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

in Local, Local Sports

Mariners game moved to KGMI due to windstorm/power outages

Fresh
A Seattle Mariners batting helmet is seen before a spring exhibition baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Monday, March 24, 2014, in Peoria, Ariz.

Today's Mariners vs. White Sox game will be heard on KGMI 790AM. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10pm.

in Local

The latest on Whatcom County winds

Fresh
A car crushed by a tree on Lakeway (Photo: Courtesy Dick Donahue)

KGMI News Reporting WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. – High winds continue to ravage Whatcom County. Here’s what we know so far, as…

in Local Sports

Langhorne leads Seattle Storm past San Antonio Stars

seattle storm logo

Crystal Langhorne had 22 points and 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season and the Seattle Storm beat the San Antonio Stars on Friday night.

in Local Sports

Seahawk starters expected to see extensive action against Chargers

seahawkschargers

The majority of Seattle's starters will play the entire first half and into the third quarter, coach Pete Carroll said. Coverage begins at 3 p.m. Saturday on KPUG 1170.

in Local Sports

Seager, Gutierrez homer, Walker goes 6 1-3 in M’s win

Seattle Mariners' Kyle Seager, right, is congratulated by teammates after hitting a solo home run off Oakland Athletics pitcher Jon Lester during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014. The Mariners won 2-1.

Kyle Seager and Franklin Gutierrez both had three hits and a homer and Taijuan Walker allowed three hits before leaving with an injury the Mariners beat the White Sox on Friday night.