The Dark World
“Long before the birth of Light, there was Darkness; and from that Darkness came the Dark Elves. Millennia ago, the most ruthless of their kind—Malekith– sought to transform our Universe back to one of Eternal Night.”
For a moment I thought that I had wandered into Lord of the Rings revisited. Hearing words like ‘Dark Elves’ does that to me; but no. I soon realized that it was Anthony Hopkins as Odin, sounding as if he was reading from a script whilst standing at a microphone—and given that he has admitted to having no liking for the material I’ll assume he was—and doing his faux-gravitas and give- me- the- paycheck act. Or perhaps you could interpret it as a masterful portrayal of a distant God. Yeah, since I enjoy these movies I’ll go with that one.
You know, I just have to say this: it’s only a few years since New York was almost obliterated and now London is getting a hammering (geddit—hammering?) so you eventually have to ask yourselves if these Avengers characters are not making the world a safer place but instead are just plain attracting the kind of malevolent beings who want to contribute to ‘the very fabric of reality’ being torn apart. And there’s something I never get: doesn’t this mean that the bad guys go down along with the rest of us?
Ah well, whatever the case here we have Thor: The Dark World, the eighth in Marvel’s ‘Avengers Initiative’ series of films; or the second in Phase Two if you want to be picky about it. This has been a great run. And even though this is the one that I enjoyed the least, that’s because I prefer it when they stay centered on the more human aspect of things. That’s just a personal feeling. The truth is that director Alan Taylor, with scriptwriters Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely stay with the material that Thor (played by the likeable Chris Hemsworth) yields up. And if your movie is about a near-Godlike being who hails from a world that has long passed into human myth, you’re always going to be kind of limited in how much humanity you can inject amongst the inter-dimensional travelling and Star Wars-type battles. (The technology of Asgardian weaponry is really confusing. There’s everything from swords and axes to those whirling machine-gun things that you see in World War II movies, all the way through to death rays; but there’s probably an explanation for all that which I don’t want anyone to tell me.)
Thor, as in the past, is ignored when Tom Hiddlestone’s Loki is on screen. The actor simply has this character nailed. Even the always-watchable Christopher Eccleston—tired of saving the galaxy as Dr. Who and now intent on destroying it– as the main villain Malekith, is deeply uninteresting and two-dimensional in comparison. And Natalie Porter is back as Thor’s lady of choice, Jane Foster; although why he keeps chasing this mortal when he has the tough and gorgeous Sif (Jaime Alexander) back home is more than I can understand. Not that Jane isn’t gorgeous, it’s just that Sif…oh, never mind. Oh and by the way, is anyone keeping track of how many ‘Christopher’s’ are in this movie?
This is an enjoyable sequel and continues the standard of the Avengers movies as a whole; and it has one really big thing to recommend it. There’s no Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in it, glowering around the place and throwing pseudo-macho shapes. That character really annoys me, big time.
In amongst the explosions the script manages to give us a few laughs. I particularly liked Jane’s irritating sidekick Darcy (Kat Denning) telling some children: “It’s OK. We’re Americans.” “Is that supposed to reassure them?” asks Jane. Reasonably, I thought.
My favourite one, however, had to be from Erick (Stellan Skarsgård—I love inserting that little Swedish sign on top of the å) who says:
“There’s nothing more reassuring than realizing that the world is crazier than you are.”
Ah, words I’ve lived by all my life!
I missed Thor: The Dark World when it was released and I’m glad that I caught up with it; because now I feel ready, psyched up and prepared for the one I’ve really been waiting for: the next in the series– Captain America: The Winter Soldier.