News

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

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

Photo: YouTube

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

8 hours ago in Local Sports

Friday night’s Northwest Conference District scoreboard

ferndale vs marysville pilchuck boys

Check out Friday's scores from around the Northwest Conference plus find out when the teams are next in action and what games are on the radio on Saturday.

9 hours ago in Local Sports

Former Bothell star wins MVP as USA team win Rising Stars Challenge

zach lavine from NBA dot com via twitter

Zach LaVine, out of Bothell High School, had 30 points and seven rebounds and the United States team beat the World team in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night to kick off the NBA's All-Star weekend.

9 hours ago in Local Sports

Plum helps UW to win and No. 14 UCLA holds of WSU

Washington's Kelsey Plum (10) shoots a free throw during an NCAA college basketball game against Southern California, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Kelsey Plum scored 22 points and Washington turned back USC and Monique Billings scored half of her 16 points in the fourth quarter and No. 14 UCLA pulled away from WSU on Friday night.

11 hours ago in Local Sports

WWU softball goes 1-1 during first day of Dixie State Tournament

WWU logo Courtesy of WWU Athletics

Vikings beat Hawai'i Hilo 3-1, fall to Cal Baptist 6-0

13 hours ago in Local Sports

Storm signs forward Ramu Tokashiki to multiyear deal

stormramu

Tokashiki, a member of the 2016 WNBA All-Rookie Team, averaged 8.2 points, and 3.3 rebounds in her WNBA debut season.