Before I saw Thor I was worried that it was going to be a dreary, po-faced movie about a guy who had no sense of humour, but one mighty hammer. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. Thor turned out to be surprisingly entertaining, thanks to the humour mixed through it and some absolutely gorgeous visuals.
Thor: The Dark World is, it turns out, the movie that I feared Thor would be. It’s not a bad film, per se, but it’s the weakest Marvel movie in recent years and lacks a sense of humour (although it does try).
Chris Hemsworth returns, of course, as Thor, the mighty wielder of Mjölnir. This time around he is faced with an enemy (Christopher Eccleston), the leader of the Dark Elves, who wants to get his hand on a weapon that can destroy worlds. That weapon is known as the Aether, and it turns out that it’s managed to become part of Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). Thor wants to save Jane, save his home planet, and just stop everything being turned to darkness. In order to do that, he ends up enlisting the help of his imprisoned brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston). But can he trust him?
Written by Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, there’s plenty of inventiveness in this movie, thanks to an anomaly that creates wormholes allowing for matter to be transported to other realms. I may be over-simplifying it, but that’s the basics of it. This makes for the best parts of the movie, and factors into the climax for a battle that almost makes up for all that viewers have sat through beforehand.
The returning cast, and pretty much everyone comes back (as well as Hemsworth, Portman and Hiddleston, we get the return of Anthony Hopkins, Rene Russo, Jaimie Alexander, Ray Stevenson, Kat Dennings, Idris Elba and Stellan Skarsgard), all do well in their roles, but none of the supporting players are given much to work with, excepting Kat Dennings, who seems to make a great impression once again just by sheer force of will. The focus is on Hemsworth, Portman, Eccleston (unrecognisable under some impressive make up) and Hiddleston, with everyone else either popping up to be put in harm’s way, or to remind other characters of plot points.
The direction from Alan Taylor is fine, I guess, but it’s hard not to think that he should have built on the foundations laid by the preceding movies, instead of serving up something a bit too sombre and drab, with some Loki goodness thrown in to keep the raving hordes of Hiddleston fans happy. Don’t get me wrong, Hiddleston deserves raving hordes of fans, but his scenes here feel like easy pandering to the audience.
The technical side of things is well handled, but this film has no heart. It has some romance, some spectacle, and one or two moments to make you smile. But it all feels like nothing more than a cash-grab. All blockbusters are, in a way, cash-grabs, but the best ones, and I include most of the recent Marvel films in that number, manage to do enough to distract you from that central conceit. This doesn’t.
DIRECTOR: ALAN TAYLOR
WRITER: CHRISTOPHER YOST, CHRISTOPHER MARKUS, STEPHEN MCFEELY
STARS: CHRIS HEMSWORTH, NATALIE PORTMAN, TOM HIDDLESTON, CHRISTOPHER ECCLESTON, ANTHONY HOPKINS, JAIMIE ALEXANDER, RAY STEVENSON, ZACHARY LEVI, IDRIS ELBA, KAT DENNINGS, STELLAN SKARSGARD
RUNTIME: 112 MINS APPROX