UK Release Date: 30th October 2013
Runtime: 112 minutes
Director: Alan Taylor
Writer: Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Christopher Eccleston, Anthony Hopkins
Synopsis: When the dark elves threaten all Nine Realms, Asgard’s hero must team with his treacherous brother to restore order.
A new Marvel film is always a big deal. After Iron Man 3 wooed just about everyone except me though, Thor: The Dark World was by no means a sure thing. Fortunately, the crazy world of Asgard and the Nine Realms is on solid form here and once again proves to be the joker in the comic book pack.
When Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is shown supernatural events, she finds herself becoming a vessel for a powerful force called the Aether, which is coveted by Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), leader of the Dark Elves. Taken to Asgard for her own protection by Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Jane is pursued by Malekith and Thor must team up with his devious, imprisoned brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to save Jane and restore peace to the Nine Realms.
Ever wanted to see the Norse god of thunder on the London Underground? Fancy watching an aeons-old elf decimate Greenwich? This is Thor in the UK and it’s absolutely brilliant.
Thor: The Dark World follows Iron Man 3 as a post-Whedon Marvel film. Unlike its immediate predecessor though, The Dark World is a film that gets the balance between action, drama and, of course, comedy absolutely right. Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor brings real quality to the film’s fantasy battle sequences, but he proves equally adept at marshalling scenes of quiet comedy and emotional drama.
In fact, from a visual perspective, Thor: The Dark World may be the strongest of the Marvel series so far. Asgard has never looked so beautiful and London appears every bit as cinematic as New Mexico did in the 2011 original film.
Chris Hemsworth’s performance here as Thor kicks up a notch from the character’s previous appearances, with his usual perfect deadpan delivery combined with a real aptitude for ensuring that the physical gags stay on the right side of farcical. Thor: The Dark World might be Marvel’s funniest film, and it’s due to Hemsworth that the jokes land so perfectly.
But there’s no doubt who the real star is here, and Tom Hiddleston’s Loki steals every scene in which he appears. He’s the best thing the Marvel franchise has going for it and so Thor: The Dark World wisely gives him plenty of screentime. However, Loki’s prominence does seem to come at the expense of Christopher Eccleston’s Malekith – a great villain given very little to do. And the less said about the hideously under-written female roles, the better.
This is in fact the main problem with Thor: The Dark World. It feels as if it was pressurised to fit a runtime below two hours. Important exposition scenes are rushed, Natalie Portman, Rene Russo and Jaimie Alexander are routinely shunted out of the story and there isn’t even close to enough Malekith. The film does work hugely well in its current form, but it’s about 15-20 minutes away from being the best of the Marvel movies.
Pop or Poop?
Thor: The Dark World is pure popcorn cinema. Marvel has embraced the idea of what a blockbuster movie should be more than perhaps any other studio, and this is that ideology distilled into two great hours.
It’s a little rushed, a trifle messy and sidelines its women, but there’s an awful lot of fun to be had here with jokes and action in every frame. Iron Man 3 has been left completely in the dark here, as the fantasy genius of the Norse gods leads Marvel’s second phase into top gear.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.