I was going to review Wes Anderson’s new movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, for you guys, but apparently, the good people of Edmonton Alberta decided that today, of all days, was the perfect day, two weeks after the movies’ opening day, to wander over to Cineplex Odeon and fill up the goddamn theater to partake in the whimsical delight that is Wes Anderson (I assume. I’ve never actually seen a Wes Anderson movie before).
Anyways, since iTunes and credit cards are things that exist, I decided to catch up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with the next Captain America movie and Guardians of the Galaxy coming up. Time to bring the hammer down on Thor: The Dark World!
Get it? ‘Cause he uses a hammer?
Ah, fuck it.
Thor: The Dark World
Directed by: Alan Taylor
Produced by: Kevin Feige
Written by: Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (Story by Don Payne and Robert Rodat)
Based on: Thor by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Larry Lieber
Genres: Superhero, Fantasy
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Christopher Eccleston. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Tadanobu Asano, Jaimie Alexander, Rene Russo
Plot: Taking place two years after the events of Thor, and the title character (Hemsworth), accompanied by the Warriors Three (Stevenson, Levi and Asano) and Sif (Alexander) have just completed a campaign to pacify the nine realms of Asgard after they were destabilized following the destruction of Bifrost and the attempted alien invasion of New York, led by Thor’s step-brother, Loki (Hiddleston) in The Avengers. Loki has since been imprisoned by his adoptive father (And Thor’s biological father) Odin (Hopkins), the Allfather.
Meanwhile, on Earth, Dr. Jane Foster (Portman), Thor’s ex-flame, and her intern/best friend/effective comic relief, Darcy Lewis (Dennings) are in London, looking for their colleague, Dr. Erik Selvig (Skarsgård), who has been driven crazy by the experience of being possessed by Loki during The Avengers. While adventuring around London, they find an abandoned warehouse that houses several inter-dimensional portals. One such portal transports Jane to another world, where she is infected by the Aether, which is essentially a weapon of mass destruction in creepy liquid form. Her infection attracts the attention of Malekith the Accursed (Eccleston), a dark elf and ancient enemy of the Asgardians who aims to plunge the universe into darkness.
The plot sounds simple enough, but the reality is that it’s told in a way that had me kind of lost midway through. When the whole selling point of your movie is “Chris Hemsworth dresses up like a viking and beats the shit out of mythical creatures”, you don’t need to add a bunch of convoluted crap about the alignment of the realms, and then explain it in a way that bores and confuses me, to get me to watch your movie. But, as I just mentioned, this is not the case, and as a result, some parts (Cough cough, the climax) feel muddled and anti-climactic. It doesn’t help that a large part of the plot is built around a rather uninteresting villain in Malekith the Accursed.
Another plot problem is that the movie, at the beginning, tries to establish sort of a love triangle between Thor, Jane and Sif. The filmmakers went to the trouble of foreshadowing some sort of sexual tension, but we never hear about it again. What the hell was that all about?
While the cast does a great job, the one weak link among the whole bunch is Christopher Eccleston as Malekith. I’ve never seen an episode of Doctor Who in my life, but he didn’t exactly make a compelling case for my dropping Sword Art Online anytime soon.
Of course, it doesn’t help that his makeup looked like total shit.
Thankfully, the rest of the special effects are beyond phenomenal, especially the visuals of the city of Asgard. How this movie was excluded from the Oscar ballot in lieu of the Lone fucking Ranger blows my goddamn mind.
Acting: Aside from Eccleston, the cast does a great job. Tom Hiddleston steals the show as Loki, who may be the best-written super-villain since Heath Ledger’s Joker. Chris Hemsworth is charismatic and fits the role of Thor like a giant, blond, muscular glove, and Natalie Portman has come another step closer towards erasing the memory of her role in the Star Wars prequels.
What really made the characters shine is the dialogue, though. While the writers may have ignored minor details, such as a halfway understandable plot, but they nail the interactions between all the characters (Though, again, it helps that the actors did great jobs). the movie never really had a problem with tone, and managed to be sad, funny or tense whenever it needed to be, even avoiding the typical amounts of superhero cheese that comes with the territory of a movie like this.
Conclusion: I’d need to watch the first one again to decide whether I liked this one better or not, but what it lacks in terms of a coherent plot, it makes up for with its’ cast, dialogue, action scenes and especially the visual effects, and it all adds up to a very entertaining superhero flick.
Overall Rating: 7.5/10