People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different. In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing lead us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all. Read on!
If I were going to do a power ranking of Marvel movies since Iron Man, the first Thor film would be solidly at the bottom. It’s plagued by all the problems Marvel movies deal with – lack of intimidating villain, the need to exist in a realistic world, consistency of tone, etc. – and as a film it’s barely watchable. A second Thor? Jeez, not exactly excitement inducing.
If the first Thor was like watching a crappy sitcom with no laugh-track where the main character is a bumbling, 12-packed super hero, then the second Thor is a large scale fantasy epic writ large. Thor: The Dark World does what only Captain America has done so far – digs in deep to the idea that in comic books anything can happen. There’s no fucking around in Thor: The Dark World with establishing a set of characters or showing what an Asgardian is, oh no, this is a sequel in all the best ways: take what you’ve already put together and put it on a larger, more amazing level. When Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is infected with an interdimensional power called the Aether and suddenly becomes the mark for Malaketh the Dark Elf (Christopher Eccleston), a dimension hopping baddie looking to punish the kings and queens of Asgard, to be frank, shit goes down. Alan Taylor doesn’t sit around with his enormous characters, having them talk about burritos, oh no, he dives right in to the Nine Realms and all the amazing, almost-silly properties a Thor comic lays before you. There’s an intergalactic attack on Asgard, a teleporting battle in London, convergences, magical disguises and some serious Mjolnir (here used not only as a beating stick, but also as a fantastical means of teleportation) action. Every character you sort of loved in the first one (and I mean you, because I loved none of them) gets to shine in the second film, especially Idris Elba’s Heimdall, who gets to step away from the Bi-Frost for a bit to showcase just how much of badass he can be. Chris Hemsworth continues to completely own the character of Thor, even managing to add a few layers of backstory to the hulking Asgardian prince. Tom Hiddleston might actually be Loki’s secret identity, and the film ends with the sort of Marvel cliffhanger I’ve come to love as a lifelong comic book fan. This is what I want to see in my Marvel movies, imagination, not robot suits fighting eco-terrorists.
Maybe, just maybe, this next Phase of Marvel’s enormous plan will be, well, amazing.