Friday, November 8, 2013

Thor: The Dark World Movie Review

Tom Hiddleston almost saves Thor: The Dark World

In Loki We Trust

Yet another lazy sequel to a once mighty franchise: This appears to be the new modus operandi at Marvel Studios. Take Thor: The Dark World, which manages to bore, confuse and tease its audience... on its way to movie mediocrity. The loss of Thor director Kenneth Branagh, a dialed-down (almost modest) Thor and the return of Natalie Portman prove too much for TV director (uh-oh) Alan Taylor to overcome. P.S. There's no chance of this C+ improving upon further review.

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: Marvel's "Thor: The Dark World" continues the big-screen adventures of Thor, the Mighty Avenger, as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself. In the aftermath of Marvel's "Thor" and "Marvel's The Avengers," Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos... but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.

What’s Best: All's not lost, especially when you have Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Tom Hiddleston (Loki) on your side. The on-screen brotherly duo keep this sequel afloat, amidst a sea of debris. Hemsworth's raw charisma is underused, but he owns your attention... even whilst hidden in a corner. Am I the only one rooting for him to hook up with hottie Sif (Jaimie Alexander) over plain Jane?

As devilish Loki, Hiddleston literally runs away with the movie (at least the good parts) as he assumes a more confident persona. He earns all the big laughs, whether taunting Jane, 'Oh dear, is she dead?' or delivering a sarcastic, 'Ta-da!' Without Loki, even the Mighty Thor couldn't stop this movie from crashing into oblivion.

What’s Not: Whose bright idea was it to lasso Thor's unbridled ego? Sure there are glimpses of Hemsworth's gregariousness (flirting with a subway traveler, hanging up his hammer on a coat rack) but they're few and far between. I can handle Loki's comedic uptick; but why pass it on to one-half of 2 Broke Girls, played with grating abandon by Kat Dennings? It's beyond jive.

Meanwhile the end of the film is a convoluted mess, where combatants fly in & out of various realms with nauseating frequency. Even worse, Portman revives her clumsy running style from the Star Wars prequels, while evading silly-looking Dark Elves in hot pursuit. I didn't like Portman in Thor; but she's miles worse in this one.

Best Line: Not sure why Anthony Hopkins is saddled with makeup to make him look older; but even bad prosthetics can't hinder the movie's best line, 'You must think I'm a piece of bread that needs to be buttered.' On the funny side, Loki delights as Captain America, 'I can feel the patriotism rousing through me!' with Honorable mention going to Dr. Eric Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) for overstating the obvious, 'I better get my pants.'

Overall: 'There's nothing more assuring than knowing the world's crazier than you are,' observes Eric; but you have to question the sanity of messing with near-perfection (the original Thor.) The Dark World bypasses Earth in favor of exotic Space locales... reducing Thor & co. to lesser Superhero status. I want the old Thor... the cocky, act first/ask questions later Thor. Taylor fails to replicate Branagh's ability to balance two worlds, and more importantly... gods and mortals. I'll take Thor and his hammer over iPad-toting scientists any day of the week.

GradeC+