Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Eons ago, Bor – father of Odin, vanquished the Dark Elves led by Malekith, who sought to return the universe to its state before creation using a force called the Aether. Fighting off Malekith’s enhanced warriors the Kursed, Bor contains the Aether within a stone column. Unbeknownst to him, Malekith, his lieutenant Algrim and others escape into suspended animation.
Present day – London. Jane Foster is summoned by her colleague Darcy to an abandoned factory, where a few children have discovered a tear in time / physics; mainly a stairwell, which when an object is thrown down it, reappears above them – or vanishes forever. And then of course, there’s the case of a 30-tonne truck which can be lifted and spun in circles with a single finger..
But it seems there is more to this tear in physics than just vanishing tricks.. worlds are colliding – a cosmic alignment of The Nine Realms is about to take place, and Jane is about to be drawn into a terrifying prophecy. As worlds collide, Jane’s is about to be torn apart – at the same time as the fall of Asgard.
Unless of course, Thor – God of Thunder – can swoop in and save them. Time is running out, but unfortunately fate won’t be so kind to one of them…
Long-adoring fans of Marvel and its super sci-fi creations might just love this movie. Its everything you want and need from Marvel, with a bit of comic action thrown in. (comic – comedy, not the actual paper comic). Thor: The Dark World is slick, colourful and delivers constant action – whilst sticking to its story and not veering off in the direction of ‘action movie’.
As I sat there last night waiting for the movie to begin, I was dubious about how it would unfold; if I’d be kept entertained long enough. I must admit, the opening scenes where the narrator did the whole, “once upon a dark moon, there was a lovely King who was gracious to his people. But one sunny day..” bollocks, I raised my eyebrows – rolled my eyes – and thought, “aah…shit. What a load of cheese”..
The movie kept me entertained throughout. I realised this feature is a perfect blend of traditional storytelling and war, and present day modern politics. That classic mixing element is brilliant, isn’t it? You know: wise, admirable Gods who rule their world with passion and rage, yet who keep awfully good posture at the same time.. and then of course – ignorant, lazy Brits / Americans – full of attitude, rely on modern technology 24/7, and would probably run away instead of rule. Bring these two worlds together, and its a clash of epic proportions when ‘admirable’ meets ‘attitude’.
The cast couldn’t have been more suited. Chris Hemsworth – say no more. We all know what he’s like in (and luckily out of) that cape; stern, moody, big and domineering – the director chose exactly the right actor to play Thor. Everything about him – his posture, the way he stands and holds that mallet thing, his gorgeous blond hair – just superb. He’s done an ancient God proud.
Natalie Portman is good.. but not great. In all honesty, her impact on screen in this movie was like farting – “ooh, its coming.. oop, there we are. Ok, its gone” kind of thing. Long brown hair and wide eyes only add to the bland atmosphere she creates, and to be honest it was her colleague Darcy (Kat Dennings) who stirred more dynamic when they were in a scene together. Whereas Darcy seemed to hit the comedic timing spot-on, Jane just seemed to stand there like a lost puppy. But then perhaps this is how her character is supposed to be.
Nice to see the likes of Christopher Eccleston and Anthony Hopkins onboard. Hopkins portrayal of Odin was splendid; gruff and shouty – you could tell he ruled the kingdom, my God. The winning element for him in this was his character – he’s very different from the usual chin-up, straight-back, hands-behind-back old man we usually get. And not to mention Tom Hiddleston as posh-speaking Loki – Asgard’s answer to Casper (I.E. he’s practically Albino) manages to uphold his subtle yet scary character – and this time round, he’s funnier, bolder. And delivers some superb comic moments too.
And Eccleston – just you wait for his presence on screen.. just his face is bloody terrifying!
Special effects are what lace this movie with the kick it needs, and they are bloody epic. Before we’ve even entered Asgard, there’s a bridge to cross – it seems to be made of glass. Its glossy and rainbow-coloured, and beautiful. Of course once we’re over the bridge, we are surrounded by sky-high pillars and temples of golden stone, vast misty skies and foaming seas. Baron, rocky landscapes that resemble once-roaring volcanoes lay the scene for most of the battle scenes. And the transition between worlds – incredible; a murky ‘between-worlds’ gives way to two completely separate habitats. The Director did good here.
Chris Hemsworth plays Thor. There must be many characteristics an actor would take into account if given such a role. Chris does that deep husky tone – its good. Godly, even. But every time he opened his mouth I couldn’t help thinking, “are you actually taking the piss?”.. Mr Hemsworth seems to carry off that classic mock-tone. For example, you know when a little child mimics the tone of voice of their parent – or is in a school play and stumbles on stage, going “raaar, I’m the dad” in that classic roaring ‘chin towards chest, roaring out a voice much deeper than their own’ style. This reminds me of Chris’s performance – just without the physical aspect; he seems to display the ‘Gift Of Mimic’ without effort.
During Thor: The Dark World, there are plenty of comic moments which are much needed and well received. One moment that stands out, is toward the end of the movie where our mallet-wielding hero battles Malekith, and during the process, time-jumps from place to place. Jane and her colleagues are set up on the river-front in Greenwich – aiming to shift energy where the Nine Realms meet with their scientific gear.
Unfortunately, Thor has shifted in time himself, and ends up on platform 2 of Charing Cross Underground. The tube doors slide open, and as our ancient God faces 2013 rush-hour commuters, he says “how do I get to Greenwich?” – to which a smartly suited woman responds, “get on, three stops from ‘ere”
Thor promptly embarks the tube train, stands amongst the confused passengers, holds on to the hand rail – and the doors slide closed. Needless to say the audience erupted in joyous laughter. This scene was bloody funny.
Hats off to Kevin Feige and Alan Taylor; producer and director of this film. They stuck true to the story, whilst keeping it incredibly simple. Before it began, I thought “oh Christ – long, strung-out battle scenes, and enemies walking slowly back and forth in front of each other..” – this wasn’t the case. What we have here is a story, its characters – and good old fashioned action. The movie moves at a pace fast enough to keep up with, and what is supposed to happen happens – without delay. Brilliant.
Thor: The Dark World is very watchable. Let it run, and let it wash over you. Its entertaining without being painful.
(Oh, and watch out for the split-second appearance of a certain Avenger. Could it be Avengers Re-Assembled?..)