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Thor: The Dark World

by Leonard Maltin
November 8, 2013 1:08 PM
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Loki and Thor-The Dark World-680
Photo Courtesy of Marvel

I can’t predict what Marvel fans will make of the second movie showcasing Thor, the Norse hero with the mighty hammer. It lacks the heavy-handedness of the first film, thank goodness, and tries to retain some of its loopy humor (involving modern-day earthlings played by Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgård, and Kat Dennings), but the whole thing feels like an excuse for a movie rather than a story that begged to be told.

It seems that years ago the Dark Elves, led by Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), threatened the kingdom of Asgard, and while they were vanquished a small band of survivors still lurk in the wings. And who should discover their long-dormant weapon, a deadly vapor, than Portman in modern-day London? (Why are she and her scientific friends in London? Don’t ask.) This crisis summons Thor to rescue her and the game is on.

The breakout star of the first movie, who truly came into his own in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, is Tom Hiddleston as Thor’s wicked and vengeful half-brother Loki. Fittingly, he gets all the best moments in The Dark World, and the actor clearly relishes the way his character enjoys being evil. This makes the resolution of the story somewhat inscrutable, not to mention illogical. I dare not reveal any of the details.

Chris Hemsworth is appropriately hunky, Anthony Hopkins is royally grumpy, and other actors like Idris Elba, Rene Russo, and Ray Stevenson do what they can with two-dimensional material. For Marvel fans who love being immersed in that universe, the mere presence of these characters, along with a plethora of visual effects and action may be enough. For me, Thor: The Dark World lacks originality and purpose. One delicious character does not justify a lumbering spectacle.

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  • Ted Whitney | November 10, 2013 4:17 PMReply

    I personally haven't seen this movie yet, though I certainly plan on seeing it soon, but I would like to say this: before people start getting too unenthused by such a film as this, perhaps we should just think of Thor as one of the three appetizers that come before the meal... if you catch my drift. Judging from the previous Avengers film, we should only be more excited by what a feast it will be. Just food for thought.

  • Stephen Ledesma | November 8, 2013 8:59 PMReply

    It simply did what a comic book film is supposed to entertained the audience. No more, no less. There was enthusiastic applause which I added to as the film came to an end. It was certainly much better than "Iron Man 3"...what a revoltin' development THAT was! Some times these reviewers simply need to put down the magnifying glass and just lay back and enjoy the movie.

  • anon | November 11, 2013 7:17 AM

    I am sick and tired of the attitude comic book geeks have when it comes to these movies. Why should "reviewers" need to dumb themselves down? It is their job to look at movies and then provide their own opinions (a very developed opinion by the way, built from decades of watching movies in Maltin's case). Their job isn't to "just lay back and enjoy the movie". That's your job. And that's why you aren't a film critic.

  • Fred | November 9, 2013 12:06 AM

    I agree 100% with you, these critics act like these films should all of a sudden be period pieces or something. With the exception of about 10 comic book films critics have always turned they noses up at them as if they're beneath them or something, Just because they give one a good review every now and then doesn't sell me on them, I still think they have that we're too good for these kind of films mentality, when in reality they're just flawed individuals like the rest of us.

  • Norm | November 8, 2013 7:55 PMReply

    Hard to believe they couldn't come up with a better story line after the hundreds/thousands of terrific comics put out by Kirby/Sinnott...Nuff said"...

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