Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thor: The Dark World Review: Like a Hit to the Face from MeowMeow

By now, there's an undeclared deal we all have with Marvel Studios: We give them our time and money, and they give us a string of movies that both introduce and revitalize fan-favorite characters from decades-old comics. These movies have also been of a consistent quality - even when they're not great, they're still good. I put the original Thor in that area, and I'd put the new sequel there as well. But while The Dark World isn't amazing, it's surprisingly fascinating.

In an effort to write reviews that lack flow, I'm going to switch gears for a second and familiarize you newcomers. Thor: The Dark World continues Marvel's "Phase Two" of movies, meaning that this is a continuation of both Thor's story and the overarching plot of the other Avengers-related movies. But whereas Iron Man 3 focused on the fallout of the New York incident, Thor 2 takes aim at the thunder god's new perspective on humanity and his obligation to protect them. This happens by way of an incredibly boring opening monologue from Odin about some dark elf with some weapon that's been locked away for some amount of time. Honestly, you won't really care about the main villain. Just know that the action's great, the settings are beautiful, the score is epic, and the movie is generally fun to watch. Oh, and there's Loki.

Pictured: One of the few Loki images not
involving hentai or someone's DeviantArt page.
If you haven't heard already, Tom Hiddleston's Loki spends some time in The Dark World, and he's easily the best aspect of the movie. It's either unbalanced writing or Hiddleston's presence that somehow makes the character who killed thousands of people the most likable one. The other actors do a fine job too, especially with their clear effort to make the otherworldly characters seem more human. However, a part of me wishes Kat Dennings and series newcomer Zachary Levi were the only other characters going for laughs. With everyone constantly trying to out-funny each other, you can tell they're among the few who know what they're doing.

So, I'd rather not continue my laundry list of the movie's elements. Instead, let's discuss my aforementioned fascination with The Dark World. It's common knowledge by now that Joss Whedon was brought in to "fix" the script. And you can tell.

"Who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it with dew..."
Thor 2 honestly feels like two films spliced together; and it's a job done well but not perfectly. When The Dark World is good, it's absolutely awesome. When it's not, it's really not. And the seams are very clearly visible. Certain scenes are incredibly written and immensely enjoyable. The action is great, and it all feels very appropriate in the world of Thor. Yet, other scenes are laughable mush that feel lazily put together. Several action scenes feel stolen from Star Wars. Yes, I meant Star Wars. I know it's a Thor movie, but apparently the director thought The Dark World needed space ships, laser turrets, black hole grenades and speeder chases. The dialogue feels even more unfitting. The best example is the scene where Odin makes a dismissive laugh that lacks anything I've ever seen on the emotional spectrum. If you're good with PhotoShop, please make it a gif and send it to me.

It goes without saying that you should see Thor 2, regardless of its really weird quirks and shortcomings. It's still a decent Marvel movie and it's awesome in the superhero department. Just know that you're not alone if some of it seems off.

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