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Thundering Action – A review of Thor: The Dark World
Title: Thor: The Dark World
Production Company: Marvel Studios
Run Time: 112 minutes
Director: Alan Taylor
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston
Summary: Chris Hemsworth proves again that he’s more than just a pretty face as he takes on dark elves and an evil step-brother in this highly anticipated sequel.
Set-up movies can be incredibly annoying and even a bit ingratiating for those who already know the characters, but they are a necessary evil. Once you get the formality of the introductions out of the way, the characters can stretch their legs and show what they’re really made of.
Such is the case with Thor: The Dark World. Since this is the third time we’ve seen him on the big screen, we already know what the thunder god can do and what Chris Hemsworth is capable of within the confines of the character.
The same can be said of the supporting characters as well. A good number of the original cast is back for round two, including Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Rene Russo as Thor’s mother Frigga, a litany of other Asgardians, and even a host of human devotees like Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), Dr. Eric Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) and hunk worshipping Darcy (Kat Dennings)
This time out, Thor must stop a dark elf from unleashing the Aether, a substance that will ultimately plunge the universe into darkness. As plots go, this one may sound ho-hum, but it gets more interesting when the Aether finds its way into Jane Foster’s body and Thor must stop it before it consumes and destroys his love interest.
Confiding in and enlisting the aid of Loki may seem like the ultimate worst of all bad ideas, but Tom Hiddleston makes the most of the situation, managing to twist and coerce with every nuance in his being.
Is there any wonder that everyone wants the mischievous imp locked up for all eternity?
Dr. Selvig manages to steal a scene or two, specifically with a wardrobe challenged (and fortunately pixilated) newscast where he accosts tourists at the historic Stonehenge. Later on, he manages to enthrall a mesmerized menagerie of mental misfits (including Marvel mastermind Stan Lee) at a local nuthouse.
New additions to the cast this round include Christopher Eccleston (fanboys and girls may remember him as Doctor Who or as Claude on Heroes) as the Dark Elf leader Malekith. He is particularly sinister in this role and I suspect we’ll see him playing other antagonists in the not-too-distant future.
And John Howard gets to steal a scene or two as Ian, Darcy’s intern/slave/boy toy. I’m not sure how he learns to take the abuse, but he handles it extremely well.
The story is not without its problems, though. How the Aether manages to lure and finally infuse itself on Jane Foster is never quite satisfactorily explained. Also, the story could use some more exposition in points where the plot becomes less clear. But overall, it’s a funtastic (yes, fun-tastic) diversion that’s a perfect lead-in for the holiday movie season.
Be sure to stick around for the end credits. Marvel has, once again, planted a couple of Easter eggs that will whet our appetites for the next installment in the series. And of course Thor will be back in 2015’s Avengers II. (I can’t wait!)
Oh, and in case you’re like me and are anxiously awaiting Captain America’s return to the big screen next spring, this film manages to even tease a bit on that front as well with a fun little cameo by our shield wielding WWII hero (just in time for Veteran’s Day).
Movies like this aren’t rocket science, but they are box office gangbusters. This one is well worth checking out. I give Thor: The Dark World 4 out of 5 stars.