This one's worth checking out.

This one’s worth checking out.

It gets the job done.

It gets the job done.

THORSON

Entering the Dark World.

One of the big questions amongst fans of Marvel’s Avengers franchise is why all these different heroes plus S.H.I.E.L.D. don’t just team up again when any of the mayhem in these newer films takes place. My fairly simple interpretation is that the events of these movies occur pretty much simultaneously, meaning that when Tony Stark is busy dealing with The Mandarin in Iron Man 3, so too are Captain America and S.H.I.E.L.D. occupied by The Winter Soldier while Thor’s got his hands full with some Dark Elves in this sequel to the very “meh” 2011 movie Thor.

Strangely, Thor: The Dark World is a rare instance when a film has gotten a Swedish release before it’s gotten an American one, meaning we actually got to see this one first. Now, let’s see if it was worth it.

First the story. Thor is back, played once more by Chris Hemsworth, and an upcoming alignment of 9 different dimensions has caused disturbances in several of these worlds, as well as the very space-time continuum itself, which means Thor has a few aggravated enemies to battle off-world. Things get even more complicated when the woman Thor fell in love with on planet Earth (or “Midgård”), astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) gets too close to one of these ripples and is pulled into a dimension where she gets possessed by some sort of powerful force that apparently represents the darkness that was before the Universe itself. This is revealed both in a prologue and in a later scene after Thor and Jane finally reunite and consult Thor’s father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) about it.

The re-awekening of this force brings back an ancient group of beings known as the Dark Elves, lead by none other than The Ninth Doctor himself, Christopher Eccleston. He has aspirations of returning the Universe itself to eternal darkness, whatever that means, so it’s up to Thor and Jane Foster, with the help of Jane’s adorably geeky friend Darcy (Kat Dennings), Darcy’s awkward intern Ian (Jonathan Howard) and Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) to save the day, even if they have to betray Asgård itself and team up with Thor’s treacherous brother Loki, played for the third time by Tom Hiddleston in what’s his most entertainingly snarky incarnation yet, in order to succeed. Will Thor be able to defeat the Dark Elves without getting stabbed in the back yet again by his brother? Will he stay with Jane on Earth this time? Will Selvig ever put his pants back on?

Christopher Eccleston is our villain in 'Thor 2'.

Christopher Eccleston is our villain in ‘Thor 2’.

After a tediously expository and talky first third, the film admittedly becomes fairly entertaining after a while. One of the improvements is that several of the underdeveloped characters of the first Thor get more interesting things to say and do here than they did back then. I certainly remember more scenes with Idris Elba and Thor’s various comrades from The Dark World than I do from Thor. An especially delightful decision is making Stellan Skarsgård’s character a couple of extra levels more nutty. There are moments in this film where he seemingly channels Dr. Emmet Brown. Not enough, though.

As much as I looked forward to seeing Eccleston as the villain, though, I found him and his gang of elves to be a pretty weak set of antagonists overall. Sure, they wear some genuinely freaky-looking and cool masks and Eccleston gives a solid performance, but they aren’t any more creative or interesting than the Chitauri from The Avengers or the Frost Giants in the first Thor. It’s like Hollywood are running out of designs when it comes to aliens and monsters so they just make all of them into generic, suited space warriors and/or grey-ish Cloverfield monstrosities. Equally boring and generic are a few of the battle scenes, but the climax, which involves wormholes and all sorts of similar confusion, more than makes up for it!

While we’re on the subject of visuals, though, I can also  point out that the only really cool 3D in this movie is the end credits, but even that wasn’t too exciting. It seems to be a Hollywood trend to save the coolest, and sometimes the only cool 3D for last.

Overall, Thor: The Dark World isn’t bad enough to be classified as a bad film. It’s alright. It is enthralling in most but not all of its action scenes, some characters are improved, the drama in certain scenes is surprisingly effective and it is particularly strong in its comedy, especially judging from the cackling fangirl five rows behind me who wouldn’t shut up whenever something even remotely comedic happened, especially if it involved Loki. I am beginning to see the error of me attending early screenings of films that are sure to attract annoying fangirls, but I guess that’s the price you sometimes have to pay as a cinema enthusiast.

Also, stay tuned for a mid-credits sequence that I think will have some sort of connection with the upcoming Guardians of The Galaxy movie (you can skip the “post-” one). Oh, and keep an eye out for Stan Lee‘s obligatory cameo. He gets a pretty good one this time.

3/5 whatever

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