Thor: The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World
Starring Christ Hemsworth, Natalie Portman and Tom Hiddleston
Directed by Alan Taylor
Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content

    Set two years after the events of the last Thor film, upon learning that his lost love, Dr. Jane Foster (Portman) could be in trouble, Thor (Hemsworth) travels to Earth again to rescue her.  Upon bringing her back to Asgard, his home is attacked by the leader of the dark elves who is after Foster for an ancient evil power she has stumbled upon. 

    It’s hard for me to complain about this film too much since it feels like all of my complaints of Thor’s first outing were corrected here. 

    First I thought the first Thor was just a giant commercial for The Avengers movie.  It felt like it had little identity of its own and served as a prequel for a film yet unreleased.  This new Thor feels more epic and individual.  SHIELD and The Avengers are nowhere to be found (aside for a hilarious cameo by Captain America).

    Secondly I thought the directing and overall production was weak.  Here, relative newcomer Alan Taylor does a fine job directing the Norse super hero and Asgard has a stunning look that should satisfy his fans.  I was also deeply disappointed by the music of the first film which was written by its director’s close friend Patrick Doyle.  Doyle’s scores are typically spectacular but Thor was disjointed and so overly percussive that it distracted rather than elevated the film.  Here the very young but talented Brian Tyler gives a dramatically beautiful score worthy of such a film. 

    Where both films come up short is in the writing.  The dialog and humor are fine here, but ask me what the plot is really about and I could hardly tell you.  I know hardcore Thor fans are well familiar with the nine realms, but most normal folks are not and I was confused when I had time to stop and think about it.  Then again, they kept the action so non-stop that you really didn’t have to think it through so this complaint didn’t ruin it for me.

    And while I was satisfied that this wasn’t a setup film for the Avengers sequel, I was also plagued by the sudden lack of SHIELD or any other heroes.  This seemed to be a serious and potentially world-ending event and only Thor was there to save the day.  Hmmm. 

    So while not a hugely impressive feature, Thor: The Dark World is a vast improvement over the first film and provides a fun couple of mindless hours of entertainment.  B