Thor: The Dark World,
directed by Alan Taylor
(Walt Disney Pictures, 2013)

Like the Iron Man franchise, Thor's sequel is an improvement on the original. Marvel hasn't won every round (as per the Hulk and Fantastic Four stumbles), but they have managed, thus far, to get it mostly right even if they sometimes have to do it all over again. Thor: The Dark World is one of the winners, totally on the mark as comic-book fare brought to life. It's a solid offering that focuses on battles and epic confrontations while neatly blending in fantasy and science, combining the best elements of Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings into a truly wonderful popcorn flick that's perfect for kid-and-adult outings.

Chris Hemsworth as the eponymously titled god is one of the best casting choices in the history of the Marvel franchise. He embodies the character perfectly, both personally and physically. His rivalry with half-brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is an enjoyable hot spot in a complicated, somewhat overly plotted story concerning spatial gateways, dogfights between spaceships, sword fights, double-crosses and a struggle between Asgard and a Dark Elf leader, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), who desires to take over not just Earth and Agard but all of the nine Realms as well, setting most of the action off-planet.

Of course there's a love story, with Thor not really wanting to rule in his father's place, preferring to stay on Earth where Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) lives. The chemistry is wonderful, which just about salvages Portman's character from being scientific window dressing, since she doesn't devote too much time to it.

While it might be a bit of a stretch to say that The Dark World is a superhero classic, it certainly delivers great, charming, escapist fun.

review by
Mary Harvey

21 December 2013

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