Thor: The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World cover

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

A villain from the distant past threatens the entire universe and Thor must stop him while protecting Jane Foster, who has unwittingly entangled herself in this dark opponent’s plans.

Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) stumbles into the plans of a dark elf from eons ago who plans to plunge all of the Nine Realms into darkness.  Thor (Chris Hemsworth) must side with his mostly evil brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to save her, Asgard and the whole universe – all against the wishes of his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins).  Forced to escape from Asgard, Thor and Loki battle the evil Malekith and his minions in the dark world and all across the Nine Realms in an epic battle royale.

Chris Hemsworth continues to make the role of Thor his own with little or no help from the writers.  The Jane Foster storyline serves as a convenient excuse to shove an awkward and wholly unnecessary “love story” into the fray, which then receives far more screen time than it merits.  The God of Thunder continues to be the buffoon of the Marvel universe, despite the fact that the Avengers franchise includes a green giant whose vocabulary is made up of the words “Hulk smash”.  Hiddleston similarly carries the Loki mantle well, despite being an almost completely unlikeable character.  Portman has somehow made a career out of continually almost destroying the galaxy without actually knowing what she’s doing any of the time.

This film is better than the original…for whatever that’s worth.  The finale is a great conceptual battle that is ultimately mismanaged and becomes a haphazard montage of fight scenes that serve to set up the occasional cheap laugh better than they set up what should be an emotional final act of sacrifice.  The fact that the writers felt the need to have Odin explicitly state at the end that Thor had made a valiant sacrifice shows that either they have no faith in the perceptive abilities of their target audience or even they realized it was sloppily executed.

The one thing this film has going for it is action.  The story is gibberish, the bad guy is a cardboard cutout, the special effects look good but really detract from the fantasy setting by giving everybody lasers and there remains the same apparent focus on making sure the Thor movies are family-friendly fluff pieces.  When the fate of all creation is supposed to be at stake, that makes for some pretty uneven storytelling.

Stars: 2.5/5

 

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