Friday, 8 November 2013

Thor: The Dark World- Review

In Thor: The Dark World, audiences one again are transported to a marvelous world of Norse mythology and enraptured in the strained relationships of Thor and Jane, and Thor and Loki, and Thor and Odin, and Thor and Sif, Thor and Malekith, even Thor and Richard- the only people that Thor doesn't have an interesting relationship with aren't in the film for very long.

Lots of anticipation and expectation came leading up to this film. Of course it is another one of Marvel's superhero movies and with Disney backing it, promotion for it was, of course, over the top. With all the hype and build, it is difficult for a film to live up to that level of expectation and this film....I would argue barely met that mark. have only read a total of 1 Thor comic, you could argue that The Trials of Loki counts as 2 if you want, so I don't know all that happens in the comic books and what doesn't. I've heard that a lot of things driving this movie were not in the books, such as the power known as the aether, and many fans loyal to the comic books were disgruntled with that fact. For years now we've had movies that were based off books, yes comic books count, and countless times they have changed things up from the book because not every book can easily be turned into a thrilling movie that will keep the audience engaged. I learned from my screenwriting class, there has to be something in these kinds of action movies that ties the entire film together and keeps the plot and story moving, and for this film what keeps it moving is the aether and Malekith.

Malekith, played by our glorious 9th Doctor Christopher Eccleston, is ruler of the dark elves, believed to be extinct thanks to Odin's father Borr, but instead they were just sleeping. Their only goal is to obtain the power known as the aether, the ultimate power, and destroy the nine realms once the alignment of them is complete. Which is a very good striving point for the film's antogonist and his constant terrorizing is what keeps the story moving.

Another person who keeps the story moving is Jane Foster, once again played by Natalie Portman. One could say that Foster is pretty much the cause of everything that happens in the film. All the major events happen pretty much because of her and her lack of being a proper scientist. Her take on how to proceed in finding other worldly objects is the same that was in Prometheus. 'Weird, random, alien object? I think I'll touch it.' Hollywood is really making scientists look like fools. But then for a lot of the film she is back to being that smart astrophysicist that we all grew accustomed to in the first film. So all the people that get hurt or killed in this film can blame Jane Foster for it.

One thing that I really enjoyed was the director Alan Taylor. This was his first feature film and previously worked on Game of Thrones, and while a lot of the shots and blocking was very reminiscent of that show, it works. Asgard and the world of Game of Thrones are very similar, and if you think about it Thor is pretty much about a game of thrones as well. The commonalities in shots and blocking worked really well and brought a different cinematic quality to Thor that wasn't in the first one.

Other similarities to be found throughout the film are:

-Star Wars
When the dark elves attack, especially with their space ships, it looks a lot like the Empire striking back. Additionally, Skywalker Sound added the post production sounds so all those laser guns and the sound of the ships seem like they were just re-used sounds from Star Wars. I love those sounds but it kind of takes you out of the moment if you recognize it.

-Lord of the Rings

Tolkien thought up his elves based off of the light elves of Norse Mythology, so to see some similarities between these elves, even if these elves were the dark ones, and the ones found in the Lord of the Rings movies brings it full circle in a way. There obviously is a distinct difference between the majestic elves that we already know and these vengeful elves but I can see some commonalities, especially in the light hair with the different plaits to it. Also the dark elves have their own elvish language, and at times the music sounded like music that would come from Middle Earth. Such commonalities isn't too surprising given the history of the Tolkien elves, and I appreciate the relationship between the two if it was on purpose, but once again it is something that takes you out of the experience.

I'm not just talking about Zachary Levi, voice of Flynn Ryder now playing Fandral, being in this film. You don't really notice how the Asgardian palace is shaped like the castle/kingdom Rapunzel's parents rule over until this one particular scene involving floating lights at night time, and they aren't stars. It was just a little thing but it makes you say to yourself 'haven't we seen this before?'

-Star Trek
This is in reference to the 2009 film. Just a lot of the insides of the dark elves ships reminded me of the inside of the Romulan's ships. They are both dark races and their ships reflect that, but the dripping, metallic yet natural elements can start looking very similar.

-Doctor Who
The fact that Foster and her team of scientists: a crazy man, an intern, and the intern's intern, has moved from New Mexico to London really doesn't help you to not think about Doctor Who. Then you toss in a bunch of different aliens and gods and you just are waiting for the Doctor to show up and fix the whole mess before Thor does. Particularly when they get to the crisis point of the film, it would make a better episode of Doctor Who- a really good one too- than part of a Thor film. If it was anywhere but in London, this relationship would not be noticed, but it was in London, therefore it is noticed.

Then there is Loki. I heard, or possibly read, that they went back and shot some extra scenes with Loki just to have more of him in the film. I can understand why but I can also point out which scenes those were because there were a few scenes of him that I really wondered why they were there because they did nothing for the story. Additionally, my journey with Loki was a roller coaster of indifference, to hope, to joy, to disappointment, and back to indifference. Of course as the God of Mischief he does live up the title, but there are many choices made in the film by him that I'm iffy about. We'll just have to see what decisions his future writers decide to make for him.

Overall, the film was enjoyable, I personally liked it better than the first Thor. There were some things that they really didn't need, and at times it felt like scenes were missing. It didn't flow as well as one would hope, but the overall story is compelling despite it being Foster driven and not so much Thor driven; really you could argue that this film's protagonist is Jane Foster and not Thor. It was a good film and there were a lot of things that I liked about it but still several things that I questioned. My biggest complaint is that there were a lot of elements from other things thrown in there that took you out of the film and your attention was diverted and because the flow wasn't so great, it was hard to get back into it.

I would recommend people to see it, just only when it is out on DVD and Blu-Ray. Unless you are a die-hard fan or can't think of what movie to see, then by all means go to the theatre and see it. It also really doesn't need to be in 3D either.


P.S. I also love the random Chris O'Dowd in there. I love him, he is great, and there really is no need for his character, Richard, to be in there because the writers could easily have worked around him, but it was amusing to see him.

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