Thor: The Dark World is bigger and better than the first Thor film. It is entertaining, funny, visually bedazzling and packs in hammers of fun. It might just be my favorite Marvel movie with one superhero, closely followed by the first Iron Man film. The best Marvel film would obviously be The Avengers (2012).
The mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is now worthy to become king but he still pines for his Midgardian attachments, namely Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). Their love story is taken a step forward. Meanwhile the saga with his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins) also continues. His mother Frigga, which was just a Rene Russo cameo before, gets more screen time and a good scene. The funniest dialogues are spoken by Darcy (Kat Dennings) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston).
I love how Marvel films have little details sprinkled all over, connecting everything within its universe, be it one (two?) post credits scene or a TV show (Agents of SHIELD). They don’t even forget that Darcy called the Mjolnir - a “Myeuh-Myeuh” in the first film and must be called it again at an incredibly inappropriate time. What I also love is that they just cannot make dark movies even when dark is in the title. It has to be humorous and not take itself too seriously. This is exactly how a superhero movie should be; it has no business being realistic.
One of the things I was wary of before venturing into this film was the change of director. Kenneth Branagh is great with drama and it would be sad to lose him. I was surprised to find Alan Taylor (who directed some Game of Thrones episodes) not just delivering a terrific film, but besting Branagh’s effort in terms of spectacle and drama. The action is gloriously staged and I was consistently in awe of the rich optical splendor and wondrous images. It reminded me of the scale and grandeur of the Lord of the Rings films (a.k.a. the greatest trilogy of all time).
The villains this time are the Dark Elves. Malekith (Christopher ‘the Doctor’ Eccleston) wants to take out the light from all the realms and cover it with darkness. Not just Earth but the entire universe is under threat. The other holdover villain is Loki. He is a great character and Tom Hiddleston is its handsome carrier. With every film, he gets a better part to play. Here I could empathize with him while I loved to hate him. This is what good villains are made of.
Then, there is the downside. Yes, every film these days has issues. I prefer not to let them hinder my judgment if I happen to love the film, but I wish to point them out objectively. The first film had a bad final act. This one does not have a bad one but it gets a wee bit messy if you’re not into the fantastical elements of the film. The love triangle is touched upon but forgotten later. A major reason why anyone would be disappointed with this film is that it’s not a typical superhero film and more of a fantasy/ sci-fi adventure. A superhero is generally a being on earth who possesses powers that set him apart from the mortals. Here, that being is not on earth during most of the film. The action takes place on various realms. It is probably something that the fans will connect to more than the general audience (something that The Avengers could balance).
A major upside is that the beings from another planet know where to take the fight. I was infuriated with Man of Steel earlier this year because one of the most conscientious superheroes repeatedly brought the war onto the earth. That is the villain's job, as far as I recall. A city became a playground for ignorant aliens. Here, they don’t commit that sin. The hero takes the fight away from mortal harm whenever he can. Also, Earth does not mean America. This film has a higher perspective of things. Instead of boring end-of-the-world stuff, we get the movie version of the harmonic convergence and galactic alignment in the wake of the 2012 paranoia.
Last week, India saw an elaborate excuse for a superhero film. This week we get to see the good stuff. Rewind a bit more to The Wolverine, which I personally enjoyed, but Man of Steel and Iron Man 3 weren’t good enough. For my money, Thor: The Dark World is the most fun, entertaining and simply the best superhero film of the year.view less