With every intention of going to see Captain Phillips on the big screen yesterday, I got my times wrong and ended up catching Thor: The Dark World instead.
I must admit, this one has crept up on me a bit, so I had no idea what to expect.
Thor: Dark World Review: What’s It About?
The second installment in the Thor series, this one is about regular Thor comic book villain Malekith, who – along with his army of Dark Elves – plans on destroying the universe.
Obviously Thor has to stop him.
Thor: Dark World Review: Who’s In It?
Many of the same players from the first Thor film – such as Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins and Idris Elba – reprise their roles, while Christopher Eccleston plays the villain of the piece, Malekith.
Wait…what? Christopher Eccleston is in this? Perhaps it’s because they bulked him up with CGI or perhaps it’s because he didn’t speak in a Manchester accent, but I had no idea…
Thor: Dark World Review: How Highly Is It Rated?
Rotten Tomatoes gives it 83% while imdb.com currently have it sitting at 8.0/10 from 7,297 votes. They could be fanboi votes though…
Conversely, reviewers in the newspapers give it a bit of a slating, with the likes of The Guardian and The Telegraph offering only 2 stars.
Thor: Dark World Review: Thoughts
Now I think perhaps it would be more apt to say “I tire of superhero movies”.
The thing about them is that when I review them, I feel as though I’m saying the same thing. They are interchangeable.
I could say the following about any superhero movie now…
- It looks excellent, although there’s no real need to see it in 3D
- The plot is a little thin on the ground, although there are occasional chuckles in it.
- Eventually it turns into a massive fight scene with non stop destruction, usually on contemporary Earth.
And it would be fair to say exactly the same of Thor: Dark World.
The only difference is that the massive fight scene takes place in London rather than New York or Los Angeles.
Now that’s not to say it’s a poor film, because it’s not. I got a little bored at one point, but I’ve seen worse offerings from the genre.
But what I don’t like about it – and what seems like a recurring theme with Marvel and to a lesser extent DC movies these days – is that their ability to bring anything visual to life is a hindrance to them making the plot as good as it can be.
Villains like Malekith should stay in the comic books or left to science fiction films. Personally, I want my superhero movie villains to be normal blokes who have become evil and are trying to take over one single town or city rather than the universe. I want to see The Green Goblin or Doctor Doom ahead of a characterless drone like a dark elf or whatever the hell he was.
And maybe it’s the sheer dullness of Malekith that made me miss who he was actually performed by.
Of course, it could equally be true to say that Thor himself is a difficult character to engage with. A bit like Superman, he’s alien and is mostly invincible. So where’s the drama?
- While Christopher Eccleston manages to hide in plain sight, Idris Elba doesn’t. Speaking in essentially the same London accent as Luther, Elba just looks like a bloke in a silly costume. I’d have enjoyed the film far more if he wore that same shabby suit as he does in the detective drama.
- I’m getting a bit tired of Loki. I know some critics fawn over Tom Hiddleston’s performance, but that’s three movies where he plays a major part now and I’d rather see someone else.
- How does Chris O’Dowd keep getting cast in these big American movies? It’s a genuine mystery.
- Being that it’s a Marvel film, you do have to expect a certain amount of exposition and plot developments that happen for the sake of convenience. But even I am struggling to explain why Natalie Portman’s character was oh-so-conveniently transported to another realm just so she could be taken over by the The Ether. Contrived or what?
- When in Asgard, Portman – thanks to her costume – ends up looking like she’s playing Padme from Star Wars again.
- The bit where the boy throws that bottle through the portal and then catches it again is unrealistic. Now sure, I’m ignoring the lack of realism of a bottle falling through a never-ending portal, but surely if it has been falling for some time, it has picked up too much speed to be able to catch again without breaking? #Physics
- This film didn’t need to be set on Earth at all.
- I suspect Shreddies paid for some product placement
Thor: Dark World Review: Final Thoughts
To put it simply, this is a by-the-numbers Marvel Superhero movie that does exactly what you’d expect it to do.
It’s not great, but neither is it crap.
And it also suffers from not being an origin film, meaning it has to come up with an all-new plot.
Marvel struggles with that.
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