Monday, November 11, 2013

Thor: The Dark World

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Thor 2:  It's Hammer an example of why I'm not allowed to create movie titles.

Thor: The Dark World – 5 out of 5

I’m a pretty gigantic geek (you can take that statement to mean that I’m a fat, if you want to be a jerk). Being a huge geek (once again, feel free to take that to mean I am an overweight geek), I love comic books and have been a lifelong reader of Marvel comics. When a property that I’ve grown up reading gets made into a movie, I get very excited. Not only because it is an opportunity to see my favorite heroes and villains jump from being pencil and paint drawings and become living beings on the silver screen but I also really like seeing what the production does to make the translation; even if that means changing origin stories or altering their backgrounds slightly. I don’t nerd rage because The Hulk wasn’t getting larger as he became more pissed off or the fact that the existence of Donald Blake was just around in the form of a joke in the first Thor movie (besides, if they went the 60s route of Thor’s story, it probably would have ended up as embarrassing as David Hasselhoff as Nick Fury or the old Captain America movies where Steve Rogers is a surfer, artist lunkhead).

And speaking of Thor…

Our hero from Asgard is back and ready for more action after stopping his brother with the help of his Avenger brethren. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is hanging about on his home world (while occasionally working to bring peace to the Nine Realms), pining for the day he can return to see his beloved Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), while his brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is imprisoned for all eternity by his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins). However, the prophesied day called the Convergence is upon the Asgardians and all the Nine Realms are coming into alignment. This plays havoc on Earth and Jane Foster is teleported to where Odin hid the powerful and ancient weapon called the Aether, a weapon capable of bringing the universe back to darkness and one sought by the ruthless Dark Elf; Malekith (Christopher Eccleston). Thor rushes to his love’s side to try and save her as the Aether latched itself to her but now must team with his brother in order to destroy the Aether and stop Malekith from consuming its power and destroying all life in the galaxy.

                                                                                                                  Marvel Studios
"Hey Dad, check out what is happening to my right--oh, never mind."

I really enjoyed the first Thor film. Hiddleston and Hemsworth both perfectly played their roles of Loki and Thor to the point it was like they were born to play them. The film had grand action perfectly worthy of the space god and, furthermore, the film was pretty damn funny. That formula is kept in place for Thor’s trip to The Dark World but, this time, the ante is upped and the film is turned to 11 as everything about this movie hits epic scales.

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Also, Rene Russo has more than a single line in this film.

Thor: The Dark World does exactly what a sequel is suppose to do—and this massive shared universe that Marvel Studios is crafting is unlike anything else that has really ever been put out there and it only forces these properties to really step their game up with every outing. The story hit epic levels as it is no longer a family squabble told from the locations of Asgard and Earth like the first film but is now a massive battle that takes place on a galactic scale. Thor is no longer trying to stop his brother and prove to his father that he can be a big boy; instead, Thor is out to protect all the Nine Realms and stop Malekith from dooming all of existence.

But here lies the interesting twist to the film. 

                                                                                                                  Marvel Studios
The twist?  Jane Foster became a HUGE fan of Creed while Thor was away.

The scope is huge and we get to see visit other realms but the movie still focuses on Asgard and Earth. As huge as it is, the film still narrows in on the broken relationship between Thor and Loki and the relationship between Thor and Jane; both developing wonderfully and growing all the characters involved. That was something I was incredibly impressed with because the writers were able to have a film that felt personal and small but incredibly huge, massive and an ultimate epic at the same time. For every fireball-infused fight scene between the God of Thunder and Malekith, there’s a tender scene of Thor and Jane or a sibling rivalry between Thor and Loki as they try to work out their issues of both loving each other as family but hating each other for their morals (or lack there of). 

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Geez, leave Loki alone in a prison cell for 10 minutes and he instantly becomes your lazy
roommate who is always late with the rent, eats all your food, sleeps with your girlfriend, breaks your
stuff, never showers, punches you in the junk when you sleep, keys your car and tells your mom you died.

