The sequel’s smash and brawl leave Earth for other realms, which finally gives it the intergalactic action that’s missed in the original. Asgard looks more like a Viking world rather than a CGI postcard. The final battle does a playful yet action-packed take on portals.
Natalie Portman is a fine damsel in distress. Rene Russo finally gets something to do. Jane Foster’s cohorts inject humor when the cooked up science gets in the way. The chemistry between Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth saves the film from a plot that feels largely inconsequential and therefore bears no impact.
Thor’s already on a set compass, albeit troubled by the longing for his mortal love Jane, which makes for a rather dull superhero that doesn’t justify another sequel with this scale. Fortunately, his duplicitous yet amusing brother Loki (arguably the best thing in the film) stirs up some inner turmoils to give Hemsworth something to work with.
The story, on the other hand, doesn’t have much to go on. It’s the usual narrative that has become more popular post 911 – the bad guy is going to use a weapon of mass destruction against humanity and all will be lost until the hero comes along.
The main problem is the underdeveloped villain, whose spotty logic and evil for evil’s sake motivation are tied to a tedious plan. The science behind it is a complex-but-really-simple story trope that ends up being convoluted at crunch time.
If you set aside the blandly brooding villain and derivative story, there’s still plenty to enjoy from the film. It doesn’t have that emotional Shakespearean undertow of the original but it’s still an entertaining “had a long week”, “family day” or “safe group choice” superhero flick with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor.
Thor: The Dark World
Thor: The Dark World has a charming cast, inventive fight scenes, and expansive world-building to deliver entertaining escapism.