Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Forget world domination. The villain in Thor’s second movie has aspirations to universe domination as he wants to turn out the lights of our current reality and return matters to their former state of total darkness. Perhaps he works for my local electricity company. In any event, it’s up to the god of thunder to beat the bad guy, rescue the girl and save the universe.

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The movie begins with Odin (Anthony Hopkins) telling of the efforts of the dark elves to return all things to the state of darkness that they knew before the universe began. They developed a powerful weapon called the Aether but were overcome by the Asgardians under the leadership of Odin’s father. The Asgardians could not destroy the Aether and so hid it secretly in one of the nine realms. Thousands of years later, as the nine realms begin to align, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) discovers the Aether in its hiding place and it escapes, infiltrating her body in the process. The reawakening of the Aether also reawakens the remnant of the dark elves who survived the original battle; their leader, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) sets out to hunt down the Aether and use it to return the universe to darkness. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has meanwhile brought Jane to Asgard to try to rid his love of the Aether and so Malekith’s quest leads to an invasion of Asgard and, eventually, earth. To combat this, Thor has to oull out all stops, even going so far as to enlist the aid of his disgraced and jailed brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston). To say more would give things away completely.

Marvel seems to have decided on a certain formula for bringing superhero comics to the screen successfully. Focus on the action, make it spectacular, have your heroes be stereotypically larger than life, add some chemistry between the main characters and throw in a lot of quips. Marvel’s movies don’t have the complexities or depth of something like The Dark Knight, but their refusal to take themselves too seriously means that they often provide better passing entertainment. Going to Thor: The Dark World is a bit like going to MacDonald’s, then: if you go knowing exactly what you’re looking for because you’ve had it before, you’re unlikely to be disappointed.

As far as the visual feel of the movie went, it felt more like a direct translation of comic panels to the screen than many others I’ve seen. It works in the context of the movie as a whole and the general thrust of what Marvel seems to be trying to achieve. The actors generally did quite well in their roles, though Chris Hemsworth’s delivery of his lines can seem a little stilted now and then; perhaps he suffers by comparison in not having the natural gravitas of, say, Anthony Hopkins. The most appealing performance, though, is delivered by Tom Hiddleston, who has the character of Loki pretty well nailed down. Constantly raining out one liners (watch for a superb take off of Captain America), he’s one character you’re always happy to see on scene. There’s even a tender moment of reconciliation between the brothers to balance out the humour, though you just know Loki’s going to conspire to use that to his advantage eventually.

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The plot also seemed to be classic comic book stuff, designed more to drive the action pieces than to be enjoyed in and of itself. It does demand a fair bit of suspension of disbelief (why did Frigga die after being run through with a blade but Loki apparently survive?) but, again, if you’re looking for tight drama, weighty speeches and character development, I’d suggest your expectations are as unrealistic as this movie obviously is.

What parts did I enjoy the most? Everything points to the action sequences, which is the intention of the movie, and they certainly appear on a grander scale than the first outing. It is as though The Avengers has set the standard for explosive and immersive action and now all these “sequels” must at least aim in the same direction. That said, they are pretty enjoyable and the end section as Malekith tries to implement his plans certainly provides for a (forgive me) thunderous finale of pounding action.

In the end, a solid addition to the Marvel stable but keep your expectations in check when you do go to see it.