Thor: The Dark World Review

The trailer that was shown at the San Diego Con before this film started has me super-stoked for Winter Soldier next year and I’m not saying that as a Captain America fan, it actually looks legit out of these weak follow-ups to Marvel’s Phase 1 of their cinematic universe.

I had little to no expectations going in as the marketing was lousy add to ominous reports behind-the-scenes about Natalie Portman not wanting to be in it but having to due to her contract in addition the film’s director, Alan Taylor from Game of Thrones fame having run-time issues with the producers not being very good signs.

Marvel Studios’ updated intro is an excellent improvement. Hoping the Thunderer to be smarter not to fall for his brother, Loki’s illusions which he doesn’t when he goes to visit him in his cell (as trailers shown). Chris Hemsworth along with Tom Hiddleston play off each other so well especially when they bicker on the Dark Elf’s crashed vessel escaping the palace.

There is some decent humor (mostly) on Asgard like when the Son of Odin with Laufeyson beside him walk out of the dungeon under the guises of a guard then Lady Sif (Jamie Alexander) but The God Mischief mocking the Sentinel of Liberty being the hilarious high-point. Chris Evans shows he still has the comedic spark.

Ray Stevenson sold me as Volstagg the Valiant this time around probably for having less screen-time. Zachary Levi (Chuck) replaces Josh Dallas in the role of Fandral the Dashing which he does a good job surprisingly. Heimdall (Idris Elba) is given a longer action moment by jumping onto a ship to take it out as Asgard is under attack. Hogun (Elodie Yung Height) actually looked Mongolian with a beard and long hair.

Surtur of Muspelheim didn’t show his demonic face as I’ve speculated since he’s Malaketh’s master in the source material. However, there’s more then one hint to the Fire Giant for a third if it doesn’t succumb to Threequel-litus. Ragnaork, The End of Days is clearly on the horizon.

Only when Jane goes up through the restored Bifrost (which gets destroyed again) in a very cool P.O.V. shot going from world to planet does the narrative really get rolling. I predicted there were would be no stakes to which there wasn’t. The title character is never given a challenge or obstacle that’s very hard to overcome. Curb-Stomps threw-out besides the Kronan getting taken out (also in previews) by Monjir in one swing. Maletketh gets easily bested by Frigga (Rene Russo) before meeting an unnecessary demise by The Accursed’s right-hand-man, Kurse. Odin’s opening monologue worked in the previous film since he was telling the Jotunheim tale to his sons when they were children. Here it breaks the basic rule of movies to show-not-tell cause executives think audiences are stupid to comprehend this complex material your adapting from right? It makes the exposition later on pointless. Anthony Hopkins really overacts in his portrayal of the All-Father. There’s no explanation nor follow-up to why One-Eye apparently hates humans also his definition for Gods being really false since Odinson got resurrected by the hammer in the last installment.

Unlike the first where the scenes on Midgard were somewhat serviceable to the plot, it’s absolutely insufferable to sit through now. Forced-Comic-Relief alias Darcy (Kat Dennings) is cranked up all the way for being obnoxious, useless, stupid, unfunny, hypocritical, aimless “character” along with her bitch of an intern. Selvig (Stellan Scarsgard) is used for nothing but The Comedy Hour rather then seriously deal with the physiological repercussions from Avengers. Clint Barton/Hawkeye is probably coping by shooting some S.H.I.E.L.D. enemies in the head with his arrows. Stan Lee’s cameo sort-of saves a stupid scene. I for one didn’t need to see an older man like Scarsgard streaking or walking around in his underwear similar to John Turturro’s infamous ass-shot in that worthless Transformers movie.

Sif is given the shaft again. Yours truly prefers the Thor/Sif relationship (which was implied) over this contrived romance with Jane Foster. Fairest of the Fair is Lord of Storms’ equal since she holds her own especially in the battle of Vanaheim along with blocking an arrow with her shield while he’s distracted. At least there wasn’t a love triangle between them before or after the moment where the Stunning glares at her thankfully. Hogun disappears only to show up in one shot when the Nine Realms start crossing over during the Convergence sequence.

The Power Gem which has control over existence is reduced to the big McGuffin of the story. Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who) has no presence at all on screen. His natural voice is only used for one act since it’s over-alternate throughout. Any adversary they bring in future installments will get bitched-out in favor of Hiddleston. His “demise” didn’t have any emotional weight whatsoever because I knew they’d chicken-out. Him sitting on the throne at the end isn’t retreading or illogical at all.

Entertaining anywhere but Earth and even though it’s slightly better then Shellhead’s last outing, mediocre overall.

Rating: 5 1/2

With Benicio Del Toro’s debut as Taneleer Tivan aka The Collector in the mid-credit scene, Guardians of the Galaxy runs the risk of being another farce.