Thor: The Dark World (PG-13)
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christopher Eccleston, Idris Elba
Directed by: Alan Taylor
As a movie critic, there happens upon a time where we tend to disagree with our colleagues. This is yet another example of that, and I’m starting in familiar territory.
I was listening to The Tony Kornheiser Show live on Friday, and Washington Post critic Ann Hornaday was lamenting about having to go see Thor: The Dark World and how boring it was. She basically called it a bore. Well, to my colleague Ms. Hornaday, and to my fellow critics who lambaste having to suffer through comic book movies, I offer this editorial: stop going to watch them if you don’t like them.
Now that I have that out of the way, I can go ahead and review this movie proper. In the aftermath of Thor and The Avengers, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) fights to restore order across the cosmos. But an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins) and Asgard can’t cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.
Thor: The Dark World is different than its predecessor. When I reviewed the original movie on my personal website, I said that “there have been many good movies that served as starting points for the movies to come, and this is just another example of how to do it right.” They really picked up the pace with the sequel and tweaked it properly. This much is certain: Asgard looks very different than it did in Kenneth Branagh’s movie; it looks grittier than the original, and it is certainly more action packed. The opening minutes alone are filled with more action than the original movie itself. On top of that, it’s certainly funnier, and it comes from the most unexpected of actors. Tom Hiddleston is a great actor, but he has even better comedic timing. There are scenes in this movie where his acting alone makes you howl with laughter, and he steals every scene he’s in. Kat Dennings is back as Darcy, and she brings in some humorous moments as well.
A major complaint a lot of people had with the original movie was that it spent too much time on Earth. That’s not necessarily a problem with this one, because it’s spread out all over the nine realms. We get more time in some than in others, but it’s not mainly set in Midgard (Earth). The expanded scope makes it feel more exciting and the risks more dire.
My only issues with this movie are that it doesn’t give the Warriors Three (Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg) much to do but serve as halfway convenient plot points, and that Sif (Jaimie Alexander) is only around to glower at Jane Foster and pine for Thor’s heart…but, Thor’s played by Chris Hemsworth, so I understand.
I really enjoyed this movie, and I recommend checking it out. It’s fun, it has some good action, and the chemistry between the principals is great. It’s not even two hours, so it’s not something that drags. It moves along at a quick clip, and keeps you entertained from beginning to end. If you liked the first movie, then you’ll enjoy the second one as well.