Ah, finally. Summer is over and we can get to the best films of the year in the fall. Wait, Thor what? Dang.
One would think that “Thor: The Dark World” would have found a better home this summer amid the utter failures of “R.I.P.D.” and “The Lone Ranger”, but seeing as it’s already made $345 million worldwide against competitors like “Free Birds” and “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa”, Marvel is probably totally cool with it.
This latest trip to Asgard picks up where “The Avengers” left off: Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is imprisoned, but the nine realms are somewhat in disarray. Just as things return to normal, an ancient enemy, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), returns to find a weapon known as the Aether and destroy the universe.
Aside from bringing in Eccleston (of “Doctor Who” fame), the sequel brings back pretty much every character from its predecessor. Yes, this means more comical abuse at the hands of Kat Dennings’ character, Darcy.
I can’t be the only one feeling superhero (mainly Marvel) fatigue. Bringing the Avengers together was a great idea, but we aren’t even to “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” yet and it feels like these films are just going through the motions. Just so you don’t think I’m a total downer, though, I am anticipating the next Captain America film. I think the first one misfired too often but the character is a great one.
As for this film, it suffers from a problem that it shares with the first “Thor”: the romance between Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Jane (Natalie Portman) is one of the most forced pairings ever seen in a comic book film. Instead of chemistry, it’s just Jane fawning over the size of Thor’s arms and acting like a little kid.
Another problem the film, and often Marvel, has is that villain is completely forgettable. There’s not even a single line Malekith speaks that I can recall at this moment. It’s all very generic stuff and subtitled. The bad guys in this film belong in a bad episode of Star Trek or a good episode of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. The worst part being that Malekith is actually a pretty good villain in the comics.
Ok, so maybe the characters are a little underdeveloped. At least the action is cool, right? Sorry, the action sequences in “Thor: The Dark World” are mostly boring. Poorly shot, poorly choreographed and too much CGI. Why should I care about Asgard under attack when everything is either too fake or shown in such an uninteresting way? There are 3 scenes that pass for decent action and they total about 2 minutes of the film. Even the final fight scene is boring, with only a barrage of humor to make it enjoyable.
And, boy, is it a barrage. This film has so many jokes tucked into it that Robert Downey Jr. would tell it to slow down. Some of these jokes work quite well, but by the end of the film it gets to be too much. There’s a reason why it’s called “comic relief” and not “comic drowning”. There’s a red line of comedy you can’t cross in a film like this or else the laughs become detrimentally superfluous and steal from any tension or drama you’re trying to create. We cross it here long before the finale.
The one character that saves the film from the trash bin is Hiddleston’s Loki. He is both the best source of comedy and drama in a film that is mostly forgettable. It seems his character is always the driving force behind Thor/The Avengers and, not to spoil anything, his actions have repercussions at the end of this film as well. The appearance of another Marvel hero in the film is also one of its biggest highlights.
“Thor: The Dark World” is enjoyable at times, but overall feels like another missed opportunity for Marvel. As always with these movies, be sure to stay through the credits for a bonus scene.