Thor: The Dark World Review

Director: Alan Taylor

Writers: Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely

Studio: Disney/ Marvel Studios

Production Budget: $170 Million Dollars

Running Time: 1 hour, 52 minutes

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Rene Russo, Ray Stevenson, Jamie Alexander, Zachary Levi, Idris Elba, Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgard, Chris O’Dowd, and Christopher Eccleston

Synopsis: The Dark Elf Malakeith returns after eons seeking to claim the Aether, an infinity stone (like the Tesseract) that is discovered by and infects Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) shall give him untold power over the 9 realms.

Review: It was just a matter of time that I’d see this movie in theatres. I wasn’t particularly excited about it, I didn’t mind the first movie, but I like seeing big budget action movies in theatres. It’s always entertaining to see so much money flying around on-screen and I feel there is always something to be learned seeing huge productions come together or fall apart, but Thor 2 does neither.

There are director’s movies, Acting showcases, and producers movies. The Dark World is a producer’s movie. There is no sense of a singular vision here, despite the mythology it all feels by the numbers and uninspired, the plot is a bit hard to follow and while I was watching Thor throughout I felt entertained, but after this review I will have mostly forgotten all about it.

Anthony Hopkins is a good actor in my opinion who is given quite a bit to work with here with a handful of meaningful scenes, but whether due to the fact that he was either phoning it in or a fault of the pacing, each of his scenes (which I won’t spoil) don’t line up for a consistent performance. One moment he is emotionally weakened and mournful and in his next scene he’s mentally and physically headstrong, there is no impact or evidence of the character’s earlier scene. Minor gripes like this point to the idea that this movie was nothing but a groupthink cash cow. There’s no evidence of personal style or direction here, no major character arcs (possibly with the exception of Loki) it feels like you’re watching a Brett Ratner film.

Exploiting the lack of flavour to this movie, Tom Hiddleston shall receive a career boost thanks to his fun, well-developed portrayal of Loki. He owns the film.

I wouldn’t blame Alan Taylor on this though. As for most cash cow franchises unless you have a big name director going into one of these films that wants to take the franchise in a bold new direction (think Alfonso Cuaron for “Prisoner of Azkaban”), you tend to get on these kinds of films studio executives and producers steering the ship. The colour palette has changed, the mythology has grown and there is evidence in trying to tie some human conflict together in this fantastical piece (like Taylor’s previous credits directing on Game of Thrones) but its a weak thread. That being said the fact that it held together or is at least visible deserves faint praise.

It is so weird seeing so much money put into a film that doesn’t take any risks, break new ground or do anything different, in the worst way this feels like a stop-gap towards the next Avengers film, but unlike the previous Thor much less fresh and a lot less fun.

Rating: 0/ C

-3          -2          -1          0          +1          +2          +3

Tidbits (courtesy of IMDB):

  • Because of the height difference between the two actors; a box, and later a ramp, had to be used in the kissing scenes between Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth so they could reach each other’s mouths.
  • The film was shot under the title “Thursday Mourning”
  • This is the last film written by Don Payne (who also wrote the previous film). He died from bone cancer before the film was released.
  • Composer Carter Burwell and Director Patty Jenkins  were initially attached to the project but left due to creative differences. Natalie Portman was rumoured to be very upset at Jenkins departure having reported to lobby for her in the first place, but was nonetheless contractually obliged to return.
  • A new Marvel logo opens the film


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