The bar has been set so high for superhero movies that it should come as no surprise that “Thor: The Dark World”, the sequel to 2011’s “Thor” and last year’s “The Avengers”, isn’t quite able to carry the torch of its predecessors. Chris Hemsworth returns as the long haired god with the shiny hammer, Natalie Portman returns as his human love interest, and his mischievous brother Loki is once again brilliantly played by Tom Hiddleston. Together the three must stop an evil ruler from plunging the universe into darkness. Alan Taylor takes over directorial duties from Kenneth Branagh.
This movie has to be compared to the other films in the connected Marvel universe. It may be unfair but that is the way of the world. And “Dark World” is not as good as the other films, and one could argue it is the worst of the series to date. The film isn’t bad, but it really just felt like it was an obligatory move by the studio to (A) get an extra $700 million plus out of audience members and (B) force plot points so we have more anticipation for 2015’s “Avengers” sequel.
The biggest problem with “Dark World” is its plot. It is just so unnecessarily complicated. The story goes that the Dark Elves want an ancient power source in order to coat the universe in eternal darkness and only Thor can stop them. Ok, sure. But why do they want to make the universe dark? What is the power source? Why is the main villain so underwhelming and uninteresting? Well none of these questions are answered in the film, so my rhetorical asking was simply a rouse.
The action in the film, while at times entertaining, is also a bit tiresome. The best way I can explain it is that the movie has the same problems as both “Kick-Ass 2” and “Man of Steel”. As with “Kick-Ass 2”, we have seen this type hammer dueling action before, so it is redundant rather that refreshing, and can get boring quickly. But unfortunately the “Man of Steel” problem is that in some sequences the action is nonstop and unrelenting, almost to the point of exhaustion. We get it, seeing thunder gods smash aliens is cool and amusing. We also got it when the scene started ten minutes ago.
Now the film is still fun, and much of that praise goes to Tom Hiddleston. His portrayal of Loki is a scene stealer. He is sarcastic, devious and amusing, often all at once, and we hate how much we love him. It is also entertaining watching Thor try and interact with the basic human world, such as having to take a subway or using a coat hook.
“Thor: The Dark World” is fun at times, however most of the film just feels like a forced move to transition Thor into the next Marvel films. There are just too many plot holes and unneeded characters that keep “Dark World” from being a dumb popcorn flick. It just doesn’t meet the expectations that have been set for it by the other Marvel films. They say lightning never strikes the same place twice and that stands true here (ok, so what Thor is the god of thunder, not lightning. The analogy still works).
Critics Rating: 6/10