Screened Out – Thor: The Dark World

By : Stephen Miller
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Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Rene Russo

In the olden days, we used to tell ourselves stories of gods and other super-humans for good reasons. We either used these legendary characters to express human heroics or foibles, or we cast gods in stories that explained things we didn’t understand, like where thunder came from and where our souls went we died.

Nowadays, it seems the only things gods and demigods are good for are a few jokes and lots of eye candy. At least, that’s all Hollywood can manage with Thor: The Dark World.

Thor (Hemsworth) has stayed away from his human love interest Portman for over two years. Presumably, he was busy saving the Earth in The Avengers and studying how to take over for his aging dad Odin (Hopkins). However, some evil alien elves have come back to life to restart an ancient war; their ultimate goal is to bring darkness to Earth and the other eight realms Thor and his buddies protect. In order to conquer everyone, the evil elves first have to secure a special weapon, dark gooey stuff that Thor’s grandfather hid on Earth thousands of years before. Portman accidentally finds the gooey stuff first.

No, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. And it raises a lot of questions, like would Thor have even come back to find his “true love” Portman if she hadn’t acquired the evil goo?

In between, whacky scientist Skarsrd runs around either naked or without pants for comic relief. (I swear to Thor’s dad Odin that I’m not making this up!)

Evil elves don't make for very inspiring nemeses.

Evil elves don’t make for very inspiring nemeses.

Am I posting spoilers? I am, but barely. The Dark World never pretends to be important or deep; instead, it finds lots of silly, brainless jokes to make. Gone is the Shakespearean seriousness director Kenneth Branagh injected into the first Thor movie. Instead, new director Alan Taylor (Palookaville) keeps everything light and visually overwhelming.

Besides being fun to look at, The Dark World has some pretty credible actors, Hopkins, mama-God Russo, and especially Tom Hiddleston as Thor’s delightfully impish brother Loki.

Ratings Key

See it now! Buy the DVD! Quote lines at parties!

Definitely worth the price of admission

It’s useful as a distraction

Maybe if someone else pays and you need a nap

Slightly worse than eternal damnation

Then there are those nine realms, dimensions, that Thor flits between. That aspect apparently inspired Taylor and his scriptwriters (There are four writing credits, a lot of people for such a frivolous script!) They have Thor and his nemeses beating the holy living pudding out of each other as they zip from world to world to world. It goes on for quite some time, as if all this hyper-realized hand-to-hand combat could cover up the inscrutability of the whacked-out plot.

However, like I said, boy, is Thor: The Dark World loud and pretty and fast! Is it also worth your 10 bucks? Sure, if you’re a fan of the comic books or if you need some pointless, thoughtless entertainment. However, all being told, this absurd tale only achieves well rendered special effects and silliness. That means it’s also realms and realms away from being classic.

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