This took a while to come, but if you’re still wondering if you should actually make the hike down to check the Thor sequel, here’s our special correspondent with his own view on things. I’ve personally taken a look at the movie – but for work work – here, so here’s another look at it – ed.
My first reaction to Thor: The Dark World was how much this sequel relies heavily on the assumption that the viewer has already seen 2011’s Thor and 2012’s Marvel’s The Avengers. Which in itself is not an unfair notion, since both movies have made millions worldwide. After a brief prologue to the movie narrated by Odin, played by the incomparable Sir Anthony Hopkins, it soon dives right into the action without a second thought to introduce any of the established characters.
The message sent by Marvel Studios is obvious – we’ve spent lots of effort to create this universe over the past several years and we’re not going to waste time recapping and reminding viewers who’s who. Unfortunately, this gives most of the supporting cast terribly little to do and though the actors clearly relish the opportunity to return to the roles they originated in the first movie (and in the case of Zachary Levi, to finally own the role of Fandral that he was originally considered for) their appearances feel forced and do very little to propel the story forward. Especially wasted is Sif (played to perfection by Jaimie Alexander) whose limited time in the limelight ends up being shared with Thor (Chris Hemsworth).
Hemsworth is a true delight to watch in this film. The actor has truly embraced the role and made it his own, and his interactions with the likes of Sir Anthony, Tom Hiddleston (who plays Loki) and Idris Elba (Heimdall) reveal a real sense of comfort and presence in portraying the eponymous Marvel superhero. On the other hand, his co-star, the truly talented Natalie Portman, seems to be phoning in her performance and is clearly playing the love interest Jane Foster solely for the paycheck. To be fair, it must have been most frustrating after her hand-picked director Patty Jenkins left the film over creative differences with Marvel. The result is a story so cookie-cutter that it’s really anyone’s guess what those “creative differences” were.
That being said, though Thor: The Dark World is formulaic superhero action blockbuster, no one can deny that it is done very well. Fans will come away with the feeling that Marvel Studios really can do no wrong as they build upon the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while critics will naturally point to the fact that the movie serves little purpose other than to be the true prologue to “Phase 2” (as opposed to Iron Man 3, which felt more like an epilogue to “Phase 1”), with a tenuous connection as a result of a wonderfully shot mid-credits scene to the upcoming film Guardians of the Galaxy.