wogma rating: The keen should rent; else TV/online (?)
An underwhelming sequel to the first film, Thor: The Dark World, directed by Alan Taylor, can only be watched because Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston are good fun as Thor and Loki. Otherwise, the film isn’t much more than a carrot to keep audiences happy till 2015’s Avengers film.Read more
For a film of the scale and setting of Thor: The Dark World, what really makes or breaks it is how much you’re invested, not in the hero, but in the villain of the enterprise, and what grandiose plans he has to unleash his evil on the world. Among the many factors that make the sequel to Thor a bit of a drag, the one at the forefront is the fact that the grand calamity that threatens to befall the universe is such a convoluted mess that you don’t really care whether it happens or not.
Like Iron Man 3, this film too picks up from where last year’s The Avengers ended. Thor and Loki are back on their home planet Asgard, under the reign of their father Odin. Loki, of course, is thrown into prison for his mischief of the previous films. Meanwhile, in another corner of the universe, evil is brewing in the form of Malekith, leader of a race known as the Dark Elves.
While Thor: The Dark World falls right into the series of standalone films of the characters from The Avengers in terms of sheer magnitude, the film suffers because it just doesn’t interest you enough. Sure, it has the set pieces, the visual quality and a couple of characters – Thor and Loki, namely – who manage to keep you interested when they’re around. But in terms of plot, The Dark World can only be described as underwhelming and ineffective.
What’s surprising is that unlike the Iron Man and Captain America films, which at the very least seem to be getting bigger and better with each subsequent release, Thor: The Dark World isn’t even nearly as much plain old fun like 2011’s Thor was. Sure, the VFX looks grander and the overall dimensions of the film are aimed at making your jaw drop; but it rarely succeeds in doing so, because the narrative of the film is yawn-inducing at best.
Also, director Alan Taylor, who was roped in for the sequel doesn’t quite seem to have a hold on his characters and the story the way Kenneth Branagh, who directed the first installment, did. In fact, one sorely misses some of the elegant close-ups of the previous film, which spoke so much in the most minimalist manner.
Expectedly, Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston as Thor and Loki respectively, are the only real saving graces of the film. Hiddleston, in particular, has such a magnetic screen presence and gets the best lines – and the most interesting character graph – in the film. While Natalie Portman as Thor’s lady love Jane Foster looks gorgeous, she is saddled with a role not nearly worthy of her. Also, when filmmakers will stop giving us dumb-blonde-meets-physics-genius type female characters is anybody’s guess. As for Anthony Hopkins as Odin, the less said the better.
Obviously, then, the most important part that this new Thor film plays is keeping us occupied while we wait, first, for next year’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and then 2015’s big one – The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Thor: The Dark World has a tiny cameo by another Avenger and an interesting-enough mid-credits tidbit in the end to make fanboys and fangirls salivate at the prospect of Joss Whedon’s next Avengers extravaganza. Until then, there’s only so much that this film can do.
This article is by guest author Pradeep Menon. Pradeep is a filmmaker and a dreamer. He loves books, rain, winters, tea and his parents. Cinema, however, is the only truth he believes in. He breathes and bleeds film, mostly in hues of saffron, white, green and blue. You can watch his short films at www.youtube.com/cyberpradeep.
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