Saturday, November 9, 2013

Thor: The Dark World Review

I heard recently from someone that The Avengers franchise is beginning to be the James Bond of the Superhero movies. And that is quite true. As Bond 24 is set for November of 2015, Thor: The Dark World (why not just Thor 2?) is the eight movie of the Avengers franchise to come out since Iron Man debuted in 2008. And we're just getting started. Last year, The Avengers became the third-highest grossing movie ever, and the highest by someone not named James Cameron. Earlier this year, Iron Man 3 became the highest-grossing Iron Man movie. And now it's Thor's turn again. No RDJ in it will mean that it's not going to come close to the levels of Iron Man 3 or Avengers financially, but it's guaranteed to out-gross the first Thor significantly.

Now moving away from financial jargon and onto the movie. Reviews for the first Thor were mixed. Personally, though, I loved it. I thought it was one of the better Superhero origin stories due to the character depth and character progression that Thor went through as he got banished to Earth and was force to learn humility. It was also visually spectacular and had the perfect combination of action, emotion, and humor. It also introduced the best character of this Avengers franchise in Loki. In my opinion, it was the best of the Avengers Phase 1 movies.

In Thor 2, we introduce the Aether, which is certain to play role similar to that of the Tesseract in previous Avenger movies. When the Aether is discovered, the Dark Elves, led by Malekith, will stop at nothing to get it, even if it means destroying Asgard and Earth in the process. That brief intro is all that I will say about the plot. Thor 2 has a different director than the first Thor, and that is Alan Taylor, known for his work with the Game of Thrones TV series. And you can definitely notice that Game of Thrones feel that the movie has, thus supporting our subtitle of "The Dark World." It tries to be a much darker movie than the first and honestly I really liked that. However, what I didn't like was that it had somewhat of an identity crisis as far as that goes. Apparently, the first cut of the movie was "too dark" and so they threw in a lot of humor. Now the first Thor had a lot of humor in it, so I was expecting that to happen in this as well. However, the humor in the first was well-placed and thus added to the strength of the movie. In this one the humor got in the way. The movie kept switching back and forth from being a dark, serious movie to a comedy. I would've actually preferred to stay a dark, serious movie, but because it didn't, I wasn't able to get as invested in the movie as I wanted to.

I really did like the story behind the movie, but if I'm being honest about this, the execution wasn't quite as smooth as I would like. And I'm going to say nothing about the ending of the movie, but as far as the plot goes, this had the potential to include a super epic final battle that rivaled Iron Man 3's awesome final battle. However, I was slightly disappointed at it. It wasn't nearly as bad as Iron Man 2's horrible final battle, but I thought it was a little on the weird side of things, which was disappointing considering all the potential it had.

Up to this point, you will think that I completely hated the movie because of what I've been saying. I didn't, and here's why. Loki. In the first movie, there are those who say Loki completely stole the show, but I would disagree with that because I loved everyone else as well. In this one, he actually did steal the show. In the first movie, Thor went through a ton of character progression. In this one, Thor was awesome, but he was the same in the beginning as he was in the end. Natalie Portman did a great job as Jane, but I liked her performance in the first one better. Supporting characters Darcy and Erik, who I loved in the first one, I think actually got in the way in this one. But Loki. Wow! I will leave the specifics unspoiled and not dive into it, but his character was super interesting in this one and Tom Hiddleston completely hit a home run with that performance. In fact, he did such a good job that he single-handedly took this movie from a near disaster and turned it into another fantastic chapter in the Avengers franchise. In fact, I'd go as far as saying that they could've re-titled this movie "Loki: The Dark World."

I also can't end this review without mentioning that I also really loved the Dark Elves. I do think they could've done a lot more with them, but they were great. Christopher Eccleston of Doctor Who plays their leader Malekith and I thought he was brilliant. One of the best villains so far in the Avengers franchise.

Overall, I do prefer the first Thor over this one, but that was actually a somewhat difficult choice for me. Both movies are quite different and have strengths and weakness of their own, but I do think Thor is better. Also, in comparing the two Phase 2 movies, I also prefer Iron Man 3 over Thor 2 because RDJ is awesome, the psychological aspect of the movie was brilliant, and the final battle was epic. In officially grading Thor 2, I give it an 8 out of 10.

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