THOR : THE DARK WORLD (2013) : REVIEW

October 31, 2013

"I gave you my word, that I would return."
After cleaning up the mess in New York (let's just say that it's the Post-Avenger time), the Mjölnir-throwing Asgardian god is back. And replacing Kenneth Branagh's 2011 predecessor is Game of Thrones' Alan Taylor. Now, judging from Alan's work on GOT (Remember that breathtaking Valar Morghulis, when Khaleesi was trying to save her dragons in the House of Dead? Priceless), I was expecting a mixture of fine action with impeccable eye-satisfaction level of visual effect. And in converted 3D. So, how was it?

Marvel's title sequence rolled and then we were presented by the backstory of Dark Elves of Svartalfheim (how to pronounce that, I have no clue), led by colorless Malekith (unrecognizable Christopher Eccleston) who was desperately after the blood-like powerful substantial called Aether (how powerful, we got no clue as they didn't even bother to elaborate). But, as the good always won, Thor (Chris Hemsworth)'s grandfather, Bor, defeated him and his whole army and then ordered one of his warrior to bury Aether deep where no one could find it (yeah, how sloppy, and of course, it'd be discovered). Moving on, we were taken back to present time, Post-Avenger time, when Loki (Tom Hiddleston) was imprisoned in a Manhattan-grand-looking-apartment prison in Asgard and Thor was busy hammering from world to world to clean up the whole mess Loki caused, especially after he destroyed Bifrost and also to prove his worth to be the next King of Asgard, replacing his old-man Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins). Meanwhile on Earth, not knowing that she had been monitored through Heimdall (Idris Elba) by her oh-my-God boyfriend, astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) was trying to get in touch with Thor, while dealing with her mad scientist friend Erik (Stellan Skarsgård) who was busy running around Stonehenge naked, and also her sarcastic intern Darcy (Kat Dennings) who also had an intern Ian (Jonathan Howard). Short story short, Jane was getting a mixed signal from an abandoned warehouse, where she found an odd-working gravity center, then all so sudden she was sucked into another dimension (without knowing it) and touched a strange looking stone which soon to be discovered as Aether, and yeah, she became the host of it. Knowing something was wrong, Thor came back to earth and discovered Jane's odd 'power' and brought her to Asgard. What they all didn't know was that Jane brought someone, an old enemy, back to life and that he was seeking for vengeance by coming after the Aether inside Jane, which needed to be done by the time The Convergence occurred (a rare phenomenom when 9 realms' gravities aligned and connected to each others, meaning that we could travel between dimensions freely, no Bifrost required; don't worry, if you don't quite get it, it'd be explained over and over again in the movie). Now, Thor must act once again to save Asgard and Jane, with the help of Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and the 'Warriors Three'; Volstagg (Ray Stevenson), Hogun (Tadanobu Asano) and Fandral (Zachary Levi, who was stepping in for Josh Dallas) and one unexpected person to come along, in the name of Asgard.

A piece of advice for you dear readers : don't overthink it. Don't overthink on how Jane was supposed to be dangerous yet dying which was proven to be a false occurance, on how she randomly found the Aether itself, and on how she got a blind date, no, stop thinking. Though science was pretty much mentioned in the movie, but I'm telling you, there was no science; it was all illogical, magical, Godly presented, with sprinkles of fiction and jawbreaking fantasy approach. Moving along, let's identify my 2 biggest expectations here : visual effect and action. Visually, it was fine, though I couldn't help but saying that Asgard looked breathtaking and grand, and that mouth-gaping moment of burial (whose? don't want to spoil). The converted 3D was OK in terms of depth and brightness, but it didn't affect much; it was kinda blurry though. As for the action; well it was heart-pumping, hand-fisting, jaw-droppingly fun with mass destructions and hammer flying back and forth. The final battle in London was perfectly executed as well, though could be categorized as another superheroes' cliché. But that was it. Then, one aspect really shone through : the fresh laugh. I didn't expect Thor to be filled with brainy but hillarious one-liners, hell I didn't even expect to have a great laugh while watching it (leave that to Iron Man, I thought). Last but not least, I really appreciate the twists and surprises there. And the cameos (let's not count Stan Lee in).

All compliments have been written in one thoughtful paragraph, now let's move along to the negative zone, shall we? I'm talking about the weak storyline here; like everything was just starting to happen then dissappear, then re-appear, without any explanations whatsoever. And the plot; it was so fast in the beginning, then when it reached the half-time, it started to drag (the Dark Elves attacking, retreating then plotting to attack again, Jane's folks on Earth worrying and trying to do I-have-no-idea-what, Asgardians anticipation and fear); it was just losing the steadyness only then be brought to live by the appearance of Loki himself. The entire 2-hours were also confusing as we were dragged to one dimension to another. But, the real disssapointment here was the main villain, which I am going to elaborate further in characters' study below.

Finally, an actual talking (and not just standing there, smiling prettily) from Thor's mom, Frigga (Rene Russo), and she did nail her brief portion. The side dishes were pretty satisfying as well; Jaimie with her guarded look, Levi-Asano-Stevenson with their loyalty for Thor which blatantly shown in each determined demeanors (as in jumping off the spaceship), Skarsgård  with his convincing and dropdead mad actions, Dennings with her sarcastic one-liners, and Hopkins with his domination on an eye-patch. Natalie Portman was a dissapointment here; she did good when in terms of elaborating scientific facts, but then she just stood there, not minding to engage, especially with Thor; no sparks there buddy. Then there's Hemsworth; he was just living the Godliness of Thor : muscular, powerful, with a little bit of anger, suave and snobbery and he was pretty much likable. Then, comes the grand villain portrayed by disguised Eccleston; either it was his heavy make up which was covering his chance to be discovered by the viewers for his intentions, motives and true natures or that he just didn't know where he was and who he should have been. No big speech for the pale villain, unfortunately. But then, I didn't define enough if I don't mention Hiddleston. He was clearly born to play Loki; with that skinny, tall and pale version of abandoned God, the witty and tricky one, with the best sarcastic humors ever thrown in the movie history. That saddened look in his eyes, that careful movements; he was the true-born villain, the essence of this very movie. But unfortunately, HIS APPEARANCE WASN'T ENOUGH. There. I NEED MORE OF LOKI.

Finally said, Thor : The Dark World couldn't exceed its predecessor, but it was a great watch. Definitely recommended. And please, do not leave the theatre until the screen blacked out, because there'll be 2 suprises waiting ;)


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