A Game of Thorones – Thor: The Dark World
The success of the first Thor was Marvel’s great triumph in the run-up to The Avengers. Of all the pieces, it was the one most fraught with peril, the one most likely to devolve into a giant, unspeakable mess. But it worked out well and was good, despite director Kenneth Branagh’s fetishistic lust for Dutch angles. What could have been Masters of the Universe redux — and was in many ways — was more than the sum of its parts, largely thanks to Tom Hiddleston’s career-making turn as Loki and Chris Hemsworth’s embodiment of the hunkular, lunkular God of Thunder. It didn’t scale the heights of the first Iron Man, which remains a gold standard for standalone Marvel, but few comic movies do.
Now our blond champion is back, tossing his hammer into Marvel’s cinematic Phase Two, this time directed by noted TV helmer Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, etc.). Natalie Portman returns as Jane Foster, as do her physicist colleagues (including an alarmingly nude Erik Selvig). So do the Warriors Three (or Two, as it turns out) and Sif. And Heimdall. And Odin. And Rene Russo — can you say she’s returning if she was barely in the first one?
And it’s a decent movie. It’s not great, and lacks some of the focus of the first. But Thor is never once depowered, and Asgard is far more fully realized now, serving as a primary location, not just a backdrop. It’s an enjoyable romp, if a really, really dumb one. Even at its worst it doesn’t come close to the insult that was Iron Man 3. At no point does it feel as if there’s a middle finger raised at the audience. And the dumb is of the eye-glazing kind, not the “bash your head into a wall” brand.
There are more thoughts on the next page, sequestered for their mild spoileriness (no twists revealed). Click over if you’re interested in those, as well as a final rating.
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