MIXED REVIEWS: “Thor: The Dark World”
It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these, and this time we’re bringing in Sara Raasch to mix things up a bit with Glenn Hauman as we talk about Thor: The Dark World.
Glenn: So. How long have you been waiting for this film?
Sara: I was actually less hyped about this than any of the other Marvel films. I enjoyed Thor, but of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase One, excluding The Incredible Hulk, it was my least favorite. I didn’t buy tickets till after a friend saw it at the premiere. The thing that made me choose to go to the opening night screening rather than waiting was Loki. I really feel like he and Banner stole the show in The Avengers. So as it became clear that he was going to have a large role in Thor: The Dark World, I became more excited about it.
Glenn: What worked for you here that didn’t work as much in the first film? What improved for you?
Sara: I liked that the movie took itself more seriously than the first film and that it did away with the sorta slapstick Greek god fish outta water humor. I was glad he grew out of his petulant teenager phase.
Glenn: Thor was really Thor, in other words. Not so much humbled as humble. Although he still has trouble making his parents happy.
Sara: True. But that’s true to the comics and his back story.
Glenn: In so many ways, the story of Thor is one of family— not dysfunction, per se, but disapproval. In the first movie, Thor was a headstrong kid who couldn’t make his dad happy. In this one, he’s a more mature individual and he still can’t make his dad happy– and this time, it’s more Dad’s fault.
Sara: Yes, but even within that, they are all dedicated to each other.
Glenn: Very true. Thor and Frigga are still even loyal to Loki, at different levels.
Sara: The other thing that I found so much improved from the first movie was the size of the world. The first movie seemed very small. So much of the film was spent in that town in the middle of the desert. Where as in Thor: The Dark World we got to see Thor and crew across the 9 realms.
Glenn: And even on Earth, we get London and Greenwich as compared to New Mexico.
Sara: And then the Asgard sets were stunning.
Glenn: Did you see the film in 3D?
Sara: I did, which I normally wouldn’t do– I hate 3D movies. But I really wanted to see the 5 minutes of Captain America: The Winter Soldier footage.
Glenn: Do you feel the actors improved, or the characters and what they were given to do?
Sara: In general, both. I felt like the acting was consistently good with a few exceptions. Zachary Levi’s character fell flat for me. And as always, Kat Dennings plays Kat Dennings.
Glenn: But not as annoyingly as in 2 Broke Girls, so thanks for small miracles.
Sara: I thought Christopher Eccleston was good, but not exceptional, which is shocking becuase in general I love Eccleston.
Glenn: Eccleston was good, although it led to a particular moment of dissonance— when you see dimensional rifts opening up over England, my instinctive reaction is to wonder where the Time Lord is— and here he’s on the wrong side.
Glenn: And while we’re on the subject of bad guys… your object of affection…
Sara: So, okay, I’m obviously biased here, becuase I think Tom Hiddleston is the bee’s knees.
Glenn: You and half of the female audience for these films.
Sara: That being said. I really do think he’s a great actor. And I thought Loki was well done. For me the interactions between him and Thor really worked. And It was nice to see his character get at least a glimmer of redemption after the events of The Avengers.
Glenn: The thing that the movies have brought in a way the comics didn’t get for a long time if ever, is the family bond between these two. Only recently (he says, revealing his age) have they acted like siblings.
Sara: And I thought that really came across. Even after Loki denies his adopted Asgardian legacy, these two really are brothers. And they are each driven to achieve greatness and glory in their own way
Glenn: And they may still do so, although… well, why ruin the surprises?
Sara: You know I have a strict no spoiler policy!
Glenn: Yep. So we won’t even mention the fun cameos. However, we can say to stick around to the very end of the credits for two add-ons, right?
Sara: Yes, reasonable to say.
Glenn: How about the rest of the cast?
Sara: Wait, there were people in this movie other than Tom Hiddleston?
Glenn: Yes. The one with the big biceps? The crazy guy without pants? The hot chick in the leather armor?
Sara: Can I be Sif when I grow up?
Glenn: Well, I won’t complain if you grow up to be Sif.
Sara: I thought Chris Hemsworth did an excellent job as Thor. He has the range as an actor to pull of his machismo bravada as well as his softer moments with Natalie Portman.
Glenn: Hemsworth showed more charm than his previous outings, as though he’s finally found the right balance to play at being a Norse thunder god, a prince of the realm, and still a guy who can’t quite get everything to work perfectly and is a bit troubled by it.
Sara: I’m not sold on the chemistry between him and Portman.
Glenn: Me neither, but there’s certainly more here than, say, with Hayden Christiansen.
Sara: I was gonna reference that.
Glenn: Well, when you have that kissieface moment on the lake right out of Episode II–
Sara: Ugh. Ohh, how can we forget Idris Elba reprising his role as Heimdall. I was super disappointed that he was not, in fact, cancelling the apocalypse.
Glenn: He was actually the one character that seemed a bit diminished from the first film.
Sara: His performance felt pretty phoned in. He seemed one dimensional, and in general Elba can act, so I can’t help but wonder whos fault it was, his, the writers, the directors.
Glenn: I blame whoever had the idea to have him take off his helmet. It made him… fallible, rather this bronze guardian. So— is it worth seeing again?
Sara: I’d watch it again. In 2d this time. Like I said, I’m not big on 3d in movies in general and I didn’t feel that the 3d in Thor: The Dark World was either particularly groundbreaking, well done or integral to the movie experience.
Glenn: I think this was an upconversion job, and it really didn’t need to be. But with this film we now have scale that we didn’t have before, now that the origin movie’s out of the way. Granted, there’s still a lot of setup being laid for the next few films…
Sara: NO SPOILERS! But yes, I’m excited for the next pieces of the MCU Phase 2. As long as Marvel can avoid another misstep a la Iron Man 2.
Glenn: Well, the tough one is two films down the road. Can we at least tell people to rush to see it or next week’s Agents of SHIELD may be spoiled for them?
Sara: Yeah I think that’s fair game.
Glenn: Watch the film! And hope that the TV show measures up.
Sara: Fingers crossed for a Loki cameo next week!
Glenn: Hey— no spoilers, remember? We post this, and those women who just can’t get enough of Tom Hiddleston are going to be all a-flutter.
Sara: So true.