What I'm Watching: Thor - The Dark World
HAVE AT THEE!
Yep, it's no surprise that I rushed out to see Thor: The Dark World. Longtime readers know I'm a comic geek, and know I was more than a little miffed at being unable to see the first one in theatres due to a lack of 2D showings near me. Fortunately, my local theatres have wised up since then, and I could see The Dark World on opening day.
So, how's the sequel?
Pretty freakin' good. If you enjoyed the first Thor movie, you should enjoy this one. If you didn't enjoy the first Thor movie, I think this one has a little better balance of elements and it's worth giving another try, although I understand why you might want to wait on that count.
This movie focuses more on Asgard and the other nine realms than Midgard, which I know was a large complaint people had with the first movie. A lot of the humour is still there though, and everyone's voice feels spot on. Every line was exactly what I wanted it to be, for the most part.
Thor 2 picks up pretty much right where Avengers left off, dropping Loki off at his father's throne, to receive his punishment for the events he caused in the first movie and Avengers. From there, we slowly build to a convergence of the nine realms, and the return of Malekith, his dark elves, and the Aether, an otherworldly force akin to the Tesseract.
"These artifacts may sometimes manifest themselves as stones..."
Jane Foster is pulled back into the story, literally, when she stumbles upon the interdimensional hiding place of the Aether, frees it, and becomes an object of desire for the returned Malekith's plots.
Oh, so much of this movie I enjoyed. I loved how they slowly brought Malekith's look towards the comics design. I loved Algrim's disguise echoing that of his comics look as Kurse. I'm sure it will be divisive amongst fans, but I also enjoyed making the Asgardian weapons a little more scifi, even if that does make them seem a bit lightsabre-ish at times. It added a bit of magic to their culture, by way of Clark's Law. And making the Dark Elves even more scifi seemed to make sense to me, although it's hard to explain why.
Hemsworth is great as Thor. You can really see the growth the character has made over these three movies. He has grown into someone whom is worthy to wield Mjolnir.
I am so glad that Darcy returned. She's great comic relief, she's a great standin for the audience, making a lot of the quips we may want to make ourselves. I wish there had been more of her, but at the same time, I feared the movie was going to leave her, Eric, and Midgard itself entirely behind once Thor and Jane went to Asgard, and I am so glad to be proven wrong and they were all present in the climax. That was handled rather well, although at times I think the placement of scenes and the editing didn't quite work. The storyline on Earth just doesn't flow as well as I would have liked, and the order felt off at times. I suspect these scenes were bounced all around the story for pacing, and things got a bit jumbled along the way.
The use of every Asgardian in the plot was great. They each had their role to play. Except for Hogun. That was a really weird ommision from the storyline, and almost baffling. I suspect actor availability, so that's a shame, but the rest of the Warriors Three were used to great effect, Sif had good stuff to do, and even Frigga got a lot to work with, even if her role was cut a bit too short. What she was there for, she was good in.
Loki is Loki. His mischievousness was well handled, even toying with audience expectations at times, and I like he was even given a bit of redemption. While it doesn't excuse his past actions, it is a reminder that he is NOT all evil, and he is a complex, multi-faceted character. Even if his own agenda does get in the way of that from time to time. I absolutely loved his little scene of shapeshifting with Thor, and his use of a cameo was brilliant and pitch perfect.
Christopher Eccleston brought more gravitas to Malekith than he would have otherwise had, and in lesser hands, the role would not have been as much, and as it is, there's not much there. The performance definitely helped elevate it, though. I hope we get to see some of the deleted scenes that would have fleshed out his otherwise purely villianous character. Much like Frigga's scenes from the first one got left behind, and they really helped boost her role, which was a shame.
I don't think the movie, the Asgardian portions obviously, felt quite as epic as the first movie, and I can't quite place my finger on why? I'd wager it has something to do with Kenneth Brannagh and his Shakespearean training really nailing that over the top, amazing, crazy and yet down to Earth familial relations of the Asgardians. Which isn't to say Alan Taylor did a bad job, I thought he still knocked this out of the park, but the first one just had a different feel to it that worked just that little bit better.
I really can't say if I like this or the first Thor better. They each have their ups and downs, and I'd probably rank them pretty equally. I'd say this storyline probably thrilled me more, but I think the first one was handled better, overall.
So, for the most part, Thor: The Dark World is just as enjoyable as the original, and I'd personally rank it higher than Iron Man 3, out of the Phase 2 movies. It hit all the right notes, for me. I'm sure there's more flaws, but I was most pleased with what I got.
"One down, five to go."