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Thor Ventures Into A Brave, New Fantastical Dark World (Movie Review)

Thor TNBefore I begin I have to be honest with you all.  I forgot how awesome the first Thor movie really was until I revisited it this past weekend, finally being able to unwind and watch a Blu-ray in my new house.  Anyway, the first Thor is a big ball of fun, in my opinion, and I embarrassingly remember how apprehensive I was back in the day when they first announced they were making a big screen solo adaptation of the Marvel Comics Norse superhero.  I was definitely not a believer back then.  Iron Man was one thing, but introducing the world to a mythological interstellar superhero was just not going to fly…at least I thought.  Man, I could not have been more wrong.  And coincidentally, I’m glad I was wrong about that because not only did I enjoy the first Thor film, but I also loved his character in the subsequent Avengers flick too.  So here we are.  It’s November 2013 and we all know what time it is, right?  Of course we do!  It’s time to get down with the further adventures of Thor!  So go grab your hammer and come fly with me.

As I kind of mentioned above, Thor: The Dark World is the second Thor film following 2011’s Thor and if you’re counting, it’s also the eighth installment, I think, in the “Marvel Cinematic Universe.”  The film is directed by Alan Taylor, adapted from a screenplay written by Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.  It features our titular hero, Chris Hemsworth, Luke Skywalker’s mom, Natalie Portman, my new favorite baddie, Tom Hiddleston, Prometheus alumni, Idris Elba, the Punisher, Ray Stevenson, Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgård, Tadanobu Asano, Jaimie Alexander, Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins all reprising their roles from the first film, with newcomers Christopher Eccleston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Zachary Levi and Clive Russell joining the all-star cast.

So this time out, unfortunately, it should come as no surprise to anyone that Kenneth Branagh did not returned.  While I was saddened by this news initially, I decided to come into this newest Thor universe with the utmost of optimism.  I had so much fun with the first, how could they possibly screw this one up?  Gulp. Shh!  Don’t answer that!  So before we even go into more detail discussing Thor: The Dark World, how about those international box office numbers it threw up?!!  Wow wee!  A week before the film’s US debut, it has already taken in 109 million at the box office.  We should be talking about “Thor 3” already!  Haha.

But seriously…while we are already gathered here…let’s indeed talk about Thor: The Dark World.   One word…wow!   I had a blast with this one!  There’s so much to talk about.  I’m as giddy as school kid right now after just leaving the press screening tonight (Monday).  And how can I not be excited about this flick?   It’s a mixture of the two biggest loves of my life…Spartacus: Blood and Sand (without the remorse of the series finale) and the magic, fantasy and science fiction action of Star Wars.  Ba da bing!   Life is good tonight!!!  And can I tell you how happy I was to finally see a film take a chance and give the fans what they want…less time on planet Earth and more in the fantastical other eight realms out there?  Imagine if Man of Steel would have just stayed on Krypton the entire movie and what a winner that would have been for us all, then you’ll understand where I’m coming from here.  There are new, fresh and exciting environments to explore here and I for one couldn’t be happier with the filmmakers’ decisions to stray away from the grounded safety nets they employed early on in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and take big chances like they are doing now.  I believe it paid off handsomely here.

I’ve always been a big fan of Christopher Eccleston and his ability to play a treacherous villain in other films so it’s with great satisfaction that I can honestly say that he doesn’t disappoint here as the leader of the Dark Elves, Malekith.  And while we are talking about the actors, how about an enormous round of applause for Chris Hemsworth?  Man, has this guy grown to iconically fill Thor’s costume with both physicality (the guy’s cut) and character traits (a Spartacus-like cunning mentality).  He embodies everything about the legendary comic book hero and there’s no doubt about it that not only does he feel comfortable in the role, but he enjoys the hell out of it too.  So I guess what I am trying to say is he’s no Bruce Willis.  He’s been showing up each and every time he puts those tights on in the past three flicks his character has been part of.  And while we are talking about the character of Thor, how can we not talk about Loki?  Here’s a villain that I wasn’t all too fond about in the first Thor, but man oh man has this guy grown on me.  Tom Hiddleston may be the best part about this Marvel Cinematic Universe.  This guy just brings it and he commands the screen each and every time he’s in a frame whether he’s sulking in a corner or committing a devious act of deception.  This guy is the number one reason why I can say that out of all the Avenger solo films thus far, I think the Thor series are honestly my favorite.  Three years ago I would have felt blasphemous even thinking that way and now all I can dwell upon is the fact that a Thor film might actually grace my Top 10 list of the year or at least come awfully close to it.  And wow…I could go on and on about this cast.  I mean, just look at all those big names up above.  From Natalie Portman to Renee Russo, they just all deliver the goods and none of them, I mean none of them, look bored doing so.  This is going to be one hell of a future Blu-ray release (although you know it will be horrendously priced and packaged thanks to Disney) and I’m actually looking forward to all the behind-the-scenes footage here if nothing more than my curiosity which has got the best of me to see whether or not the cast had as much fun behind the camera as they do on.  The chemistry here is just spot on and in my opinion, lightning has struck twice for Marvel now, with Avengers and now Thor: The Dark World.

So I mentioned Eccleston as Malekith the Dark Elf, but what’s this flick really all about?  Like its seven Marvel Cinematic Universe predecessors, Thor: The Dark World picks up right where the other entries in the franchise left off, which would be post events in The Avengers and the lackluster Iron Man 3.  Obviously Loki (Hiddleston) is in chains back up in Asgard and Jane Foster (Portman) is still mad some two years later for Thor never coming back for her despite him being in NYC for “The Battle of New York.”  But let’s face it, Thor and his trusty militia have been a very busy reforging peace across all Nine Realms after the destruction of the Bifrost in the first Thor feature.  However, before all of this we are treated to a little backstory ala Lord of the Rings style where we learn about the Dark Elves and a red “slither” like substance called the Aether, an element of destruction they planned on using to restore the world to darkness before the soldiers of Asgard, led by Odin’s (Hopkins) father, Bor, intervened.  Back in modern days, an unhappy Jane just so happens to discover a wormhole where conveniently a vortex sucks her in and the long forgotten substance, the Aether, inhabits her body.  And the rest as Asgardians like to call it is history as both Thor and a re-awakened Malekith take a keen interest in Jane and that substance that lives within her.  It’s a mad dash to the finish line as Thor must protect and uphold the peace and progress he’s made in the past two years across the Nine Realms as well as save the woman he loves, thwart off the Dark Elves’ sinister advances and oh why not…ask Loki for his assistance too.  You all know how that’s going to turn out, right?

Rejoice!  Everything we all loved about The Avengers and Thor is all here (plus less time on boring Earth).  The comic book action we all adore coupled with the campy humor and satire we expect and the love story that’s a given all align to form that perfect 800-lb Gorilla shake that you can only get at Robeks (and regrettably there’s not one in Texas) .  This film tastes that good!  I had a an absolute blast with this one and for something like this to take my mind off of all the stress I have in life it makes it the best drug one can buy.  Run….don’t walk…to a theater near you.  If I had the leisure downtime in life, I would be having a second helping of Thor: The Dark World.  But I do not.  So I’ll live vicariously through all of you.  Here’s hoping that Captain America: Winter Soldier is just as good as what I saw tonight.  Blast Kiss’ “God of Thunder” while driving to cineplex to see this and most importantly…have fun and enjoy!

Thor

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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