Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Movie Review: Thor: The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World
directed by Alan Taylor
starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Kat Dennings, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Alba, Christopher Eccleston, etc.


It was very chilly last night, but we happily trekked out to see Thor: The Dark World. The movie theater was very old. The seats squeaked but there was no popcorn and soda on the ground, at least, compared to more modern theaters.

I like how the issues of Thor: God of Thunder that lead up to the movie's release covered Malekith and the dark elves. It gave me some familiarity with the characters. Following what happens in the movie is super clear, though.

The dark elves once ruled the universe, complete and unchallenged. In their power, they craved the darkness, destroying the light. Their greatest weapon was the Aether. Malekith, the leader, never got to use the Aether because Odin's father one day came to put a stop to the lot of them, eradicating the entire species, or so he thought. Malekith and a bunch of other dark elves survived and hid until the proper time.

The Asgardians took the Aether. But it was so powerful that they could not destroy it so they hid it.

Jane Foster is missing her man Thor. In a search to find him, she finds an area in London where the Convergence is strong and she is able to slip between worlds. The nine realms circle Midgard (Earth) like the Earth circles the sun. The Convergence is a time when all realms are aligned causing the borders between worlds to blur. Jane is pulled into the realm where the Aether had been hidden and becomes host to this great power. At that moment, Heimdall and Thor are talking and Heimdall comments that he cannot see Jane anywhere. Jane slips back to Earth and Thor finds her. They see something is not right with Jane, so Thor takes her to Asgard to get treatment. Malekith awakens after Jane possesses the Aether and is drawn to it's location. He and his elves come in stealthily and brutally attack Asgard. Malekith is unable to get his hands on the Aether. Frigga, Thor's mother, is murdered trying to protect Jane.

Thor needs the help of his brother, Loki. They take Jane to the Dark World, where the dark elves come from. They plan to let Malekith pull the Aether out of Jane, destroy the Aether, and kill Malekith and his companions. Things don't go so smoothly. I was very sad to see Loki murdered. I like Tom Hiddleston's portrayal of him. He's slick, cunning, and arrogant, feigning vulnerability very well. I like the bond between the brothers in that moment. Thor is extremely sad. For a moment there I was thinking about the comics and the way Thor loves his brother and helps to bring him back to life when he has died, no matter how many tricks and times Loki tries to get at Thor. I thought, "Well, maybe we'll see a kid Loki in the next movie installment. Or a female Loki..."

Now that Malekith has the Aether, his plans are not simply to destroy Asgard but he wants to bring darkness back to all of the realms. At the peak of the Convergence, he will unleash the Aether into each realm, successively allowing the Aether to build strength with each realm it conquers. Of course Thor is able to put a stop to him eventually and with the aid of Jane and her friends, too.

I enjoyed the action, pacing, and humor in the movie. There's a funny and awkward scene with Dr. Eric Selvig running around Stone Henge naked. The big twist that I loved seeing was that Loki isn't dead! He's taken the throne, impersonating Odin. This makes me wonder what happened to Odin. Is he locked in a cell somewhere the way Odin had Loki imprisoned earlier in the movie? That would be my guess. There's a sweet scene with Jane and Thor reuniting at the end. The last scene of the movie features the Collector. He's going to hold and keep safe an ancient relic for the Asgardians. They're already holding the Tesseract at Asgard and it would be unwise to keep two relics so close to each other. The Collector does not appear to be a good guy though. He's got his hands on that relic and he's counting on completing his collection. I wasn't too enthused about seeing the Collector. I think it was partly to do with the way that scene was filmed. The lighting didn't look great and the make-up looked heavy. It didn't look as refined as the rest of the movie so it stuck out in a bad way.

Overall, this was a great movie. Lots of fun. The movie had me guessing which way the story was moving and it kept me thoroughly enthralled and entertained. Natalie Portman looked a little weird with all the times she was seen with her mouth hanging open, but that's a very, very minor crit.


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