“Thor: The Dark World” reawakens Marvel’s Avengers franchise in thundering, 3D, universe-saving splendor. Thor returns to continue his hero’s journey in a predictable approach which is tantamount for movies of its ilk. The call to action, the doubt, the refusal to return are all part and parcel of Thor’s first and second journey in the franchise but it’s the recipe that audiences clamor for.
The movie does retain its sense of self-deprecating humor, which increases its IQ, and action abounds as director Alan Taylor doesn’t waste time with banal backstory and buildup. Also, several breakout performances propel the storyline from mere action fluff to a more engaging comedy, love story, drama and epic adventure.
Tom Hiddleston’s Loki once again steals the spotlight in both originality and performance while Chris Hemsworth’s enviable abs come in a close second. Although Loki fans will certainly get their fix, it may not be sufficient.
Idris Elba delivers another seamless performance as Heimdall. Elba does not require superfluous dialogue to show his acting mettle. He has mastered the art of packing infinite emotion in steely silences.
Another notable and frankly genius recital is served up by Stellan Skarsgard as the eccentric Dr. Erik Selvig. Playing crazy never seemed to make so much comical sense. As Selvig rants on about other worlds and supernatural Vikings, his character adds that touch of authenticity when one considers the reality of such unrealistic occurrences being forced into our modern landscape.
If a fully outfitted superhero riding the London tube isn’t sufficient comic relief, there are several reminders of the gaping differences Thor and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) must bridge in order to be together. Small touches, like politely hanging up your mystical hammer on a coat rack or getting cell reception in another world, are a way of spoofing the impossible and diffusing the heavy reliance on suspension of disbelief.
Jane’s blind date with Richard (Chris O’Dowd), as she attempts to move on from an absent Thor, is another dose of reality that should’ve been administered in higher doses. Marvel ought to consider a spin-off for O’Dowd and his superhero delivery and comedic timing.
“Thor’s“ mix of “Game of Thrones” meets “Star Wars” makes for some visually striking scenery but tends to underwhelm for its genre. Breathtaking, expansive scenery is required of any superhero space film and this one could’ve used some assistance in the CGI department.
Also the 3D seemed to be an afterthought and not an integral part of the film. It’s almost a disappointment that an action/adventure concept with so many flying objects, including Thor’s epic hammer, wouldn’t have at least something appear to dash out at the audience.
3D has become more of an overpriced marketing tool than a functional part of creating a richer interactive experience. Instead of increasing entertainment value to enhance audience immersion, 3D has almost become a chore. Audiences are forced to pay more and are required to wear over-sized, heavy glasses to compensate for a blurry screen. Of course the picture is more robust but it’s debatable whether it’s worth the cost.