THOR: THE DARK WORLD
Genre: Superhero Action
Running Time: 111 mins.
Premise: Thor (Chris Hemsworth) reunites with Jane (Natalie Portman), and takes her to Asgard, after she's infected by an evil substance called the Aether. Dark Elf Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) wants to use the Aether to control the universe, so it's up to Thor, with the dubious help of villainous brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), to stop him.
Behind-the-Scenes: Director Alan Taylor is a TV veteran, having helmed well-respected episodes of Mad Men, The Sopranos, and Game of Thrones, the last of which probably got him this gig. There are two end credits stingers that you'll want to stick around for, and show up to the flick early because there's a six-minute long Captain America trailer that precedes it. And, it looks amazing.
The Good: The movie is a blast. It's exceptionally well-paced, loaded with just the right amount of humor, and consistently visually interesting (except maybe the Earth-bound scenes, which, thankfully, are much fewer this time around). It improves upon the first Thor in nearly every way. Nice to see Rene Russo and Idris Elba's roles expanded. Marvel has done a bang-up job of tying all of its disparate cinematic universes together and building on what's come before. The relationship between Thor and Loki is the heart of the film, and when the two of them are together, Thor soars. Hemsworth and Hiddleston own these roles by now and display remarkable command and confidence as actors at all times. The climactic action sequence is appropriately spectacular and cleverly staged. There are several plot threads left dangling, which only whets the appetite for more Avengers and Thor sequels.
The Bad: It takes a while to get its footing. The first half-hour is a bit rough, and, though the movie frequently toes the line between cool and silly, it too often slips into silly territory in the beginning. Portman doesn't have the comedic chops required of her character, and seems out of it for most of the movie (sometimes due to the plot, sometimes not). Her scenes opposite Hemsworth are supposed to make audiences swoon, but, really, we just want to see Hemsworth and Hiddleston together. If you stop to think about the movie for too long at any given point, it won't make a lick of sense.
Should You See It?: Yes. Marvel fans should be very pleased.
Star Rating: ***1/2 out of 5 stars.
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