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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite Possibly the Greatest Comic Book Film Sequel of All Time, November 8, 2013
Thor was a film I had wanted to see in the theater, but couldn't get anyone to watch with me. When I did finally see it on DVD, I was actually shocked how good a film it was. Deep characterization, loads of charm, and a wonderful warmth pervaded the film (in addition to some glorious eye candy). Since then a few of the Marvel films have seems to a mis-step here and there. While I enjoyed Iron Man 3, it had neither the dramatic weight of the first Iron Man, nor the pure silly fun of Iron Man 2. And the Avengers film, while also mildly enjoyable simple wasn't up to the standards of films like Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor (I won't list reasons why because my balanced review listing positives and negatives got so much negative hateful feedback I had to pull it). And thus it was that late at night I sat down for Thor:The Dark World, half expecting a deep disappointment and half hoping for a film as good as the original. What I actually saw I never could have seen coming.

The Second Best Film of the Year

Okay, this has been a very interesting year. Between an Andrew Niccol film (The Host), and a Joseph Kosinski visual masterpiece (Oblivion), early on it seemed like nothing could top those two movies for sheer film-making technique. Some people hated the cheesy romance of The Host and should thus avoid Hitchcock romances, and some didn't like Oblivion, because some people just hate sci-fi for whatever reason. Still.. those films were darn good. Then we got White House Down, a masterpiece of Die Hard-style popcorn throwing fun, and Pacific Rim, which is my favorite film of the year (not the best, but it feels so good to watch it has to be my favorite). And just when I thought nothing could ever top Oblivion and the year was all done, Gravity absolutely astounded me with its quality of film-making, rocketing past Oblivion to become the best film of the year. While Thor 2 (what I'll call it for short) isn't better than Gravity, it is definitely the greatest blockbuster film of the year by a long, long way. And here's why.

Simple Technique

Anyone who has read my other reviews for movies should know by now that I am not impressed by hype for the most part. And what other people think of a film couldn't affect my opinion less. But what does impress me is good old-fashioned film-making technique. Were the actors in-character? Was the dialog entertaining and well written? Were the special effects good (and pretty)? Was the music rousing and in-sync with the action? Was there light and color and inspiring moments? And most importantly to me, was there some gosh-darn honest-to-goodness cinematography to be found?

Yes. Yes! Yes!!!!!!!!

I can see someone hating this film for exactly three reasons. 1. They hate the actors. 2. They hate Thor or comic books/sci-fi/blockbusters in general. 3. They have absolutely no taste whatsoever.

As often happens when watching movies, watching this film I was reminded of many scenes in other films. Throne-room scenes, scenes of betrayal, romantic moments, awkward moments, funeral scenes, sci-fi action scenes. You could say that these scenes were just cheap rip-offs of other TV shows, books, and movies. But saying that would make you an idiot. Because every single one of those scenes was not just well done. It was perfectly done. The dramatic scenes will hit you hard. The romantic scenes will make you smile. The awkward scenes will make you laugh. The action scenes will glue your eyes to the screen. And the many, many scenes that just add character development to the film, layers to the story, and glorious, glorious beauty to the film will draw you in, hold your attention, and leave you in simple child-like wonder.

What great film direction looks like

I don't want to knock Ender's Game too much (I already did that in my review) but the biggest failing of that film (which indicated poor direction to me) was that it was poorly paced, spending far too much time on insignificant details and not enough time on important ones. Characters felt shallow and scenes lacked dramatic weight as a result. Likewise, the climax of Man of Steel had no dramatic weight because when you've seen an hour and half of people blasting through buildings doing it one more time (this time with feeling!!!) for a climax leaves you with a major case of burn-out.

Watching Thor 2, it does everything right that those films did wrong. Its pacing is perfect. It take its time when it's important, letting us catch our breath and absorb developments, and it rushes past things that don't really add weight to the story. Things which everyone knew would add more to the film (more Loki! more of the gate-keeper guardian!) were added, but actually given a reason to be there instead of just being empty fan-service. When the climax of the film does come, it's everything a film climax should be. It's filled with action, drama, wit, and hilarity. It's superbly directed, and absolutely perfect.

A round of applause all-around

Everyone, I and do mean everyone...who worked on this film deserves a round of applause. Every actor out-did themselves and surpassed their previous work as their beloved characters. The musical score is fantastic and the composer deserves serious props. The writers gave every character incredible dialog that fit and enhanced their persona even further (no out-of-character dialog to be found). The special effects are everything that Man of Steel and Avengers strove for and lacked, being strikingly surreal, and touchingly beautiful. And the cinematography is master class. The shot composition on this film is so good that I wholeheartedly believe it should be nominated (though I sure it won't be) alongside Gravity, Oblivion, and The Host.

As a film-lover, what more can I say? This it the perfect comic book sci-fi sequel. See it in the theater. Buy the Blu Ray. Peace out.
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