Thor: The Dark World
Thoroughly enjoyable - Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor serves up a good evolution of Thor's world with great attention to detail and solid character interplay.
Despite some plot oddities, I loved the depth and scope of this film. But don't damsel Jane, please.
A fantastic follow up with an amazing cliff hanger ending.
By Tym Stevens
The best Superman film of 2013 was Thor 2.
While Man Of Steel distorted into a bizarro inversion of its hero, Thor 2 instead stays true to the ethical core of a godlike being with a humane heart. The man in red and blue takes on the forces of hate while keeping his world -and his soul- intact.
Though Kenneth Branagh isn't at the helm this time, it is ably steered by Alan Taylor, one of Game Of Thrones' finest directors. Taylor calms the blinding sheen of Asgard in favor of a gritty and textural look that consciously hearkens to the Viking roots of the mythos. This gains the film a new gravitas without feeling too dreary. Another smart move is bringing Heimdell deeper into the mix, utilizing the gift of Idris Elba's presence. Less effective is Chris Eccleston as the main villain from unfortunately being lost under makeup, elvish, and scene cuts.
At its heart (as in all hearts) is the struggle between the earnest Thor and the tormented Loki, between the humbling paths to wisdom and the declining spiral of selfish caprice. Tom Hiddleston is always spellbinding as Loki, finding new facets and angles to his malice and mystery. But due attention should be given to Chris Hemsworth for his nuanced path as Thor: from braggart to humbled in the first film; to balanced and resolute in The Avengers; to responsible and compassionate in this film; to at ease and humorous in The Avengers 2. Both actors have refreshed their characters and their rapport in enriching ways.
But besides being a struggle of brothers, Thor films are a romance. This film tries to involve Jane more in the thick of the plot (which at times feels arbitrary), as well as flipping perspectives by bringing her to Asgard. It does well enough generally, but Natalie Portman deserves more for her time. In recent comics, Jane Foster has gone through incredibly dramatic changes that we can only hope Marvel Studios is aware of going forward...
The finale, with its cosmic portals of overlapping realities, is pure Jack Kirby: galactic chaos, rampant energies, epic geomietires. This ramping up of the celestial scope nicely anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy, also deeply indebted to Kirby, Starlin, Byrne, etc. Thor 2, like every fine sequel, expands the span and depth while bringing everything forward.