Saturday, November 16, 2013

Thor: The Dark World, a Review

I know I'm a week late on this one, but in my defense, I had to marshal up a lot of desire to sit through a film I was moderately sure I wouldn't enjoy. I'm far more of a "Batman" or "Punisher" kind of comic book lover, but I do enjoy the odd cheese-ball that Marvel can occasionally put forth.

Thor: The Dark World, is a film about a nasty substance that looks like a liquid form of what we call, the macguffin. It's nasty, its mean and you are pretty sure you don't want it inside you. Other than that, some villains want it and its up to the bumbling nilly Thor to save the day. While bringing along the real reason we're all here: Loki.

TECHNICAL

The film certainly looks pretty, for the most part. Asgard is nicely rendered, if a bit futuristic LotR-y. But still. Looks nice and pretty in the morning sun. The other realms are unmemorable, with one just looking like a dirty schoolyard sandbox. Thor flies around and smashes stuff, throws his mighty hammer about and ultimately, saves…something.

Seriously. It does look rather nice. I enjoyed the makeup on that Doctor Who dude.

NARRATIVE

Ultimately for me, I though the film faltered most here. The first half has some amusing moments, and the film seems to work best when it isn't blowing stuff up and instead focuses on the supreme goofiness of a flying goldilocks swinging a massive hammer. Him using the Subway, while funny in a broad sense, is more of less unnecessary when you think that he can kinda fly.

Maybe what I disliked most about the film was that it really doesn't need to exist. The character drama is largely bulky and superficial, with Stellan Skarsgard being reduced to running around barely clothed, Darcy quipping about interns and Jane Foster being, well, just hanging around. The aether, which is a killer, does very little to effect her except make her sleepy. Sounds more like a depressant than a world killer. I did make my wife laugh when I intoned that the main villain was the 'anti-Logos.' Given that his motivation is as emotionally investing as a dead cat swinging from a ceiling fan, I suspect that inserting said dead cat would've enlivened the final battle.

Actually, watching Thor beat a dead animal kinda sums up my feelings on the film as a whole.

THEMATIC

Well, I suppose that Thor giving up his birthright could've been explored in a meaningful way. The first Thor, flawed as it was, did portray him as someone who needed to grow up. Here, he makes decisions mostly out of screenwriting necessity. He seems to be simply an agent to move us between set pieces. The little moments of Thor acting 'human' are genuinely fun. Hanging the hammer up is one of those said moments. When the 'gods' act human, they tend to be more interesting. Here, they are detached to the point of being laughably tedious.

Anthony Hopkins and Idris Elba are fun, if underused as usual. The use of darkness and light as reoccurring motifs is fun, when they mention it, mostly because I get to intone my previously mentioned 'anti-Logos' comment. Usually resulting in my wife laughing.

CONCLUSION

Seriously though, there is plenty of material here that could've been mined to create a worthwhile action flick. This is not to say that the film isn't fun enough, or that there aren't some LOL moments. But beside the few moments of genuinely funny/intriguing material are washed over by an ocean of "well, I didn't expect them to not do much of this anyway so I can't be disappointed." Loki is really the only reason to watch this.

Of course, watching my sister twitter in delight whenever he was on-screen almost made up for the rest of this film.

2 stars out of 5.

--Nick

2 comments:

  1. Being included in your posts is a dream come true. *twitter, twitter*

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    1. Seriously. Looking over and watching you 'ahhhhhhhh' was awesome. Well worth the money. ;)

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