"Thor: The Dark World" Review: Craig's First Take

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Marvel Comics' superhero of the title name (again played by Chris Hemsworth) is back, this time battling an ancient race of Dark Elves led by a vengeful Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) in the sequel to 2011's Thor. Starring Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins, Ray Stevenson, Kat Dennings, Zachary Levi & Rene Russo.
2.5

“Iron Man” and “Hellboy” have a wise-cracking sense of humor and the reluctant hero thing going for them. “Batman” has the brooding, dark hero down. “Spider-Man” has the dorky youth learning to accept his “great responsibility.” Even Captain America (who also comes off a bit bland) and Superman at least have their American idealism. I’m 2 movies into “Thor” and I still just feel like I’m watching wood. He has nice hair, nice body, and he wields a hammer better than any carpenter but I still don’t see his appeal, nor do I understand his vulnerabilities and weaknesses, if he has any. Much like the first one, this “Thor” is pretty much another underwhelming excuse for fan boys to geek out on the same stuff while the rest of us wonder why this will undoubtedly beat gifted action stars Stallone and Schwarzennegger at the box office?

Following the same derivative pattern as so many others, “Thor 2” gives us a villain (an evil Elf no less played by Christopher Eccleston) using some supernatural force to bring about world destruction. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is about to be named king of Asgard after securing the nine realms. We see he has mellowed a bit after meeting Jane (Natalie Portman) from the last film; they’re both very much in love although the actors never really know how to convey that on screen. Jane has somehow managed to imbibe the supernatural force, making her literally radioactive (I thank the filmmakers for not using the Imagine Dragons song for the umpteenth time this year). To save her, Thor must betray his father King Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and find help from his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who has been imprisoned after his jaunt through New York in the “Avengers”.

Director Alan Taylor sets a few really nice scenes of aerial destruction, plus another visually gorgeous looking send-off of a character after their funeral. The movie also veers away from taking itself too seriously which is much appreciated. Mostly though what caught my attention here was how the villains seem to resemble the Borg from “Star Trek”, how Asgard looks much like the Elven city of Rivendell from “Lord of the Rings”, how some of the villains henchmen look exactly like the Predator. Very little here actually looks genuinely created, just ripped off.

Hemsworth is a guy i’m starting to notice is much more charismatic in movies not named “Thor.” Portman seems to be playing her part of “contractually obligated to appear in the film” well enough. Hiddleston actually works a lot better here as the duplicitous, arrogant Loki, but Kat Dennings by far fairs worse as the supposed comic relief. And one of the other Avengers (I won’t tell) shows up for what may be the best moment in the film, not that that’s saying much, but still, it’s a really good cameo in movie that could use some positives wherever they can be found.