Thor: The Dark World movie review

thor-the-dark-worldAfter reading that Thor: The Dark World had not been especially well received by critics (66% on is not a universal panning, but also not a ringing endorsement), I dialed my already lowered expectations down. Although I think Chris Hemsworth is the new charismatic movie super star we desperately needed in the wake of the aging of Schwarzenegger, Willis and Stalone, the first Thor installment wasn’t exactly great and the trailer for this flick didn’t get me excited for the flick. So, perhaps this is why I was pleasantly surprised by this movie and I think my blurb for Thor: The Dark World might have to be something along the lines of “non-stop action thrill ride.”

Before digging into the movie itself, I briefly want to address the critics and their concerns.

Tom Long from the Detroit News writes:
Can we please cease and desist with movies where not just the fate of a person, or a family, or a city, or even a world but where THE FATE OF ALL EXISTENCE is at stake? Wouldn’t it be nice to see a superhero simply rescue a puppy sometime?

This response is… curious. Why are high stakes bad? And who the hell wants to watch a movie about Thor rescuing puppies? (OK, I admit, that does sound awesome, but instead of Thor, it’d be Captain America, and he’d be carrying the puppies in his shield…) I’m sure this is sarcasm, but… I dunno, Tom. It’s a super hero movie… It’s right there in the genre: super.

Mara Reinstein from Us Weekly writes:
The ambitious Game of Thrones-esque mythology can’t mask the fact that this superhero entry is just another piece of mildly satisfying, disposable entertainment.

It’s kind of hard to equate Thor: The Dark World with Games of Thrones (even if they did grab the show’s director for this sequel) given that the first novel in that series was published in 1996 and Thor’s a legend that traces its roots back to Roman times … also, I don’t think Games of Thrones includes lasers, space shifts and other sci fi elements, but I could be wrong.

Gary Wolcott from Tri-City Herald writes:
“Thor”t of good. Decent effects but not that ab-thor-bing.

OK, moving on.

For anyone who’s seen the flick, it goes without saying that Thor: The Dark World is much better than its Dutch angling predecessor. This movie feels much more cohesive and moves at a more rapid pace than the first one. I’m sure that this is in part due to an improved script, but, I would be remiss if I did not again reiterate that I don’t miss Kenneth Branagh’s Dutch angles. Branagh is, of course, a great director (not to mention actor), but his particular skill set didn’t work so great for the first Thor flick, but this time, I think they have something worthwhile here, even if it’s not exactly a classic.

On to the spoilers!

Besides replacing Branagh with director Alan Taylor, I think they also found the right mix for some of their characters:

Kat Dennings, for example… good in small doses. In the first flick, we got a bit too much of her, but this time, I think they found the right mix. I also think that less of The Warriors Three is more, so their smaller presence works well. This goes for Sif as well, although I thought they were going to love triangle it up between Sif, Thor and Natalie Portman, but that didn’t happen. Portman is… you know, Portman. Between the Thor movies and the Star Wars movies… I think it might be time to keep ol’ Natalie away from the action flicks.

As for new additions, it was nice to have a brief cameo from Chris O’Dowd, who is one of the funniest SOBs around. Christopher Eccleston didn’t exactly blow me away, but he was under so much makeup, it hardly made a difference who played Malekith… you know, as long as it wasn’t Dennis Hopper or something.

Tom Hiddleston and Anthony Hopkins were awesome as always, but I want to take a moment and point out Idris Elba as Heimdall – that dude is awesome. There’s something about the way he carries himself in the role that works so well.

Sure, it’s not all sunshine and roses:

  1. I don’t truly buy that Jane and Thor love each other, but that’s mostly the first movie’s fault
  2. this movie could use an extra 20% or so more Loki
  3. Jane needs to slap people less
  4. Levity is great (I loved the Captain America cameo and Thor hanging his hammer on the coat hook), but there is a line – you’ve already got Kat Dennings in the movie, so we don’t really need to see Stellan Skarsgård’s tighty whities
  5. whew, lots of exposition – they even have Odin tell the same story twice
  6. that gizmo at the end of the movie was what now? interdimensional zapper thing which targets stuff how?

I’m sure there are other things about the movie that bugged me, but for the most part, Thor: The Dark World is a good time at the movies, but if you don’t like or are tired of super heroes and action/comedy, then you might want to steer clear of this flick. As a fan of the genre, I’m biased, but I can’t help it – I have to give Thor: The Dark World an 8 out 10. I had fun at the movies and I think audiences that have dug the Marvel movies so far will like this one, too.

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on November 11, 2013, in movie review and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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