Saturday, November 9, 2013

Movie Review -- Thor: The Dark World

This week I'm reviewing the new movie Thor: The Dark World, starring Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston. 

The movie opens with Odin (Anthony Hopkins) explaining that before the current universe existed, there was a world of darkness populated with the Dark Elves. Once light was created, they sought to impose their malevolent will upon the universe using a powerful energy source called the Aether. Odin's father defeated them and their leader Malekith (Doctor Who's Christopher Eccleston) and hid the Aether underground somewhere. A millennia later, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is investigating bizarre gravitational anomalies with sidekick Darcy (Kat Dennings), when she finds herself pulled into a rift which takes her to a chamber where the Aether has been stored. She accidentally releases the strange red liquid which wastes no time finding a new home inside her body. Thor (Hemsworth), having been told Jane has disappeared, arrives, finds her, and takes her to Asgard for treatment. Around the same time, Malekith awakens and, sensing the revival of the Aether, attacks Asgard to get it. Thor, realizing he needs help defeating the Dark Elves and safeguarding Jane, springs his stepbrother Loki (Hiddleston) from Asgardian jail, and the trio hatch a plan to send Malekith packing. But can Loki be trusted?

When I saw the first Thor movie, I found the science fiction tropes a tad strange. Well, the sequel doesn't shy away from it. In fact, it embraces sci-fi. Energy weapons, singularity grenades, cloaking devices, space ships and advanced fight craft are all present throughout the film. If you hate the idea of Thor being a sci-fi story, you won't like this. If however, you're willing to give it a chance, you'll find an entertaining movie. The acting is good, especially Hiddleston's acting. He makes Loki a fully human character (if you'll forgive the expression), showing genuine emotions in response to powerful moments without breaking a sweat. Furthermore, supporting actors Kat Dennings and Stellan Skarsgard give us numerous funny moments. Watching the comedic effects of Dr. Selvig's deteriorating mental state (because of what he experienced in The Avengers) is good for a laugh. And to top it off, the CG delivers some beautiful Asgardian imagery.

However, the movie isn't perfect. Malekith may be a cool-looking baddie, but he's pretty generic. He comes off as just another villain motivated by revenge. There is no depth to any of the Dark Elves, whereas the Asgardians are pretty colorful.

Still, I have no trouble recommending this film, though comic book fans probably already know whether or not they want to see it. Thor: The Dark World, is in theaters now.

"I have it all under control."
"Is that why everything's on fire?"

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