. Odin doesn’t want Thor messing with the royal gene pool by having it defiled with Jane‘s fragility. Honestly I have to agree with the All-Father on this one. Even Jane‘s superhuman understanding of physics can’t save her character from being anything more than a doe-eyed excuse for the Thunderer to step away from his birthright every couple of years. Not when there’s a perfectly good Jamie Alexander (Sif) practically throwing herself at him at every encounter. I’m sure that Odin is fed up with the whole ordeal and just ready to tell his favorite son not to let the golden gates hit him in the ass on the way out. Sure, I know he did that in the first movie but he might really mean it this time. Besides, if not for Jane Asgard would have been just fine.

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Wait! What happens to Asgard?

That, my friend, you’ll have to see for yourself. Suffice it to say that Jane‘s encounter with The Aether gets her an all expense paid trip to the giant golden pipe organ columns of the Starship Enterprise Asgard where she is soon located by Malekith and his remaining minions. Three words: Elves. With. Lasers. And black hole grenades. I guess that’s seven words now. Oh and a super elf.

A battle on Asgard? Sweet!

Yep. Elfin stormtroopers vs shiny alien Vikings. It’s not as cool as it sounds, but it’s a good excuse to shoe in the Asgardian players, ramp up the stakes, and therefore, the drama, for a solid center piece.

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Uhg! You’re really not winning me over here. Why would I want to see this?

Because it’s a pretty entertaining and fun no-brainer. Despite my overly critical hole punching I enjoyed The Dark World way more than its predecessor. Since I already have huge biceps I’m immune to Chris Hemsworth’s wily charms, so I expect acting from him on par with his performance in The Avengers (2012). That’s exactly what we get, a spot on carbon copy. No more, no less. All the fun is scattered throughout the minutiae, like the one hit victory between Thor and a rock creature, as seen in the trailer, that abruptly ends a field battle. We see Chuck‘s Zachary Levi do his best Westley (Cary Elwes) impression from The Princess Bride (1987) as the the swashbuckling Fandral. The levity is often well-timed even laugh out loud funny. Specifically Loki‘s incessant hectoring of his brother during a harrowing escape a la Princess Leia. Even Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), Jane‘s unnecessary sidekick gets decent lines worthy of her comic relief hat.

Really,the worst part of the movie, besides the poor yet tolerable romance, is how inept the villains are despite how intimidating they appear to be to the Asgardians. To me Malekith just isn’t that memorable of a foe. Eccleston is unrecognizable and therefor not able to cash in his Doctor Who nerd power-up. He’s just a generic angry zealot willing to wipe out his own species to unleash a nonsensical power that is equally unremarkable. I kind of miss the ice giants.

OK, OK. How’s the action? Is there any Xena-like Valkyrie cleavage?

Just a shirtless Hemsworth to cause everyone to renew their gym memberships. There’s some sword fighting, a little laser action, guys being crumpled up like pieces of paper, life-draining, a few stabbings, an on-screen lopped off hand and a lot of hammer throwing. It all looks as good as it can depending on one’s opinion on sci-fantasy CGI.

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What did you learn from watching this Thor sequel?

  • A god who can control where rain falls, down to the space of a single person, has no such control over sandstorms.
  • Stop pining over the one that got away, you could inadvertently usher in the apocalypse.
  • As far as I can tell dark elves are asexual.
  • Anything ever, no matter how preposterous is possible-because Science.
  • You can get off the hook for nearly ending all life everywhere so long as you’re pretty.

Do you have any final thoughts and would you recommend this movie?

I do recommend sitting through Thor: The Dark World because it’s a fun comicbook ride that’s at least re-watchable, unlike Man of Steel last year. Pre-Avengers this would have been considered a summer blockbuster. Not Batman Summer blockbuster, but good enough to merit its place in, say, August. Because Tom Hiddleston is now an acting and pop-culture force of nature, he may have single-highhandedly saved this flick from being a completely generic bore. See it with friends.

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