Starring : Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston, Jamie Alexander, Zachary Levi, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Idris Elba, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgard
Jane Foster and her research interns uncover a dimensional anomaly heralding the alignment of the nine worlds once every five thousand years. An old enemy of the Asgardians, the Dark Elves led by Malekith seeks the Aether, an ancient weapon hidden by Bor, the grandfather of Thor when he last faced the elves. Possessed by the Aether, Jane Foster is chased in all the nine realms by Malekith who wants to use the infinity stone’s power to destroy the universe. Only Thor stand in his way.
This movie is a sequel to the first Thor movie but also to the 2012 Avengers’ movie. Thor and his fantasy world immersed in current day Earth needs no more introductions to filmgoers. It’s an interesting niche where Thor’s stories can mix elements of fantasy like the Lords of the Ring yet be relevant. A big change in this film which was only hinted at in the first Thor film is the concept of Asgardian magic as very advanced science. In this film, swords shoot lasers and Dark Elves pilot space ships. I’ve heard one respondent call it techno-medieval design. It’s like steampunk. In a way, director Alan Taylor interpret marvel’s old comic book hero in a way creator Jack Kirby hinted at but was not able to do. Kirby’s designs were all similar. There was no difference between Galactus and Thor’s world. Here the Asgardians are not just armoured spacemen. They are Vikings with funky gear.
However, all of the design qualities of Thor: The Dark World do not save this movie from being short on suspense and scope. The movie was boring and predictable. Malekith was never the scary villain that we knew would shake Thor’s might to its core. Thor easily defeats the villain in the film’s climax just by waiving his hammer and throwing some deus ex machina device concocted by Foster at the villain.
And then, there are the plot holes. The biggest one of course is what the hell happened to Odin and how did Loki survive his death? Then, there’s a hint conflict between Sif and Foster that is never resolved. I was expecting Sif to betray Thor because of his love for Foster for the entire movie. It was hinted in the film previews. None of that happened.
Thor is supposed to be the equivalent of Superman in the Marvel universe. Here, he’s just another joe who fights. Chris Hemsworth captures none of the character’s greatness. When Thor walks in a room, all should look up to him. The hammer he carries should feel heavy. Here, Hemsworth carries Mjolnir, the enchanted hammer as if it was a mere plastic prop. It feels very light in his hands.
Following Iron Man’s success, Marvel feels that every one of its movies should have a heavy dose of humour. The problem is that humour is useful when there is great tension that needs to be broken off. Humour is great when the focus on action and storytelling continues. But humour is annoying when it’s plastered just because it’s part of a formula. Yes, there are many funny elements that can be used in Thor to generate laughter, but most of it felt forced.
Loki is a great character and one of the strongest elements of this film. But too much of the film rests on his participation. It’s as if Loki is introduced to save the film from itself and make it dynamic again. What that means is that Thor on his own, as presented in this film, is really a weak and boring character that cannot move the film on his own merit. Natalie Portman as Jane Foster is as boring. There was a hint of a new super powered character introduced in this film. I wondered if it was Marvel’s way of introducing Captain Britain, but the scene went by so quickly and without any explanation that it didn’t really matter.
Now I have to ask a question to film goers. It seems pretty clear by now that every Marvel movie has two extra scenes at the end of the film. Why then do audience members feel the need to get up as soon as the credits roll and stampede outside of the theatre as if the plague was chasing them? People, learn to sit down and relax. All Marvel films have little bonus scenes in them. If you leave, you’ll miss a preview of what’s coming up next.