So Thor: The Dark World... Yeah.
Last week, I reviewed the original Thor (2011) after a rewatch and my opinion on it did change somewhat. It's not as bad as I remember, but a lot of my problems with it were valid. So, how do I feel about the follow up?
This review is full of spoilers.
So my opinions on this movie, like the previous Thor, are not particularly favourable. In fact, this movie is worse than the original in my eyes. This was also the case before I rewatched the original.
What are my problems? Mainly, Christopher Eccleston. For those who don't know me, I'm a massive Doctor Who fan. Always have been, always will be. I was introduced to Doctor Who through Christopher Eccleston's rendition of the character, and I know he's a fantastic actor. He, in my opinion, started Marvel's habit of hiring great and talented actors to fill the most copy-and-paste villains they have ever created. Mads Mikkelsen in Doctor Strange, Hugo Weaving in Captain America, and Christopher Eccleston in Thor.
I also remember the humour ramping up in this film. Though I like humour, I remember it feeling out of place in a couple of moments, and oddly integrated into the more serious moments.
The movie just felt incredibly generic to me. Not bad, not good, just there. Existing purely because they needed another Thor movie and because they needed to shoe-horn in an infinity stone before we hit Infinity War.
How do you pronounce "Svartalfheim"?
So I'm at the 40 minute mark, and taking a quick break to give my first impressions... Well, technically my 2nd impressions.
The humour is way up in this movie. It's definitely got a more light-hearted tone than the original, but in some cases a little too light. Looking at the stuff that takes place on Earth before we return to Asgard, we are quickly re-introduced to most of the Portman brigade from the first one, with the new addition of Kat Denning's intern. The problem I have with his character is that he is comic relief for a character that is already comic relief. It's a layer of character that is just unnecessary, and a large amount of his humour is relegated to just being a total idiot, which begs the question why they keep him around for any longer than they do.
I have next to no opinion on the dark elves, as their menace is just implied through exposition, which takes the threat out of them completely.
So the credits have rolled on Thor: The Dark World.
Overall, I found this film a much more enjoyable experience than its predecessor, but this film does still suffer from some of the problems that I remember the first time around.
First of all, the central villains. It's less centred on Eccleston's Malekith and more on the Dark Elves in general, essentially reducing them to a faceless army with Malekith in the driving seat. They get next to no development outside of the opening crawl, which is then repeated almost word for word in the middle of the film. Rather than beat you over the head with how formidable these guys are, why not show it? I would've much rather preferred an extended intro battle scene to get us into the movie, and sacrifice a couple of minutes of action for a little development on their central villain. Also, the grunt Elves look ridiculous in those facial masks. They look like bad imitations of the Court of Owls from the Batman comics, and I actually laughed when I saw them again.
Loki is still kicking around up to his old tricks and, once again, Tom Hiddleston steals the show. He is easily the standout factor in these films, aside from his appearance in the Avengers which, if you look at it, is as cardboard as the rest of Marvel's villains. He ends the film sitting at the Throne of Asgard, which I missed how he got there the first time watching this film and thought they were copping out of killing Loki. However, I now see that they do set up this reveal almost straight after his death, so I'm more ok with it this time round. However, at this point, the man has fake-died twice. Once in the original, and again here. If he dies again in Ragnarok, I will not believe it even for a second and it just sucks all the stakes out of his death, because the audience just won't believe it.
So the humour. I said earlier that this is a much more light-hearted affair with less of a focus on story. However, you still have to have a story for the jokes to land, otherwise you're just telling jokes for the sake of telling jokes. There's a moment in the final battle where Thor falls through one of the portals that keep opening up (cuz science and magic are one in the same), and ends up at a tube station. He then proceeds to get on the train to get back to the final battle. Whilst mildly amusing, it kills the pace and tension (what little tension there was) stone-dead. Whilst I appreciate the humour found in here, some of it just feels totally out of place, and works against the story of the film.
Game of Asgards...
This particular movie is directed by a man called Alan Taylor, a guy who has previously worked on a couple of episodes of Game of Thrones, a show which I feel these films could benefit from. Not just because it's a medieval fantasy setting, but there are opportunities in here to expand the world of Asgard, and make it a more densely populated area than just a big castle where Thor and his warrior friends (a large portion of which are re-cast, which I totally missed the first time) spend their time when they're not in films. I know this film doesn't take itself nearly as seriously as that show, but I just think a more interesting story always benefits, even if it's told in a more humorous way.
So all in all...
This film isn't nearly as bad as I remember. I remember thinking it was the blandest entry in the Marvel Universe, and to some extent, it is. But the humour in here with half decent action sequences, a great moment where the group of warriors and Thor hatch a plan to escape Asgard that gave me a great deal of Ocean's Eleven vibes, and Tom Hiddleston snarling for a great portion of the film makes this an enjoyable adventure. If it was outside of the MCU, it probably wouldn't be bad at all, if a bit lacklustre. Like Thor before it, it's a noise film. You can stick it on, do other things, and tune back in occasionally to watch it for five minutes before getting back to what you should be doing.
Thanks for reading guys. I was amazed to see how many people checked out my Black Panther trailer review. I'm hoping to see Thor 3 this Wednesday so I'll have the review with you fairly soon.