Superhero movies are undoubtedly the most popular franchises in Hollywood nowadays. After the dizzying and stunning success of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy, which were produced by Warner Brothers, rival movie studios have been looking to have a slice of the action ever since. The most notable of those has been the Disney-owned Marvel Studios. After a slew of films of their own – that featured Iron Man, the X-Men, and Spider-Man – here comes the latest starring their Nordic superhero Thor in his second adventure. After winning me over with the first film, I had somewhat high expectations for this sequel. Thanks to very good actors, a skilled director, and a tight plot, I am glad to report that Thor: The Dark World does not disappoint and can rightfully claim to be Marvel’s best movie in 2013.
Thor: The Dark World is directed by Alan Taylor and once again stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins, in addition to the newcomer to this franchise Christopher Eccleston. Taking place after the events that occured in Thor and The Avengers, the film revolves around a new danger that threatens the world of Asgard. Relying on their eternal hero Thor, Asgard looks towards its superhero to fight against the most dangerous forces he has ever faced. Thor: The Dark World is an action-adventure superhero fantasy that runs for one hour and fifty-two minutes.
The sequel to Thor (2011) sees actor Chris Hemsworth reprising his role as the Nordic superhero from the fictional world of Asgard as he faces yet another danger. As is the case with the first film, Hemsworth does a very good job in portraying this character with a proper and natural mix of humour, seriousness, and effectiveness. In fact, Thor is currently my favorite from the range of superheros the famous comics company has brought to the screen, which is mainly thanks to Hemsworth’s acting. We also see the return of Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, Thor’s love interest. I have long been a fan of Portman’s and her work in this film further solidifies her place amongst her generation’s most talented actresses. She gives her character Foster warmth but also strength and determination, making her a strong female character. But, it is the chemistry between both Hemsworth and Portman that ultimately makes their scenes work so well. They blend together in a natural and unassuming manner that is quite impressive, lending to the film’s success.
However, both actors pale in comparison when the discussion turns to the performance of the actor playing the role of Loki, Thor’s demented brother, Tom Hiddleston. To say that I am utterly impressed by this actor’s work in Thor: The Dark World is an understatement. Hiddleston’s acting, even in the first Thor motion picture as well as The Avengers, is without question a major reason why many will like this sequel, just as I did. He gives the film an air of excitement and entertainment in every scene he is in. His interactions with Hemsworth’s Thor are particularly fun as I do enjoy their back and forth conversations which are filled with sarcasm and wit. Hiddleston remains effective throughout the film and keeps viewers gripped to his wonderful acting in a way only gifted actors can. He has an amazing career ahead of himself and I for one cannot wait to see how he develops further.
Besides the acting performances, the other elements of Thor: The Dark World also play a part in making this motion picture an enjoyable one. The writing is well done with the main plot carefully crafted, containing a couple of twists I did not see coming. There is also Alan Taylor’s confident direction which has ensured that only a minimum of boring or irrelevant scenes are included. However, he more than makes up for that by shooting excellent action sequences that are as good, if not better, than those in the first film. His pacing of Thor: The Dark World is another aspect worth commending him for; the shift between the dramatic and action scenes is almost seamless and does not jar the audience at all. Having already directed some of my favorite television episodes from great shows like Game of Thrones, Lost, and The Sopranos, Alan Taylor proves with Thor: The Dark World that he is more than capable of taking over the reins of a fully-fledged blockbuster superhero movie and turning it into one absorbing viewing experience that everyone will enjoy.
Thor: The Dark World, in my eyes, ranks amongst the best Marvel films released so far. Not only does it have an admirable cast, a gifted director, and a well-written script, but it also manages to blend them all in a manner that keeps viewers’ complete interest. Recently, I have found Marvel Studios’ films to be underwhelming, especially Iron Man 3, which is why I am very happy with how Alan Taylor’s Thor: The Dark World ended up being. It is a superhero movie that does not take itself seriously enough and always knows when to lighten up the mood. It is the combination of all of those reasons that make Thor Marvel’s most exciting motion picture superhero to date.
MATM Rating: ***1/2 out ****
- Tom Hiddleston (as Loki)
1 hour and 52 minutes
Action / Adventure / Fantasy / Superhero