May 1, 2020
‘Thor 2’ Makes For A Rollicking Superhero Action Movie Except For All Those Parts Where It Is Boring
Have you had a chance to see one of approximately 1,000 movies that now make up the Marvel Avengers universe? Or perhaps you’re watching Agents of SHIELD. OK, you’re probably not watching that, but still. You know the drill. Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, the criminally under-used ScarJo as Black Widow. Everyone fights crime, or aliens, or criminal aliens. Everyone is really pretty to look at.
“Thor: The Dark World” aka Thor 2 is more of the same, and that’s good and bad.
Good: things blow up. Chris Hemsworth as Thor is inhumanly attractive. Tom Hiddleston as his tricksy brother Loki is equal parts ethereal and evil. There is more Idris Elba than in the last Thor movie, and here at Happy we are of the firm and unshakeable opinion that more Idris Elba equals more better everything.
Bad: a plot that drags even in the face of plenty of blowing things up and hammer throwing, Natalie Portman’s wooden acting, and the most boring romance of the century between Portman’s character, Jane Foster, and Thor.
Portman’s bad performance isn’t entirely her fault, as she’s given a script that gives her nothing to do except…OK, you remember the horror that was Star Wars I, II, and III? Remember how Portman’s role as Queen Amidala seemed to involve her doing nothing more than standing around behind pillars while the world went to hell around her?
That’s pretty much what Portman is reduced to here. She’s a handy plot device to move things along when needed, but otherwise she’s non-essential to the whole Clash of the Titans feel of things. See, there’s a dark elf, Malekith…Oh, stop whining. There’s no spoilers here unless you never saw a preview.
Malekith leads the..people? elves? whatever…of Svartalheim, one of the nine realms. The dark elves want everything to go dark, literally, and in case you miss this, we keep seeing darkness creeping across the land. Being dark evil elves, they have a dark evil weapon, the aether, which handily ends up living in Natalie Portman so that Thor has to come see her and eventually she has to go to Thor’s celestial home, Asgard. In between there’s a lot of wackiness of giant Thor stumbling his way through our crazy Earth ways and Portman drifting around behind pillars on Asgard. Oh, and the hammer. The hammer is just as dope as always.
The clomping plot has one saving grace, which is that Thor needs to make an alliance with Loki in order to try to defeat the dark world, which allows Hiddleston to show up and act circles around everyone else. Hiddleston is positively aglow with duplicity. He’s much more otherwordly-seeming than Thor, who just comes across like a really giant dude who has a hammer and likes to fight. That’s perfectly lovely, but what you’re really waiting for is Loki to start double double double crossing everyone in the film. He’s too little, too late, though, and can’t quite rescue the movie from itself.
Should you see it? Make yourself a little decision tree. Do I like when things blow up? Do I like superhero comic book action movies? If you’ve answered “yes” to both of those the path will inexorably lead to Thor. If not, you can probably give this a pass and watch it when it shows up on Netflix.
TRIGGER WARNING: If you do go, seeing it in 3D is totally worth it. However, seeing it with Dolby’s fancy new super-surround sound thingy, Atmos, is not worth it and is actually sort of enjoyment destroying. Where Atmos works very well in films that strive to be immersive like “Gravity,” here it just triggers your startle response. Every time there’s a hammer boom or a mighty strike of lightning or whatever the sound does not predictably coming at you from the screen area or the usual surround sound where all speakers are chugging along at maximum volume. Nope, instead it comes from behind you and next time over you and next time across from you and OH GOD MAKE IT STOP. It turned an action movie into a suspense movie, which was probably not the intent and is definitely not worth your extra coin.