Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Review: Thor: The Dark World

Release date: November 8, 2013
Running time: 112 minutes
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Kat Dennings, Rene Russo, Anthony Hopkins
Who to see it with: Someone who would like a more epic Marvel movie


The original Thor was a decent Marvel movie, but something about it didn't feel as grandiose as a movie about all powerful gods guarding all of civilization would suggest. The battles felt contained and the fights were mostly Thor plus one or two others against a few foes. Thor: The Dark World ups the scale immediately by depicting a large battle between the Asgardian forces and the newly introduced Dark Elves. The battle has a very "Lord of the Rings" feel, with convincingly epic armies on both fronts waging a large battle with the fate of the universe in the balance. The battle itself is an interesting combination of both fantasy and sci-fi elements. Large ships and laser weapons coupled with armor and swords; it feels like a mix between Lord of the Rings and Star Trek. In other words, it's a fan boy's dream come true! But it also makes sense in the fiction of Thor, which treats magic and technology as one and the same. 

The movie itself is quite entertaining. Hemsworth excels at playing the god of thunder; it seems that both his physique and personality were made for this role. Hiddleston returns as Thor's brother Loki, and is another high point in the film. His dialog and character are wonderful and the interactions between Loki and Thor are some of the most enjoyable of the film. The special effects and sound are as good as you'd expect from a big-budget blockbuster, with plenty of destruction to match the new scale of the conflicts on screen. The writing is clever and a lot of the dialog is more enjoyable than I thought it would be. It feels like Marvel has found the right balance between having its heroes deal with universe-destroying issues while still enjoying moments of levity to lighten the mood. The story does feel longer than the original film--despite them being about the same duration--but I attribute that more to the fact that the second film doesn't have to spend a half hour or more laying character back story and gets right into the main plot. Thor: The Dark World is one of those rare sequels that surpasses the original in pretty much every way. It's a great comic book movie with the right balance of gravity and levity and something that every Marvel fan should see. 

Watch it.

PS - There are two stingers in this film. One partway through the credits and one after the credits end. Make sure to stay for both!

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