Comic book movies have certainly come a long way, well let me clarify, comic movies based on Marvel properties have certainly come a long way in the past almost twenty years, starting in 1998 with the movie based on the unlikely to ever get made into a badass movie ‘Blade’, which in turn ironically enough they later changed the comic depiction to look more like Wesley Snipes and in turn made that B list character, while still B list, but an interesting B list character. We went from the godawful 1990 Captain America movie, in which Captain America and the Red Skull, while in the film, are only barely shown in their iconic looks from the comics, huh, reminds me a lot of this summer’s Iron Man 3, which for a film called Iron Man 3, certainly didn’t feature a lot of Iron Man in it. To compare that’d be like if this movie Thor was stuck in his sometimes alter ego from the comics, the crippled physician Dr. Donald Blake for half the movie, thankfully that was not the case.
I loved the previous Thor movie that Kenneth Branagh had directed two years ago, it had a nice blend of action, comedy, drama, and romance basically everything you need in a comic book based movie to capture a full wide audience. And I’d never even really been all too interested in the character prior to the movie for the most part, sure I was aware of him, I’ve been reading comics, mostly Marvel ones at that since I could read, but Thor never really appealed to me with all the ‘I say thee Nays’, and other such faux Shakespearean-esque dialogue that Stan Lee had originally wrote the character with, it kind of bored me, people said it was good but I didn’t see the appeal, kind of like college football to me personally.
But the movie managed to capture my attention, and not just as a placeholder building up to the The Avengers movie, and it did a good job of that too. So when it came time for the inevitable sequel, I was genuinely excited to see this movie, so much so I contemplated on going to the all day marathon at my local AMC theater, with the first movie and The Avengers, but I decided against it, since I already had those movies on dvd. But I did go to the 8:00 pm showing of Thor:The Dark World, because I’m not passing that one up.
Sidenote: Let me just say that I absolutely love that movie theaters are doing 8:00 screenings of big movies now, along with the already established midnight show tradition. I saw midnight showings for both The Dark Knight, and The Incredible Hulk, while I was still in the Navy, and it was brutal at work the next day both times, totally worth it, but if they had an earlier option then I gladly would have taken it.
Thor: The Dark World takes place about two years after the events of the first movie, and I’m assuming fitting in storywise after Iron Man 3 as well, seeing as the Agents of SHIELD show takes place after that time frame and they’re doing a tie in episode in a few weeks ( I can almost see the little corner note on the ‘cover’ of the issue saying Thor 2 continues in this issue) The Rainbow Bridge has been repaired (due to the return of the Tesseract to Asgard, not mentioned in the movie but in the tie in prequal comic, which I thought was pretty awesome, and made sense, since the Tesseract opening looked exactly like the Rainbow Bridge teleportation, which leads me to still hold on to my theory that the Red Skull was merely teleported to Asgard at the end of the first Cap flick, so we should expect him back at some point, maybe even in the next, awesome as hell looking movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier, just sayin’.
But I digress, so Thor’s busy battling it out across the nine realms bringing peace to the universe, and we get to see the last battle of that, which you also saw in most of the commericials of the movie, against one of the Stone Men, that featured in the comics not too long ago in the Planet Hulk storyline. Loki’s in his magic, clear walled prison, since that’s the thing now is put bad guys in clear prisons…and good guys too (see Man of Steel) spending most of his time reading, cause reading is fundamental.
Meanwhile on earth, Dr. Jane Foster (played by Natalie Portman) and her intern Darcy (Kat Dennings), are researching some energy trails in London, England, and happen to stumble across this energy field of sorts called the Aether, which awakens the villains of this picture, the Dark Elves and their leader, Malakith (Christopher “The NInth Doctor” Eccleston”) from their ages old slumber, and they proceed to start wrecking shit until they get their hands on this stuff, which has the ability to unmake the universe somehow. On thinking back on it now, it reminded me of the planet destroying matter that Nero had in the Star Trek reboot. To sum up this plot summary without getting into spoiler territory, Thor shows up, takes Jane to Asgard, where she has one of the most awkward meet the parents of the person you’re dating moments in history, and the bad guys show up, wreck more shit, and then Thor has to team up with his untrustworthy stepbrother Loki to find a way to the Dark World, where they have to go to to be able to destroy the matter and stop the once and former Doctor from exterminating existence.
The good: There’s a lot of good in this movie, starting off with the fangirls’ favorite Loki as played by Tom HIddleston, he absolutely steals every scene he’s in, definitely the best villain that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has come across yet, he just kills it. Also the cast all around has great places to shine, Chris Hemsworth pretty much is Thor as much as RDJ is Iron Man, even when I read the comics those are the voices that are in my head, they define the roles perfectly. Kat Dennings is cute and funny as the last one, and her and Natalie Portman, especially Natalie Portman get more to do in this film than the last time, which is great. Director Alan Taylor of Game of Thrones and other HBO shows fame managed to make the movie with more heart and humor than the last one, without the humor turning the movie into a dumb comedy.
The bad: The villains are especially one note, there’s not really a whole lot for Christoper Eccleston to do but show up, scowl, say something in dark elvish and occasionally English and await his defeat more or less, and also I wasn’t a big fan of the use of Lost’s Adewale Akkinuyoye-Agabaje as Algrim/Kurse, sure he looked cool, but once he’s transformed into Kurse, not too far into the movie, a dark elf powerhouse type monster, he’s essentially like a badass version of the dogfaced henchmen from The Fifth Element
And lastly I was hoping to get more Sif and the Warriors Three in this movie, they’re barely in it this time out, and one of my favorite actors Zachary Levi from TV’s Chuck took over for Josh (Once upon a Time) Dallas as Fandral, so I was hoping to have more Chuck vs. The Dark Elves type action.
Some flaws aside it’s still a great time at the movies, and be sure to stick around past the credits as with all Marvel movies, this time especially, there’s two sequences this time, no spoilers but one of them sets up the next part of Marvel action, unlike in Iron Man 3, which you stick around the credits to get a dumb joke sequence. I’ll give it a four out of five Mjolnirs.
So what did you guys think of the movie, feel free to leave me a comment here, or check me out on either twitter or Facebook, @MichaelKeskeys on twitter, and just Mike Keskeys on facebook. I’d love to get some geek discussion going on. Or, if you want to read some of my classic reviews, check out http://www.smartpopcorn.com, I used to write under the alias Reel American Hero. So, in tradition with that, till next time guys be sure to keep it Reel.