Nov 12, 2013

Movie Review of 'Thor: The Dark World'

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston, Stellan Skarsgard

Director: Alan Taylor

In India, astrologers will tell you just how rare and momentous and powerful can be the 'convergence' of the 'nava graha' ( nine planets). But given that the people who are invested with any knowledge in 'Thor: The Dark World' are mere Western astrophysicists, all they know is that the laws of physics become 'weaker' when the nine planets are about to be arrayed in a line. From an abandoned warehouse in central London, the beauteous ( Portman) is funneled up into a mysterious space, and soaked with a strange red-coloured element called Aether.

We know this because a Norse-ish alien race and its enemies are in search of that very substance. Both the good guys, whose king is Odin ( Hopkins in an eye-patch), and the bad Dark Elves, lead by Malekith  want it. The battle for Aether spills out from Asgard, travels to various hot-spots across the universe, and reaches London. Enter the Almighty Thor, the Marvel superhero with the Huge Hammer ( Hemsworth), who shows up to save our planets, (and the world, of course) from the marauding elves.

Thor: The Dark World (directed by Game of Thrones guy Alan Taylor) picks up nearly 2 years after the events of New York as seen in The Avengers.  With the "Rainbow Bridge of Awesome" repaired in Asgard, Thor is busy restoring order in the nine realms while Jane Foster searches for him on Midgard (Earth).  As an event approaches that will align the realms, an ancient enemy is awakened after a failed attempt at destroying the universe 5,000 years ago. (How come everything evil that was stopped was 5000 years ago ?)  Thor is called upon then to deal with this ancient enemy who is seemingly beyond the capabilities of Asgard itself.  He reunites with Jane on Midgard after she comes in accidental contact with the object of the ancient bad guys (the Dark Elves) desires.  Thor then desperately fights to save not only Jane, but the nine realms as well.The time has been spent in ramping up the special effects, some of which are gorgeous. Look out for a panoramic view of Asgard, and the funeral of a noble lady, all glitter and poignance. Some of the inter-galactic chases are quite eye-catching, too, despite the 3D. But what mars the spectacle is the pace ( why do Hollywood superhero flicks have to be so long? ), and the collection of leaden baddies, with no personality. What's a tale like this without a real, solid villain? Eccleston, as Malekith, has no menace, and the fellows who accompany him, strutting about with headgear with horns, are just so much background noise.

This 'Thor' becomes intermittently watchable only when the aliens are in chatty communion with humans, what with Ms Portman lying around in a state of disarray on Earth and on Asgard, and Mr Hemsworth spinning his hammer far and wide whenever he gets the chance. The brilliance of Lady Sif and the Warriors Three that added a real sense of camaraderie is gone in the sequel. When she is awake, though, Portman is easy on the eyes. And has some light-hearted exchanges with her earth-bound compatriots, which includes a mad-scientist prototype, played by Skarsgard. Hemsworth's long streaky blonde ponytail is noteworthy, as are his rippling muscles. He looks good in all that armour, but is not terribly exciting overall.

The humor factor was way amped up and made the whole experience have a little bit lighter feel.  The interaction between Thor and Loki alone is worth the ticket price.  The intern Darcy gets more attention this time around, while Selvig's character takes a sharp nosedive. The man, or rather, the alien who rescues this enterprise from dullness is Thor's brother, Loki. Played superbly by Hiddleston, the shape-shifting Loki is the only character who makes himself new and interesting. When he is around, 'Thor: The Dark World' becomes a different film altogether. All in all, this movie was way more cooler than Iron Man 3 in terms of overall movie experience.  It doesn't require that dramatic need to relate either to get the enjoyment out of it.  There is "some" emotional investment but all in all, it's about getting to peak into Asgard and see the goings on as opposed to using the 2 hours to establish who everybody is.