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Thor - The Dark Kingdom (Thor: The Dark World)
U.S.A. 2013

Opening 31 Oct 2013

Directed by: Alan Taylor
Writing credits: Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Don Payne, Robert Rodat
Principal actors: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston

Many millennia ago, Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) grandfather defeated the dark elves, an ancient race bent on destroying the universe. In order to prevent another uprising, he had the elves’ weapon hidden deep on another world. In the present day, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is desperately trying to find a way to meet up with Thor again and investigates a mysterious paranormal event. When Jane stumbles across the old weapon, she sets into motion a new war against the dark elves that requires Thor to team up with his manipulative and treacherous brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in order to save the universe.

Just like Iron Man 3 (2013), Thor: The Dark World tries to build onto the events that happened in the wildly successful The Avengers (2012). Whereas Tony Stark was facing PTSD from his adventures with the Avengers, Thor seems to be little affected by recent events. His brother Loki (the main antagonist in The Avengers), is safely under guard in their home world Asgard, and Thor himself has been spending time trying to bring peace to the various worlds under Asgard’s protection. Despite the major betrayal by his brother, he seems to suffer little from it. The majority of the set-up for this film is about Thor continuing to pine for his human love interest Jane Foster, lamenting that she will never truly fit in with the Asgardians who can live for thousands of years. Yawn.

It is not that this is such a terrible film; in fact Thor: The Dark World has a quick pace, some nice moments of humor and is generally fun to watch. Unfortunately, the storyline is incredibly boring and overused. Jane Foster is the lovelorn woman turned damsel in distress who has very little to contribute to the film other than being a catalyst for bigger events. Thor is torn between his love for a mortal and familial duties. Some big bad is evil for baffling reasons. All of this is just so completely overdone. The film, while enjoyable, does not stand up to critical review.

What is perhaps the most disappointing aspect of all of this is that the most interesting character is entirely underused. Loki is by far a more fascinating subject than the two-dimensional tripe of the Jane Foster/Thor romance. Indeed, so much was set up in this film to fill out his character and yet he was used only really as a plot device throughout. However, because this film is called Thor and not Loki, it is probably not too shocking that they didn’t focus on him, despite how much better the film would have been if they had.

Thor is an enjoyable action film if one can ignore Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth’s inability to act (though part of the blame has to be given to the terrible writing) and the underuse of the character Loki. This is a film that is enjoyable and forgettable and when you think about it later you go, “Well, it wasn’t that bad…” and that really says it all. (Rose Finlay)

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