Thor: The Dark World presents high-energy plot through flawless dialogue
By Jeffrey Robinowitz’17
Marvel’s Cinematic Universe is quickly becoming the new Pixar. Once again, Marvel and Disney deliver an excellent film that will please critics and audiences alike. Thor: The Dark World, which, if you attended the campus lecture presented by the film’s director Alan Taylor, shall not be referred to as Thor 2, is another surefire hit from the studio that keeps on giving. With familiar characters, a solid storyline, and writing and production far above the status quo, the film will delight anyone in the mood for a good old action-filled, popcorn flick.
One of the problems sequels often face is that most of the characters in the film have already been established. Sometimes their personalities are flexible and dynamic enough for new features to be injected into their personas without it feeling like a betrayal. However, the characters in Thor: The Dark World do not even take this chance. They stay true to the identities we already know them by and don’t explore much new territory. While this is probably the safe move, it is a dull one nonetheless.
Chris Hemsworth is back as the titular Thor and, once again, Thor is the main character of the film — not because he is the Shakespearian character the writers try to make him but because it is easy to root for the guy with the big hammer. He’s charming, he’s heroic, he’s got flowing blond hair and chiseled abs (which are shown off in one shirtless scene that exists only for that purpose), so why not make him the star? Thankfully, he is never the real emotional center of the film. His main objective is simply to be at the right place at the right time, hitting people and blowing stuff up — a task he achieves with ease.
Speaking of characters that should not be the emotional center of the film: Jane Foster! It’s not that Natalie Portman is a bad actress, but her character is so damn annoying.
It is worthy pointing out that, while Foster initially is portrayed as the classic “damsel in distress” who constantly needs protecting, this cliché is eventually dropped. Once the villain gets what he wants from her, he completely disregards her presence. By the end of the film, Foster is able to defend herself and even helps save the day.
Anthony Hopkins is also back as Odin, and the only change his character seems to have made is completely illogical. The film opens with Odin berating Loki for killing innocent humans and then sentencing Loki to eternity in the dungeons for this heinous crime. However, Odin later devalues humans numerous times. He insults Thor for loving Foster and, later, calls Foster “a goat at a dinner table” to her face in order to explain how out of place she is.
Christopher Eccleston, who some might know best as the ninth incarnation of The Doctor, plays the main bad guy Malekith. He is just a big, bad, evil dude who is thousands of years old, is pure darkness, and wants to destroy the universe. His character is nothing new, and nothing about his intentions or his actions inspires much of a desire to resent him from the audience. However, this really is not much of a problem since, personally speaking, the audience does not seem to care who Thor is fighting, instead focusing on how much he is fighting
Ultimately, the only person anyone honestly showed up to see is Tom Hiddleston as Loki, and that’s not a bad reason to see the film. Although Loki is locked in jail for a good part of the movie, the filmmakers wisely avoid cutting him out completely as his character is the best one to watch. Loki is just as hilarious and irreverent as ever. Every time you expect Loki to run out of comebacks or insults, he whips out one that’s even better than the last. And his role as the anti-hero is a nice step in the evolution of his character.
The Marvel staff writers really have mastered the art of screenwriting. The balance between serious dialogue and hilarious tension-breaking gags is perfect. Just as the suspense and danger seem to be reaching critical mass, some one-second joke will pop up and remind you that just because this movie is about the end of the world doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it.
Even plot-heavy scenes, where extensive exposition is necessary to explain what is going on in the movie, are made easier to swallow by humorous characters who can provide information and comic relief in a flawless one-two
The story is also excellently presented. The emotional turning points of the film really stick, and the pace is brisk enough so that most scenes never linger for too long. The mood is expertly crafted as, again, the writing goes a long way in balancing heavy and light moments to create a sense of importance while not sacrificing
However, in a movie that already has to deal with a lot of previously-established concepts and pseudo-science, plot holes are inevitable. They range from smart characters doing dumb things to unexplained intentions to convenient discoveries. However, none of them hurt the experience while watching the film, so there is no need to worry about the suspension of disbelief; it’ll be just fine.
Now, according to Wikipedia, Thor: The Dark World cost $170 million to make, an expense that is showcased in nearly every frame of the film. From costume design to make-up to visuals to everything and anything in between, no detail was too small to be overlooked by the hundreds (if not thousands or millions) of people employed behind the scenes of this film.
My only complaint about the visuals is that they sometimes seem a little overpowering. We get it: Asgard is the most beautiful and breathtaking place in existence. Enough with the big, shiny towers and flying boats!
Ultimately, the message of the film is its weakest component. The final few scenes are not particularly powerful, and the big emotional development Thor seems to have made doesn’t have much of an impact. And without spoiling the last moments of the film, the big twist ending is about as shocking as finding leaves in a forest.
That being said, Thor: The Dark World is an absolutely outstanding film that achieves everything we have come to expect from Marvel’s Cinematic Universe: fun and simple characters, smart and perfectly-written dialogue, a story that provides just enough awesomeness to overcome a few minor holes and gaps, and a level of production design that is flawless. Thor: The Dark World is a film that deserves to be seen complete on a big screen, complete with a bag of popcorn and soda at your side in a theater full of friends and fans.
First-year Jeffrey Robinowitz is a staff writer. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.