thorWho Can You Trust?
Thor: The Dark World
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, Idris Elba, Christopher Eccleston, Kat Dennings, Zachary Levi, Jaimie Alexander and Rene Russo.
Director: Alan Taylor
Scriptwriters: Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely
Composer: Brian Tyler
Cinematographer: Kramer Morgenthau
Marvel/Disney Pictures
Rating: PG 13
Running Length: 115 minutes
The world is safe, Marvel Comic’s Thor and his Hammer are back in action. You just know someone who can swing that hammer like a tennis racket can take on anyone, and in “Thor: The Dark World,” he does. It’s like David meets Goliath in one section, where Thor wins handily, after the rest of his army is worn out from battle. One soldier quietly remarks, “Next time, why don't you take on the big one first?” There are fewer asides in this movie than the first “Thor” film, and, indeed, it is darker in story, with yet another enemy trying to take over the universe, this one not frozen as in the first film, but elfin, and not kindly elfin as in “The Hobbit” films. Revenge plays a part in the story as does conquer, friendship and loyalty.
The story begins with Thor’s grandfather fighting the Dark Elves, lead by Malekith (Christopher Eccleston from “Doctor Who“). They are defeated and the Dark Elves go into stasis mode while the Big Weapon called Aether that looks like red smoke, is hidden forever. You know this means someone will find it, or rather, it finds someone and that is Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), Thor’s (Hemsworth) girlfriend on Earth. She and her sister (Kat Dennings) discover a sort of wormhole in an old building. Jane is sucked into it and the Aether enters her body. Anyone who comes near her with mean intent is blasted across the room, and before long the Dark Elves are awakened, Thor and his father (Anthony Hopkins) know there is trouble across the universe and Loki (Tom Hiddleston who always steals his scenes and is Thor’s adopted brother) is needed, so hauled out of prison from his escapades in the first film. Jane lands on Asgard and is protected by Thor’s step-mother, Frida (Rene Russo who is handy with a sword). Earth people are frowned upon by the Asgard’s, who like to think of themselves as god-like because they live several thousand years, compared to a hundred or so for earthlings.
Thus is the set-up---to get the Aether from Jane, prevent the Dark Elves from getting the Aether, to pull together Jane’s scientific team from Earth (including Stellan Skarsgard who runs around in underwear) as they can figure out just about anything, and get Thor’s team together to fight (including Jaime Alexander, Zachary Levi and Ray Stevenson.) Now, the fun begins, with special effects, rousing soundtrack (compliments of Brian Tyler), Malekith proclaiming how he will destroy everything, and Loki waiting in the background for his turn to fight. All this before the alignment of the worlds which is causing wormholes on Earth. Loki may be the one to help the Asgards, but can he be trusted after years in a prison? It all really lies on him and Hiddleston does well in this role.
I thought the film was slow in the first half with only the soundtrack to keep everything going. There is a certain mythology here, mixing names such as Thor and Odin with other worlds and cultures, Gatekeepers and living thousands of years, one almost needs an index. However, in the last half, with the players in position---Thor, Loki, Malekith, Jane, the Aether, two armies and the Gatekeeper (Idris Elba)---the universe rumbles. Humor comes from unexpected objects coming through wormholes onto Earth or other places, Loki and Thor trading remarks, Jane and her sister trading remarks, Skarsgard trying to explain why he works in underwear and driving on the other side of the road in England. There are tender moments and intense battle scenes.
Chris Hemsworth as Thor has enough muscles for two guys and is mostly action here, but he can emote, too. Natalie Portman is the dithering one, awkward and out-of-place on Asgard, which she does well. No emotion required. Kit Dennings as her sister, gives Portman a run for her money in the quip section. Tom Hiddleston as Loki, with a thinner body frame, uses body language and speech to get his point across. Anthony Hopkins, eye patch and all, takes center stage when he is there, which isn't often and Rene Russo as his wife, has her own scenes that she shines in. A mother to a step-son and an adopted son and the boys are always fighting. All in the family.
Be sure to sit through the credits, which go on and on, as there are two, not one, special scenes for Marvel Comic fans.
Copyright 2013 Marie Asner