The God of Thunder returns and is forced to battle with an ancient foe who seeks to return the universe to darkness so that his dark elves may once again rule the universe. The problem is that Odin has forbid Thor from doing what he must do so he has to turn to Loki to help him save Jane Foster’s life.
Chris Hemsworth (Avengers, Cabin in the Woods, Snow White and the Huntsman)
Natalie Portman (V For Vendetta, Black Swan, Léon: The Professional)
Tom Hiddleston (Avengers, Midnight in Paris, War Horse)
Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs, The Elephant Man, Hannibal)
Christopher Eccleston (28 Days Later, Doctor Who, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra)
Directed by Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones, The Sopranos)
Written by Christopher Yost (The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes), Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (Captain America: The First Avenger)
There is no doubt in my mind that Thor: The Dark World was the film I was most looking forward to in this last quarter of the year. I can’t remember if I did any lists of the films I was most looking forward to this year but I’d have to imagine that Thor would be second on that list and that’s purely because Iron Man is probably my favourite superhero and Iron Man 3 was doing the Mandarin who is my favourite Iron Man villain. And with my slight disappointment at one large aspect of Iron Man 3 (I won’t spoil it just in case but anyone who’s seen it could probably guess), that left this film with a chance to take some of the glory away from Iron Man 3 and possibly snatch the prestigious title of my favourite superhero movie of the year.
I think it probably has pipped Man of Steel to the crown this year, I think what has taken it is that there’s a lot going on in this and it comes together nicely. There’s a good three or four little things which happen and are forgotten about and then they crop up later on and that sort of thing pleases me. It’s good writing and tying things together is something I love to see in films and tv shows. This film in general was very well written, the pace is kept high and the action has the right frequency – it’s used a lot but most people would expect that with a Thor film but it still retains enough novelty with the battles being slightly different each time. A lot of criticisms were levelled at Man of Steel for the battles being a bit samey where it was just Superman and Zod punching each other through buildings and also the amount of destruction of Metropolis was something Superman would try to avoid, well Thor manages to avoid those two and again, that’s good writing. I’m not surprised that it’s such a well penned script, Yost has written a lot of comics and I recognise his name from his X-Force work which was very good. He’s also written a fair few of the animated Marvel and DC shows. McFeely and Markus worked on the first Captain America film and have written the second one as well. There’s an abundance of experience in this three man team and it’s got a nice balance to it with experience in comics, tv and films. It really shows in the quality of the script.
Another superhero movie and another fantastically put together cast. Chris Hemsworth, of course, returns as our titular god (although Odin doesn’t like that term). He’s good, the thing with Thor is that he really needs to be playing off of other characters so it helps Hemsworth immensely that he’s got a veteran like Anthony Hopkins and someone like Hiddleston who has only really come to the forefront in the last two years or so. Hemsworth is fine, there isn’t too much scope for him to work but there’s a few scenes where he gets to show and they’re good scenes. Natalie Portman is alright, her character does not help her here. She has a lot of screentime but her character doesn’t really do very much. Most of it is her just hanging about. She’s got a few scenes near the start and she also has some comedic lines which she delivered well but I felt that Portman was probably wasted a bit because she’s such a talented actress. Far and away the most interesting character was portrayed, superbly, by Tom Hiddleston. Whilst Loki is the most intriguing role, don’t let that take away from what is another fantastic performance from Hiddleston. He just has this character down to a tee, I really pity whoever has to play this role in the future because at this point, it’s like taking the role of Tony Stark or The Joker. It’s a tough ask. Anthony Hopkins puts in a good performance too, Odin doesn’t really do that much, so there isn’t a lot to judge him on. Christopher Eccleston steps in as the villain of the piece and he is very good. I’m not familiar with Malekith but from Eccleston’s portrayal, I’m guessing that he’s a very stony-faced type villain, doesn’t show much emotion but is calculating and ruthless. That certainly came across from Eccleston’s portrayal. The support cast is huge here and very few of them get much screentime. Idris Elba, Jaimie Alexander, Zachary Levi, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano and Rene Russo all return as their respective Asgardians. The only fault may be their usage, especially Sif (Alexander) since she figures for so little in this film. Kat Dennings and Stellan Skarsgard also return as Darcy and Erik, bringing back their charm and humour with them. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje comes into the franchise as Kurse, he’s very good, I’m a big fan of him from his Lost days and he plays this role very well. Final shoutout has to go to Chris O’Dowd for a fantastic cameo/minor role, he was hilarious but I just love seeing him get roles in big Hollywood films (like Bridesmaids) because he’s awesome!
This film looks great. From the CGI shots (of which there are many) to the fighting scenes and everything in between – a lot of skill has gone into crafting this. I had some expectations, I’m not familiar with Alan Taylor’s work (I’ve got seasons 1 and 2 of Game of Thrones, I just haven’t had the time to watch them yet) but a friend of mine is and he told me that he does good work. Following on from Kenneth Branagh is tough because he did a great job on the first Thor film but Taylor does well. I think this is probably worse than the first film just purely because Loki is not the main villain but isn’t really anyone’s fault, Loki couldn’t be the villain again as that’d be repetitive so they did the best they could so I can’t fault them for that.
Overall, this is a very enjoyable film. It’s got great action, it’s well written and it’s just a lot of fun. It’s got a whole bunch of twists and turns in that third act which keeps it fresh. And of course, stick around after the credits because there’s stingers!
Stuart Ross – @forehead7 – 8/10