Thursday, October 31, 2013

THE COMING STORM

MOVIE REVIEW:
THOR: THE DARK WORLD
Note: I do not own any of the pictures in this review, they are officially distributed by Marvel Studios, Disney Co., and Paramount Pictures.

By:
G.P. Manalo

Director:
Alan Taylor

Starring:

Chris Hemsworth
Tom Hiddleston
Christopher Eccleston
Natalie Portman

Two years ago, Kenneth Branagh’s Thor brought the Shakespearian speaking and hammer wielding badass to life in the silver screen and made the character a more popular character (along with other characters such as Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, Anthony Hopkins’s Odin and the Warriors Three) than before while making Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston a household name in Hollywood. It is now Alan Taylor’s (fresh from directing episodes of Game of Thrones) shot at continuing what Branagh has started as he moved on to a more different throne exploring a more functioning world in Thor: The Dark World. Alan Taylor literally brought more life to the world of Thor and the same fun it predecessors (Thor 2011 and Avengers) had.

In Thor: The Dark World an ancient army known as the dark elves led by Malekith  the Accuser has reawakened in present time to re-claim a powerful force/artefact known as the Aether to once against extinguish all of the nine realms in its convergence. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) finds herself reuniting with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) after an encounter of a strange phenomenon that has something to do with the Aether in Midgard (Earth). As the all-father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins) discovers the re-awakening of the ancient threat; Thor must embark on a journey that will need help from his brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) whom he couldn’t really trust at all after the events of the past two films. Together they will stop the threat and save the nine realms. 

Thor: The Dark World is somewhat an improvement of the first film; when the first Thor film is a bit of a smaller world in a lonely town in the desert and scenes of just Odin’s palace and the rainbow bridge. Thor is a universal adventure as it does feature a fully functioning world and even have good character moments. Alan Taylor applies everything he has learned while directing episodes of “Game of Thrones” as he brings massive action scenes and a profound drama (by profound, I don’t mean it in a Shakespearian way) and even some plot twists (and comic book nods) that will make you go “By Odin’s Beard!”.

As action-blockbusters come and go “Thor: The Dark World” follows a simple formula of “bad guy getting something to destroy the world; hero is gonna stop the bad guy from getting it and save the day”. It is very much as one would say it “by the numbers” or “generic” but in all fairness, the film does stand out very strong on its own, granted it wasn’t necessarily a perfect movie as it does have its fair share of strength and weaknesses.

On the plus side, the performances are still strong and some cases better for both returning and new characters in this film though one character wasn’t as properly developed as the rest of the characters in this film, One of which being Christopher Eccleston’s Malekith never being properly developed as a villain. Returning characters that had less to do are more developed but it is more than a blessing but can be a curse itself as it didn’t provide any room for a new character like Christopher Eccleston’s Malekith the Accursed felt very to develop, sure enough he did do some monumental things a villain could do for our hero but in the end he leaves off being an expendable yet generic villain.

Thor is now a different character in this film than his first outing as he grows into a more mature and powerful warrior and It is show through Chris Hemsworth’s performance physically and emotionally while sharing very good chemistry with both Natalie Portman and Tom Hiddleston. Tom Hiddleston still continues to steal the show as the charismatic yet dastardly God of Mischief, Loki though he had little time he makes the most out of his scenes in hilarious, action-y and emotional moments in the film. Natalie Portman has more to do than being the clich├ęd “love interest” as she does share a believable romance with the titled character and have more of a personality. Returning characters such as the Warriors Three (Jamie Alexander, Zachary Levi replacing Josh Dallas and Ray Stevenson) had more time to shine along with Idris Elba’s Heimdall, Anthony Hopkins as Odin and even Rene Russo’s Frigga.  While Kat Denning’s Darcy is less annoying than the last film (gladly, she didn’t reference “Instagram” in this new film) and lastly, I noticed Stelan Skarsgard was off in this movie, his character was literally a huge change from the first film and The Avengers, they didn’t really address why his character became “like that” in this new film, the comedic timing and story line around him felt awkwardly placed for the most part (though he did share one good joke with Thor in the latter half).

The writing of the film delivers the fun of the last film with its well-timed (enough) humor and bigger action scenes. The film as a comedy as well, the comedy is bettered here; there were some well-timed scenes that feature one-liners, references, cameos and jokes that weren’t really forced in a moment of the film. Though most of the time it began to fall flat because of it being misplaced for the most part. Like in Iron Man 3, where somebody assumingly dies and the next scene would be one big joke. Thor: The Dark World functions more of a sci-fi soap opera and a fantasy-action film as if it is a mix of Lord of the Rings and Star Wars/Star Trek along with the vibe Game of Thrones (with Alan Taylor’s direction). In what Thor seem to be a smaller film than this one due to its location being focused on Earth than the other 8 realms, the mythology in Thor: The Dark World was brought to life in this new film. The special effects and the set design was able to bring Asgard to life as a living and breathing world (than in the first film being just an interior of the palace and the rainbow bridge) as it does show more of what is in Asgard and some of the realms of the nine. The action scenes in this film are bigger and better (with the help of it its bigger budget) as it re-captures the fun and excitement from The Avengers’ Battle of New York and the first scene in Thor where he battled the frost giants, right from scene one the film never stops in giving you the action.

In conclusion, Thor: The Dark World is a near-perfect experience and a solid entry in the franchise. It’s one of those rare movies in the winter season where it felt like a summer blockbuster. Alan Taylor along with the reunited cast were able to deliver a fun and intriguing superhero film, though minor flaws that I did address did ruin the experience for me quite a bit. Thor: The Dark World is something to be experienced in the big screen, If you are disappointed with the current Phase 2 film we had so far this year, this could certainly change your mind about it and will probably make you stay until the next one in this episodic saga. 

As always, make sure to stay until the end of the credits, there are actually 2 credits scenes this time and they are more relevant as a continuation for future films. 

MY RATING:
4/5 - FOR THE WIN!


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