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4.0 out of 5 stars Dark worlds and great jokes: THOR 2, December 11, 2013
This review is from: Thor: The Dark World (DVD)
If you would have told me in 2010, that a Shakesperean director, a hunky Australian, and a tall British TV actor would craft a hugely popular and profitable franchise centered around the Nordic gods...I would have asked what you were smoking. Today, it is clear that Marvel, under the lead of Kevin Feige, has crafted a winning formula that clearly works. The keys to Marvel's box office success include their careful building, relatable characters, and the fact that they are not afraid to mix genres, AND have fun while doing all of it. Thor 2: The Dark World follows this formula to a T (a big T, shaped like a hammer...). But that doesn't matter, because as I said before, the formula WORKS.

Well, not ALL of it works. The scientific mumbo-jumbo (courtesy of Portman and Skarsgard) is, quite frankly, embarrassing, and while Christopher Eccleston's Malekith may look like the badass lovechild of Nosferatu and Legolas, he's far from a compelling villain. This is not to mention a certain Deux ex Machina that rather staggers disbelief.

But enough of cons! Thor 2, headed by the gritty sensibilities of Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones), takes the world built by Kenneth Branagh, and ups the stakes, the chemistry, and the characters to new heights! It takes place in a fully realized and visually stunning world (look out for Iceland doubling as the realm of the dark elves), but never loses it's fantastic touch. Chris Hemsworth is (quite literally, erm) solid as Thor, but it is his supporting cast are the true scene stealers. Tom Hiddleston's devilishly good Loki is a highlight; scheming, tricking, and lying his way through the movie, all with a glint in his green eyes and an air of sarcasm. Thor 2 would not be half of what it is without Hiddleston. It's refreshing to see some brains instead of brawn in a superhero movie.

Another reason to to thank the gods is the expanding of Idris Elba's (that awesome charisma machine) character Heimdall, who, if not managing to *cancel* the apocalypse, at least delays it until further notice. Anthony Hopkins is gravely overqualified, but who cares - it's Hopkins and he's always excellent. Jamie Alexander, Rene Russo, and Natalie Portman each out-do their previous performances, and Kat Dennings is still absolutely hilarious. This is the most female-centric Marvel movie yet.

The action, including a dazzling aerial fight in Asgard, a brutal battle in an Asgardian prison, a twisty, unpredictable corker of a double-cross in the dark world, and a visually stunning and often hilarious climax of a battle...is some of the best I have seen Marvel put forth yet. It was always riveting and much appreciated.

In conclusion, Thor 2 sticks very closely to the tried-and-proven Marvel formula, meaning that there are some glitches and cliches. But on the whole, this is the best Marvel movie since The Avengers, and one of Marvel's best (certainly outpassing IM2, IM3, THOR, and HULK). Leave your brain at the door and enjoy. Thor 2 is a triumph. 4.5 convergences out of 5!

PS: As a total Norse mythology nut, I absolutely LOVED the mentions to Svartalfaheimr, Yggdrasil, and Midgard. I definitely recommend checking out the original myths; it makes the work Marvel has done so much more worthwhile! Cheers!
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 31, 2013 10:09:07 AM PST
I have always been a little bit leery of movies based on comic book characters, but the "Iron Man" and "Thor" films have changed my mind. The quality of the special effects, directors and actors is a lot better than I would have anticipated going in (too many Lyle Waggoner memories from "Wonder Woman"). So now I am going to join the ranks of so many others and say I really like the quality of the newer superhero movies and look forward to many more to come. I just hope the producers and studios realize that quality always trumps quantity, and they don't flood the market with too much, too soon. I can't wait to own the new "Thor". Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 1, 2014 7:23:12 AM PST
Anthony L. says:
You're welcome. Marvel has turned superheroes into a viable, hugely profitable genre. Just don't forget where they came from - David Hasselhoff as Nick Fury...

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 2, 2014 10:39:40 AM PST
The Hoffmeister!

Posted on Feb 3, 2014 6:37:01 AM PST
angie says:
I'm actually so excited to buy this, I always thought thor was pretty good but dark world is the best one.

Posted on Mar 21, 2014 8:14:00 PM PDT
S. Garney says:
THank you for the amazing review, I absolutely love Thor 1 & 2, for many, many reasons. The world design, characters, the armor/clothing design, and can I just say: ASGARD? I love your mention of Norse mythology - did you happen to notice Hugin/Mugin in Avengers AND Thor 2? As well as Sleipnir in Thor 1? I loved the rendering of Yggdrasil in the credits as well, and how they gave Odin Gungnir to wield. I love how understanding Norse mythology lends an even greater level of fun for the movie, when one spots the various nods to the roots of the comic's design - in actual mythology, which makes it all the more engaging!

Posted on Mar 23, 2014 3:38:03 PM PDT
Heh, the original myths are what my parents read to me before bedtime. However, I've found that many fans of the comics are shocked to find out about Loki's children.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 23, 2014 9:53:02 PM PDT
Anthony L. says:
Loki's children - the wolves, dragons, giants, and monsters!
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