As mentioned in my October highlights I’m a big fan of the original Thor for managing to make a magic rainbow bridge look cool. Thor: The Dark World keeps the Norse charm flowing while new director, Alan Taylor (notably of Game of Thrones fame) successfully manages to propel the franchise into a darker SF movie while keeping the laughs that made us love the celestial hunk.
Thor: The Dark World begins post clean-up in the aftermath of Avengers Assemble and Loki is safely imprisoned back on Asgard. Thor is busy restoring peace within the Nine Realms but worst is on the way in the guise of a new all-powerful energy, the Aether and ancient enemy, the Dark Elves determined to harness its power and lead the realms into darkness.
For a movie with Elves and several Gods, the visual direction isn’t akin to other marvel movies and more similar to serious SF, most prominently reminding me of Prometheus (I apologise for comparing a decent movie to Prometheus). Even the scenes in London – with Jane Foster and her ever-increasing amount of interns – are dark and ominous. OK. London is always dark and ominous but you get the idea.
It’s a very hectic film and risks packing too much into two hours but it’s fast and funny and delivers what a good sequel should – developing the franchise story arch and characters. Thor has gone from obnoxious “fish out of water” to model son. Jane Foster is back and slightly more interesting with Portman actually managing to infuse some personality into the character. Unfortunately, still not enough for anyone to understand how both she and Thor are even remotely in love. Luckily Portman comes with intern Darcy (Kat Dennings) who is brilliant and on even stronger form this time round. I love Kat Dennings – she is comic genius!
Of course, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki steals the show making Thor look like a two dimensional hero from a children’s picture book. His ability to be malevolent with boyish vulnerability and charming with such vile cynicism is superb. And if you want a compelling love story in this movie it is the brotherly bond between Loki and Thor as opposed to Jane and Thor’s romance.
Sadly, focusing on trickster Loki clearly took away needed emphasis and timeline from the movies true villains, the Dark Elves. Particularly antagonist, Malekith, played by Chris Ecclestone seems shamefully under developed considering the quality of actor. Under all that make up and lack of screen time any interest in Malekith’s back story or intention is completely lost. That being said I would never recommend giving Loki less time… In fact, I would rather recommend more Loki screen time!
Marvel are having a good run of movies recently that combine huge action with comic value and Thor 2 is no different. If the post-credits stings are anything to go by, hopefully the third instalment should be just as good (with more Loki!).