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Author Topic: Thor: The Dark World (B)  (Read 19017 times)
twaddington
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« on: October 31, 2013, 03:06:55 AM »

 And so the box office behemoth of Marvel continues its relentless onslaught through the pockets and imaginations of cinema-goers worldwide. Thor is back. He hasnít been gone long, admittedly. It was only last summer that he assembled with the crŤme de la crŤme of Marvel heroes in Joss Whedonís gag-fest The Avengers. A year before that, audiences were introduced to the shamelessly hokum-laden universe of the nine realms in the heroís first solo outing. It was enjoyable hokum though and all the more so because it never had the bare-faced cheek to forget the inherent silliness of its mythology. Take note Zack Snyder (Man of Steel).

Much of the first filmís success has to be attributed to director Kenneth Branagh. It had seemed a strange choice at first when Branagh was brought in to direct as heís primarily associated with Shakespeare adaptations. It turned out to be a masterstroke. Branagh imbued some gravitas into the narrative and distilled its focus onto the rivalry between Thor and Loki. Who can forget Anthony Hopkins bellowing ďI, Odin your father, cast you out!Ē at his disgraced son. Epic stuff (Iím being sincere, really!)

Alas, Branagh has not returned for The Dark World. In his place is Alan Taylor, a director with a low key collection of film credits but experience working on HBOís hit fantasy show ĎGame of Thronesí. I suspect that Marvelís choice to go with a small name but nonetheless safe pair of hands is because they want to maintain the tone and aesthetic that Branagh cultivated with the first one- not have some precocious auteur inflict a new style on the franchise. Taylor does a capable job though but as is often the case with sequels the mistake is made of thinking that bigger is better.
Thereís an opening prologue that is reminiscent not only of the first filmís but also of the prologue in The Fellowship of the Ring.  In it, the new big bad is introduced. Heís a dark elf who goes by the name of Malekith (Christopher Eccleston). Actually heís not new, heís just been away for a bit. But now heís back to find the Aether that has found its way inside Thorís old flame Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and bring darkness to the Universe once more.  Or something like that.

The Malekith plot really becomes secondary, even though the action is built around it. Indeed, Eccleston is bizarrely underused. He barely registers. Then again, he is vying for screen time with an immensely charismatic cast. Hemsworth as Thor once again gives a character that could so easily be as repulsive as the jock in a high school movie the element of vulnerable charm that makes him a sympathetic and likable protagonist. Of course it takes approximately eight minutes for him to reveal his chiselled torso once again but thatís by the by.
 
Kat Dennings provides some excellent comic relief as Jane Fosterís friend, alongside the eccentric scientist Erik Selvig played by Stellan Skarsgard. Idris Elba returns as Heimdall the gatekeeper to Asgard. Heís a commanding presence and thankfully given slightly more to do this time around. Really though, the star of the show is Tom Hiddlestonís Loki. Hiddleston has really grown into the role and its evident heís relishing every minute of his characterís dastardly antics. Thereís a great physicality to his performance as he bounds around with the deliberate delicacy of a ballet dancer. Unfortunately, Loki spends much of the film locked in a cell as punishment for his villainous part in The Avengers.  It isnít until the final third that the sibling drama that ignited the first film is re-explored. Itís here that the film really comes to life and you canít help wishing heíd been more involved up to that point. Loki is released from his cell by Thor as a last resort in a crisis. Heís all out of options and needs his mischievous brotherís help. The tension and humour that arises because of this is compelling. We know Loki will betray Thor, Thor knows it, but none of us know when. This is played on to great effect and thereís a well-executed sleight of hand that genuinely had me fooled.

Maybe itís because of this embarrassment of riches in the cast department that Thor: The Dark World doesnít quite match its previous instalment. Some plot strands feel underexplored and others over.  Thereís no denying though that thereís a lot to like about the sequel. The fish out of water comedy of the original is once again played to great effect; this time in London as opposed to New Mexico. A stand out example of this occurs when Thor is forced to travel on the underground to reach the fight, politely asking another traveller how to get to Greenwich. Londoners particularly will take delight in seeing the god of thunder pummelling the cityís landmarks. The Old Royal Naval College is one such building to take a beating in the ingenious, dimension-hopping finale.

All in all it adds up to another solid addition to the Marvel canon and brings enough to ensure that we havenít seen the last of Odinson yet.
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dalmatianjaws
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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2013, 10:41:21 AM »

"Much of the first filmís success has to be attributed to director Kenneth Branagh. "


I ... can't ... muster ... strength ... to ... snark ...

*collapses on keyboard, short circuits with tears, electrocuted to death*
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Sheridan Passell
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« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2013, 12:35:07 PM »

Don't listen to Mr. Misery here, the first was a good movie. ...Although I think Kenneth Branagh's directing skills suck in general.
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twaddington
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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2013, 12:58:12 PM »

Guys, don't make me pull out the St Crispins speech.

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Sheridan Passell
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« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2013, 02:05:56 PM »

You asked for it - http://www.movie-moron.com/forum/index.php?topic=4596.msg22984#msg22984
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dnwilliams
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« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2013, 02:21:21 PM »

Guys, don't make me pull out the St Crispins speech.



I did last time. DJaws will not be swayed!
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