News

REVIEW: It’s Hammer Time in ‘The Dark World’

REVIEW: It’s Hammer Time in ‘The Dark World’

Chris Hemsworth stars as Thor.

Genre:  Action, Adventure, Fantasy | Run Time: 112 min | Rated: PG-13
Director: Alan Taylor | Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston

By: George Wolf

The very superhero nature of Thor presents a catch-22 for his standalone film installments. The medieval themes which anchor the character don’t really lend themselves to the fun we expect from Avengers films, yet leaving these themes behind would render any Thor adventure rather pointless.

The first film found a way to balance things quite nicely, establishing the blueprint that Thor:  The Dark World revises in even more impressive fashion.

The filmmakers made two smart moves right off the bat:  1) making Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) more than a bystander, and 2) bringing Loki (Tom Hiddleston) back for another round.

Well-rounded villains can make or break these films, and, in Hiddleston’s capable hands, Loki is the most interesting character on the screen. Sentenced to life in an Asgard prison by King Odin (Anthony Hopkins, finding just the right regal tone), Loki suddenly finds himself in high demand.

On Earth, Jane has stumbled into one the portals between worlds, and she becomes the keeper of something an ancient Dark Lord wants very badly. To save Jane and, a bit more importantly, the universe, Thor and Loki have to put aside old grudges and work together.

Director Alan Taylor comes with some serious medieval bonafides, directing several episodes of …pause for a moment of suitably reverential fanboy silence…Game of Thrones. His instincts for the pacing and framework needed to keep the Asgard scenes vital is spot on. While this may not be surprising, Taylor also shows himself to be more than capable of keeping the fun meter jumping as well.

The lively script, while a bit complicated in the early stages, settles into a very enjoyable rhythm that Taylor exploits well. Expect some nice surprises, of both the dark and light variety, as the film builds to an impressive final battle.

Screenwriters Christopher Yost,  Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely even manage to land a few subtle jabs about the folly of war and how easily one army’s hero can resemble another’s zealot. Well played.

As Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth again displays a mix of charisma, physique and temperament that makes the role his own.  His scenes with Hiddleston are a mischievous hoot, both actors seemingly locked in to both their characters and the expectations of one another.

Aside from one curiously low-tech moment of Thor taking flight, much of the film’s 3D presentation looks fantastic, with a broader, more heroic gloss. In particular, an Asgard ceremony set amid candle lights and waterfalls is downright stunning.

The only thing keeping Thor: The Dark World from superhero elite status is a first act that drags a bit. Once that is vanquished, acts two and three bring richer storytelling than we have seen from Thor. Yes, this film is darker, but it’s also more fun.

And, keep in your seat for two extra scenes.

Verdict-3-5-Stars

Read more movie reviews at MaddWolf.com.

Recent Headlines

in Local Sports

Hernandez strikes out 12 as Seattle beats Texas 3-1

felix hernadez seattle mariners mlb generic

Felix Hernandez struck out 12 over seven innings

in Sports

Saturday’s NHL Playoff Results

FILE - In this file photo taken Sept. 17, 2012, the NHL logo is seen on a goal at a Nashville Predators practice rink in Nashville, Tenn. The NHL eliminated 16 more days from the regular-season schedule Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, and if a deal with the players' association isn't reached soon the whole season could be lost. The league wiped out all games through Dec. 30 in its latest round of cancellations. Negotiations between the league and the players' association broke off last week, but NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Sunday the sides are trying to restart talks this week.

Lightning rebound to even series against Red Wings Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop stopped 24 shots for his first NHL playoff…

in Local Sports

Calgary coach Bob Hartley fined $50,000 by the NHL

Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley stands behind his bench during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh Friday, Dec. 12, 2014. The Penguins won 3-1.

Hartley was fined by the NHL for his responsibility for a brawl late in the Flames' 4-1 loss in Vancouver on Friday

in Sports

NBA Playoffs: Warriors survive scare, Wizards beat Raptors in OT, Bulls decisive over Bucks, Rockets beat Mavs

Golden State Warriors shooting guard Stephen Curry gestures against the Los Angeles Clippers during the first quarter of Game 6 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, May 1, 2014.

Stephen Curry scored 34 points with an MVP-worthy performance, and the Golden State went up big before holding off New Orleans.

in Sports

NHL player Jarret Stoll arrested in Las Vegas

File Photo: Jarret Stoll at the 2014 ESPY's. 
Credit: FayesVision/WENN.com

The two-time Stanley Cup winner was arrested Friday for suspected cocaine possession at the MGM Grand Hotel's Wet Republic pool complex.