Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars
Meet the Dark Elves, a race of beings intent on ruling the world thanks to a weapon they possess call the Aether. Defeated by warriors from Asgard, including Thor (Hemsworth), the Elves’ leader, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), escapes, intent on striking again. Thinking they are doing the right thing, the warriors try to bury the Aether deep and out of site. Sadly, they buried most of the fun in this film with them.
Oddly paced and slow to start, “Thor: The Dark World” is an overall good film, yet it pales in comparison to the Marvel films that have come before it. Though this film retains the first film’s humor it takes itself too seriously at times. Part of the reason is that the first half of the film is more concerned with Jane (Portman). Underused in the first film it’s as if the producers wanted to get their money’s worth this time out. Along with Jane we get her friend, Darcy (Kat Dennings). This is a good thing. The scenes with Dennings are among the best in the film. She keeps the story moving along. The other plus is Hiddleston as Thor’s older brother, Loki. Bitter at having been overlooked for the throne, Loki is a snake in Norse clothing. Hemsworth is a fine balance of strength and humor and, once the action starts, takes the film over.
If there is a major flaw in the film it is the direction of Alan Taylor, who honed his craft on many HBO series over the years. He only has three feature films to his credit in 18 years, the most recent released a decade ago. Three movies in that time is fine if you’re Terrence Malick. Taylor isn’t. What’s odd is that there is really nothing in his past credits that would warrant him getting this assignment. “The Sopranos?” “Nurse Jackie?” “Mad Men?” Good dramas all, but nothing there suggests the ability to helm a major special effects movie. The fact he is slated to direct the new “Terminator” film is pretty disconcerting.
Pacing aside, the film does deliver some thrills once the action begins. And thrills are what you’re paying your money to see.