One of the biggest complaints from colleagues of mine of the first film was the heavy focus on the Asgardian side of the story. For example, the way the film was constantly cutting to Sif, Fandral (who was replaced by Zachary Levi in this film), Vol Stagg and Hogun and how they are dealing with Loki’s bid for the throne and the banishment of Thor. While these characters return, they no longer have the emphasis that had the last go around and this story, while still being huge and far spanning, mind you, is still centered on Thor and those closest to him. Plus, it was also really cool getting to see the Dark World and more of Asgard.

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"Guys, I've sneezed in the suit..."

The returning cast of the film is fantastic and some returners are allowed to finally get more attention that seemed lacking in the first go-around…I’m looking at you Heimdell. How on earth could you have the immensely talented Idris Elba and NOT give him a ton of screen time? While he still didn’t have the presence that someone of Elba’s talent deserves, it was nice to see more Heimdell in the film and see him kick more ass. And since I’m asking questions, why the fuck did people complain when they made Heimdell black in the films?  Oh, right...racism.

                                                                                                                  Marvel Studios
Look at him...he knows how awesome he is.

Tom Hiddleston really set a high standard with Loki and playing the villain in a Marvel film. So, how can you top Loki’s deceit from the first movie? Simple, you get one of the Doctors to play the villain Malekith. Right off the bat, Malekith has all the makings to be a tremendous bad dude because he looks terrifying (the make-up effects are tremendous in this movie) and, while Malekith may not be the most well-known comic book villain to the even most casual reader or even known to a person who just kind of heard of the existence of a book called comic, he proved to be the creature to up the amperage of the film. He’s foreboding, scary, intimidating and has a great side kick in the form of the Elf with a murder boner; Kurse (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agabaje—who not only looks awesome in his make-up but just makes the character a frightening beast of epic comic book proportions) but Christopher Eccleston brings in a chilling cool approach to the way he played the character. His dead-eyed stare and intense voice and posture really made the character something worthy of battling Thor and taking Mjolnir to the face.

                                                                                                                 Marvel Studios
Now take Mjolnir to the other side!

The drama is increased in this film as Jane is reunited with her God-man but they may end up losing each other as the Aether is destroying her from the inside out and Thor and Loki must learn to lean on each other after a horrific event from Malekith leaves them in mourning. But this film doesn’t get unnecessarily dark the way most superhero movies are going now-a-days (and I’ll be honest, I don’t mind the dark and gritty comic adaptations), like the previous Avengers-contained adventures (and that one where they were all together in…what was it called? The Team Who Avenges?), this movie balances out the drama with some great comedy—and I mean GREAT comedy.

                                                                                                                  Marvel Studios
I won't repeat the joke but it got pretty blue.

This movie is hysterical! From beginning to end, Thor 2:  Electric Boogaloo is funny and had me laughing to the point I nearly dumped my tub of popcorn (which would have been horrible because theater popcorn tastes awesome and it is too expensive to waste). That was one of the many reasons this movie worked so well for me. The film has a great, epic story that felt exactly how a comic book reads, the special effects were breath-taking, the make-up effects looked incredible, the acting was tremendous, the action was exciting, the drama and tension had the perfect amounts added to the film and, finally, the film was very funny. All these elements worked together, in concert, to make Thor: The Dark World not only an excellent addition to the Marvel shared universe or a great sequel to a killer opening movie but a movie that actually surpassed the one that came before it. That’s right, I think The Dark World was better than Thor’s first outing (I know I gave the first movie a 5 out of 5 but this one is just a little more 5 out of 5)…not to mention the mid-credits sequence that set up a teaser for next intergalactic Marvel adventure that I’m really excited for (fuck your spoilers, they teased Guardians of the Galaxy) made me geek out to the point my girlfriend was actually kinda embarrassed by me in the theater—I don’t know what her problem is, all I did was throw my hands up in the air (but I cared while I waved them) and then do an elaborate, 5 minute, victory dance that incorporated me parading up and down the aisles, mildly stripping (classy though, not trashy) and then tap dance along the armrests of the seats.

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I dance to impress Malekith.

Thor: The Dark World is how comic book adaptations should be. It has all the elements coming together in a way that made the film just pure fun entertainment.

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