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Reviews » Theatrical Reviews » Thor: The Dark World (3D)
Thor: The Dark World (3D)
Disney // PG-13 // November 8, 2013
Review by Jeff Nelson | posted November 7, 2013 | E-mail the Author
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What started as several superhero action flicks has transformed into something much bigger. Not only do numerous heroes have their own motion pictures, but multiple of them came together for The Avengers. Ever since, their individual ventures often feel like something is missing. In fact, it doesn't make very much sense. If the universe is about to be destroyed, wouldn't the Avengers assemble? Regardless, Marvel (and now Disney) is relentless in its wave of releases. As long as these action flicks are doing well in the box office, they will continue to be made. Fortunately, these superhero ventures are always pretty entertaining, but the standards have been set extremely high after Joss Whedon's epic picture. Thor: The Dark World had the potential to do something different, but it continues along the path that we've come to expect from these movies.

After learning about a new powerful foe that even Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) must embark on another dangerous mission. This time, the risk is much more personal than it ever has been for this powerful hero. With both Asgard and Earth facing the chance of destruction, he must sacrifice everything by reuniting with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) in order to save us all. This forces Thor to request help from the most unlikely of characters. If they aren't able to stop the ominous danger that approaches us, then this universe will belong to the darkness.

Picking up a couple years after the previous Thor motion picture, this sequel gets started rather quickly. A bulk of the plot is carried from the perspective of Jane Foster and her intern, Darcy (Kat Dennings). While there's still a small amount of humor to be seen in the beginning from Asgard, the majority of it comes from the humans. Unfortunately, screenwriters Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely aren't able to match the well-placed comic relief that the original possessed. While there are a couple lines delivered by Darcy that are worthy of a chuckle, the remainder of the comedy from Earth tries too hard. However, once the plot continues to progress, Thor: The Dark World will have audiences lost in the entertainment being delivered. The build-up is quite epic, as each battle gets more intense than the previous one. We're transported to numerous worlds. Even though we only spend a very minuscule amount of time in some, it's still a good change of scenery. This allows for the picture to branch out further than it would have been able to otherwise.

The biggest issue with Thor: The Dark World is the title character. Fans of both the comics and the previous motion picture will be disappointed with the fact that his character has been watered down. He's known to be an oblivious, yet still charming superhero. In the sequel, Thor himself comes across as having a personality as thick as cardboard. What happened to him? He doesn't even feel like the same character anymore. The closest you'll get is when he's bickering with his father, Odin. I can't say many positive comments about the antagonist either. While this villain wasn't necessarily very threatening or expressive in the comics, he makes for a slightly disappointing climax. There are some interesting elements to him, but the villain himself should have been more threatening. The battle sequences are a lot of fun to watch, but audiences will never find themselves sitting at the edge of their seats.

With my two biggest gripes about this movie out on the table, I can confidently say that I still enjoyed the film. If you're simply looking for an exciting addition to the Marvel universe, then you'll surely have a good time. Not only is the action excellent, but Thor: The Dark World managed to make me care about the relationship between Thor and Jane, even despite the major issues with the hero's character. From start to finish, you'll never stop wanting them to end up together. They aren't very engaging on their own in this feature, but they're a lot better when they're together. Now, for the strongest aspect of the entire movie. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is the saving grace. While his character progression is utterly predictable, he brings the sensational character personality that everybody else seems to be missing. He's charming, captivating, and brings the best of the humorous situations to the screen.

Regardless of the issues with the screenplay, the casting is excellent. Chris Hemsworth returns in the role of Thor. The charm might have been pulled from underneath his character, but he still carries the character along. After seeing him with Mjolnir, I can't possibly imagine anybody else being in this role. Natalie Portman is pretty solid, as she always is. While this isn't the most memorable performance of her career, she's convincing as Jane Foster. Anthony Hopkins is a satisfying Odin, as he was in the previous picture. However, the real star of Thor: The Dark World is Tom Hiddleston as Loki. He's clearly one of the most charming and entertaining actors to portray a role from the Marvel universe. While he always seems to receive good material, Hiddleston's delivery is simply unparalleled.

When it comes to the visual department, always expect incredible effects. Thor: The Dark World looks fantastic from its opening scene until the quick scene after the credits. The make-up, costumes, and special effects blend together in an impeccable fashion. These elements aid audiences in becoming a part of this universe. The audio track is just as impressive, as every speaker in the theater is used to its maximum potential. Those who are anticipating to hear about the 3D, there's a fair amount of depth. Some scenes certainly look better than others, but I'm glad to report that there isn't any cheesy "coming right at you" forms of 3D. Instead, the format is used to create realistic depth.

Overall, this sequel delivers what we've come to expect from these superhero motion pictures. While there are noticeable improvements made to the action sequences, the characters have taken an unfortunate blow. Thor is no longer the hero that countless viewers attached to in the previous feature. He's transformed into a flat character without much of a personality. However, this is compensated for in every scene that includes Loki. His undeniable charm and humor will captivate every viewer in the audience. This is far from being the strongest of the Marvel motion pictures, but it will surely entertain those who are looking for a good time at the cinema. It doesn't hurt that the special effects look so incredible. Thor: The Dark World is worth checking out, if you're a fan of this universe. Recommended.

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