Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Review: Thor - The Dark World

World of Blackout Film Review

Thor: The Dark World Poster

Thor: The Dark World (3D) (first-pass*1) (SPOILER-FREE)
Cert: 12A / 112 mins / Dir. Alan Taylor

So, big expectations after the God of Thunder's first outing, and does the caped hammer-thrower live up to them? Well, yes and no. The Dark World is huge fun in a 'smash the crap out of things with hammers' kind of a way, but it still feels like the whole thing is of little consequence. That's not to say that there aren't events in the film which will have repercussions later in the timeline, but there are more which feel like they won't.

Hemsworth's Thor has developed nicely from his Avengers appearance, and he displays the ongoing maturing of his character well. But of course it's Hiddleston's Loki who steals the best lines and deepest chuckles, brining a sarcasm which almost seems lost on those around him (although thankfully not on the audience). In addition to this, one of his scenes features a brief appearance by another Avenger which also tickled the auditorium this evening*2. Natalie Portman has a great chemistry with Hemsworth this time around (read: better than last time), and the now London-based scientist team of Dennings, Skarsgård and Howard provide exposition and comic relief second only to Hiddleston. Everyone in Asgard wears armour and frowns a lot. Again. Which is fine.

The 3D is there, and does the job well enough most of the time, but really isn't a deal-breaker. The same can be said of Brian Tyler's score; well grounded, but a little too reminiscent of his excellent work on Iron Man 3 for my liking (which, y'know, was only six months ago).

The biggest drawback for me has to be the antagonists, in the form of the Dark Elves. I know that Paramount are busily shoehorning in as much Marvel property as they can get the rights to, but after the inclusion of the Chitauri and Thanos in Avengers Assemble, it seems a little unnecessary to introduce a new set of villains which only fill a token role anyway. To cap it all off, Christopher Ecclestone's turn as their leader Malekith seems particularly weak, given what a capable actor he can be. He grunts and fumes his way through the role, aided by Darth Krayt and The Robots Of Death, but it doesn't really feel like the Dark Elves will maintain much of a presence in this cinematic timeline. Much like the Iron Man movies, we seem to be missing a really decent villain; but unlike those, we don't have a witty, charming hero to paper over the cracks.

• Stan Lee cameo? Yes, there is.

• After-initial-credits-scene? Yes, there is.

• After-all-of-the-credits scene? Yes, there is. Although it's not as significant as the one before the names start rolling.

The Dark World is a solid addition to the canon, but a fairly weak film in its own right, even as a Thor sequel. As much as I love Paramount's Marvelverse, even I've got to admit this has a sniff of filler about it. Pretty great filler, but even so…

Is the trailer representative of the film?
Pretty much, although the trailers are careful not to go too far into mechanics.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
As much as I could with what was there.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
I think it does, but only because it doesn't want to achieve too much.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
It does look lovely on a massive screen

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
Probably not.

Will I watch it again?
I will.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
I didn't hear one this time around...

And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...

And my question for YOU is…
Since when has Greenwich been three stops away from Charing Cross on the tube?
For a scene that's essentially a joke anyway, a lengthier, more accurate answer would have made it far funnier

*1 Let's just clear this up now; we all know I'll be seeing this more than once. This was the first time.
*2 Well okay, morning. It was a midnight showing, after all.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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