The second film in Marvel’s Phase Two of releasing, is the follow to up 2011′s rousing and unexpectedly humorous, Thor. This new film keeps the humor intact but there’s something light and insubstantial about this movie. It almost floats away as you watch it, and it dissipates from memory just as quickly.
This time out Thor must engage in battle with an ancient enemy older than Earth, who is intent on enslaving all in the nine realms of the universe. While the first movie took place largely in a dusty remote town in New Mexico, the majority of this sequel is set in the mythical city of Asgard. This would seem to be the ideal opportunity for creative enhancement but for all it’s proclamations and noisy battle sequences there is little creativity onscreen. Chris Hemsworth is once again ideally cast as the mythical god of Thunder and Natalie Portman slums through her role with an almost bashful annoyance.
Jane Foster (Portman) is transported from present day London, where she still pines for Thor, to Asgard, putting her life in jeopardy and giving the movie a reason to exists. There is a lot of nonsense involving the aligning of planets and ports that link worlds. Jane’s very presence in Asgard threatens the existence of all Asgardians, due to an infection she carries, caused by the cursed Aether. Got all that?
If the first film struggled; it was only in merging a romantic comedy into a superhero effects film, unfortunately the sequel fumbles these two elements again. Shoe-horned into the talk of alliances and treachery is a love triangle between Thor, Jane and Sif (Jamie Alexander). She an Asgardian warrior very much in love with Thor and concerned for his well-being, and a perfect fit for a future Queen in the eyes of aging King Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Meanwhile Loki (Tom Hiddleston) remains the beating life to these movies and his playful manner is even more reminiscent of vintage Alan Rickman.
Thor: The Dark World lacks an awe factor, sense of purpose, and personality — all the things that make superhero escapism worthwhile. The action-set pieces are too stale to instill the sense of wonder critical to great fantasy films. It’s undone by a murky palette, silly romantic clichés, dumb dialogue and a confusing climactic sequence. Ultimately it is a crudely written and clunky adventure story, haphazardly acted, and intermediately fun. Yet, the sub–Game of Thrones action is more dulling than rousing.
Director: Alan Taylor
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston