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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
I really enjoyed 2011’s Thor. I know it really isn’t all that good of a movie, but it hit me a certain way when I first sat down to watch it. I really appreciated the throw-back 1980s fantasy style of the Asgard scenes, the non-major US city for the Earth location, and the overall performances of our main characters. I just liked it, and I was very much looking forward to the follow up subtitled The Dark World.
If I had to sum up my opinion of the movie, it would be “underwhelming”. I can’t really pinpoint what is wrong. The story is interesting, but it just takes forever to anything important to happen. Because of that, the pacing is horrible and really drags the overall product down. Director Alan Taylor is able to turn it around in time for the third act on Earth, but it is like going through a slough to get there.
The unfortunate part is that there are a lot of little great things that shine along the way such as a nicely directed (and unexpected) fight sequence with Rene Russo and a fun, little Avenger cameo, but these are far and few between. The movie has such a somber tone (which should be expected with a title like The Dark World), it is hard to find any joy in it. When the comedy does come (largely from an increasingly obnoxious Kat Dennings), it feels so out of place with the rest of the film that it almost doesn’t work.
As mentioned earlier, the final act featuring the showdown between Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and villain Malekith (Christopher Eccleston who is shamefully wasted in his role) is done very well. I suppose a lot of that has to do with the unique nature of their battle. In short (and to save on spoilers), as they are fighting and being thrown around, they are transported from world to world. I have never really seen something like this done before in an action/science fiction movie. It definitely kept my interest just to see how increasingly crazy this sequence was going to get.
There have been constant stories about behind-the-scenes trouble plaguing the film during its production. It is hard not to notice that affecting the final product. There are some clear-cut elements that are thrown into the film haphazardly as if they were after the fact. While I wouldn’t say the film is generic, I would say that there is a made-by-committee feeling. I know Marvel Studios is a well-oiled machine by now, but I really wish they would let their directors (who aren’t Joss Whedon) direct.
The Dark World has its moments, but it was a letdown overall. I wouldn’t rush to see it if I had to do it again, but with these Marvel films beings as popular as they are, that isn’t going to happen.