Directed by: Alan Taylor, James Gunn
AUDIENCE TURNOUT: Housefull
RESPONSE: 50% liked it, the ones familiar with Thor didn’t.
The out-of-this-world plot!
Thor’s grandfather Bor defeated Malekith (an unrecognizable Christopher Eccleston) and his army many many years ago and captured Aether – a powerful weapon that could destroy the universe. Unknown to him, Malekith and some Elves escape into suspended animation, only to return when the Aether is ‘awakened’.Thor’s love interest on Earth, astrophysicist Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is the ‘unlucky’ one who releases Malekith as soon as she gets infected with the deadly substance. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) returns to Earth and with the help of his disgraced step-brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), gets Jane cleansed in style, believing all is well, when it’s not. Malekith wants to take over the universe, so Thor takes him out and saves the day! Like grandfather, like grandson!
What I was expecting?
In the post-Avengers scenario, I was expecting Thor: The Dark World to have something extra, something that wasn’t there in the prequel. I was hoping that characters that could have been a contender (Idris Elba as Heimdall, Rene Russo as Frigga) in Thor would get more screen time whereas a lot was expected from TV’s Chuck (Zachary Levi as the swashbuckling Fandral). Natalie Portman’s return (she wasn’t part of The Avengers) meant that Thor would have a ladylove for whom he would fight even with other gods and hence a story bigger, better and stronger than Thor was what I had in mind when I entered the cinema. The hammer of Thor shattered it all!
What I wasn’t expecting?
Tom Hiddleston as Loki shines in the movie as the hero and anti-hero at the same time. He may have been sentenced by his stepfather Odin (Anthony Hopkins) for his deeds in The Avengers but stepbrother Thor aids him in his escape so that they can save Dr. Jane Foster, the damsel in (extreme) distress. He has the best lines in the script, he has the margin to outperform all and by the time the movie ends, you start hating him all over again, despite his heroic efforts to save his step-brother’s girl.
What I did experience …
Yes, Rene Russo (Frigga, Thor’s mother) and Idris Elba (Heimdall) have something to do in the film but TV’s ‘Chuck’ Zachary Levi (Fandral) is as good as gone in this installment. He looks more like Errol Flynn
than an Asgardian warrior and only has just a few scenes. Moving onto the fight scenes featuring Thor and Co. in the eight realms, well they are at times in line with the Marvel fantasy world, but it all changes after the half way stage when the flick loses its touch. How many times will the viewers be treated to the ‘a strange villain from another planet’ phenomenon because we have seen General Zod (Man of Steel), Loki (The Avengers) and now Malekith (in this movie) fall flat when it comes to conquering Earth and its heroes. Go planet!
What I will never forget …
Besides the refurbished storyline, the other thing that bothered me was the comedy element! Whenever Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings in an irritating role), her intern Ian and Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) make an appearance on screen, you are bound to feel embarrassed rather than smile at their brand of comedy. In what universe does a man get to think more when in his underwear, in which world does an intern get an intern whom she falls for when he saves her life! Add to that the travels of Thor’s Hammer during his intergalactic journey (it moves around while Thor is fighting the disappearing Malekith) and the self-destruction of the movie is complete!
Watch it only for Marvel!
Some movies with intergalactic plots have managed to do well because of their excellent execution, whereas others have been a disappointment – Thor: The Dark World falls in the latter category. It went wrong from the moment it opted for Alan Taylor as director (previous credits Palookaville, The Emperor’s New Clothes and Kill the Poor) and he killed his predecessor Kenneth Branagh’s golden goose by slaughtering the script! By God (the one and only one!), had it not been a Marvel franchise, I would have skipped Thor: The Dark World and opted for an Indian flick or an animated one (I liked Free Birds more, by the way!). Even Chris Hemsworth’s flashy smile, toned up torso and big-hitting Hammer were unable to save this sinking ship that could have been steered towards box office glory with common sense!
Omair Alavi works for Geo TV and can be contacted at [email protected]