Friday, November 8, 2013

Thor: Episode II - The Dark World

So I found that I quite enjoyed this latest Star Wars prequel. Thor is finally reunited with his beloved Natalie Portman, reprising her role as Padme, only for her to come into contact with a dark presence that attracts a phantom menace from Asgard's history. And so, in order to fight off this attack of the elves, Thor is forced to turn to the dark side himself and form an alliance with his brother, Loki, as they seek revenge of the gods in their efforts to restore peace within their galaxy far, far away.

But seriously, this movie may borrow a bit from some other properties here and there, including more than a handful of Star Wars tributes that really gave off a vibrant vibe similar to that of the prequel trilogy (which I personally was a fan of, by the way), but it all comes together to form a highly entertaining and much more cohesive continuation of the Thor saga. Unlike the first entry in this series, you can tell that this one's going to be a much more solid outing right from the outset just by the mere coherency of the opening action sequences.

Where the first one was very much a mixed bag that felt like a disjointed comedy with some tacked on action scenes tossed in, this one's solid all around. For one thing, the settings actually look and feel like real worlds, unlike the small scale movie sets that the scenery in the first movie more resembled. And while I most enjoyed the focus on Earth in the first one, I think the opposite might actually be true in this instance, as I really found myself truly able to ground myself in Thor's world this time around, which just felt so much more alive.

And as lively as the world was, it was made that much more so by the liveliness of the whole cast. Chris Hemsworth really has found his grounding as the God of Thunder, and a lot of the supporting cast is given quite a bit more to work with this time around, including Idris Elba and Kat Dennings, who both particularly run with their extended material and shine brightly. But really, we all know who the real star is here.

That's right, it's Loki, bitches. And Tom Hiddleston steals this whole damn movie from start to finish. He's just as charming as ever, more akin to his portrayal in The Avengers than the first Thor, though he certainly undergoes quite an interesting development that ultimately leads to him teaming back up with Thor. In fact, that's always been the great thing about this character is just how intriguing he continues to be. He's by far the deepest and most complex character in the entirety of The Avengers, and I don't think that anyone else could pull it off quite like Tom Hiddleston does. But yeah, anytime Loki appears on screen is definitely when the movie shines brightest, with a particular Avengers cameo bringing the biggest laughs in a movie that's full of 'em.

But even though the film is fun, unlike some other recent films that have failed on their promise to take a darker approach (Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness), this one definitely delivers on that note. This movie gets damn dark. And these darker moments actually pack quite a punch along with them. In fact, for a brief period of time, things got so dark that I actually felt some of the comedic moments following it felt out of place as a result (a feeling that subsided as the movie went along, mind you). But yeah, this movie may be funny, but it ain't no joke, and the fact that they managed to balance these aspects out so well is what I loved so much about this movie.

I gotta say that I'm really digging the hell out of these phase 2 Avengers movies significantly more than the first phase so far, and that definitely continues with this movie. And part of what I love about these movies is their willingness to break the mold and try out new creative avenues, and that was certainly the case with this movie's climactic final battle, which played out like the most epic game of Portal ever. Yeah, it may feel a bit familiar to some other certain properties at times, but it only borrows the best of those other worlds and brings them all together to form a mighty fine movie.

21 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed the sequel, its a big improvement over the first instalment. There is a lot going on in this film, and the script is flawed at times. However, I still found it very enjoyable. Alan Taylor’s input really shines here, bringing his Game of Throne’s style with him. The action sequences and sets are remarkable, especially the film’s last act between Thor and Malekith.

    Nice review!

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    1. Thanks man, and yeah, I really enjoyed the hell out of Alan Taylor's take on Thor's world. Definitely an improvement on the first in just about every single way. :)

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  2. hey nice post mehn. I love your style of blogging here. The way you writes reminds me of an equally interesting post that I read some time ago on Daniel Uyi's blog: How Does Being A Good Man Affects Your Level Of Success .
    keep up the good work.

    Regards

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  3. I didn't think this was as good as the first, but it was still a whole bunch of fun that really got me all hyped-up, happy and more excited for what Phase 2 of Marvel has to offer. Looks quite promising so far. Good review Chris.

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    1. Thanks, Dan. And yeah, after both this and Iron Man 3, I'm definitely looking forward to what the rest of these Phase 2 movies have in store for us. :)

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  4. Ha! I spent a lot of time with friends trying not to compare this to Star Wars (especially ESB), but ultimately we couldn't help it. :) It's hard not to have a fun time with the movie and a large part of that is due to Hiddleston. He needs his own movie!

    Great review, Chris!

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    1. :O Holy crap, Marvel needs to get on that Loki movie, like, now! LOL!

      But yeah, I was actually a bit surprised to see you didn't mention the Star Wars references yourself in your review, but they are just a little bit hard to ignore after a while, aren't they? ;) Thanks, Erik!

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  5. I noticed the Star Wars connections too, but forgot to mention them. It was especially noticeable when I heard very podracer type sound effects for the dark elves' ships.

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    1. Yeah, someone else had mentioned to me how the sound design was what clicked the connection for them. For me, it was pretty much that entire invasion scene on Asgard being followed by the very Anakin and Padme-ish exchange between Thor and Jane. From that point on, I was onto their schtick, lol. :P

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  6. It's funny that you say you thought this second instalment got the balance with the humour and drama right, whereas I thought it was a bit more totally unbalanced. For me, it couldn't figure out what it wanted to be.

    Loki definitely steals the show. Though the final reveal was a tad predictable. I practically yelled out... of course.

    Still, enjoyed it. Just not as good as the first for me.

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    1. Jaina, you're not the first person I've seen to bring this difference of opinion to my attention, which I actually do find quite interesting, and I guess really does go to show how different people really take to these two different movies. Still though, at least we can agree Loki. ;)

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  7. I actually think there's no dark moments in this film, I mean if you want to compare with other superhero films like Nolan's Batmans, there's just no real sense of danger here. That said, I agree about Loki being such a scene stealer. I tweeted earlier that I wonder how Thor the god of thunder himself feels to have Loki continually steals his thunder. Tom Hiddleston rules!

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    1. Heh, I literally JUST posted on your review how I disagreed regarding this film's darkness. It might not get as dark as some of Nolan's films, sure, but I was still surprised by what dark moments we did get. I suppose we'll just have to agree to disagree on that front, lol. :P

      But yeah, Tom Hiddleston's the best, isn't he? lol, stealing Thor's thunder, that's classic! XD

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    2. looking forward to checking this one out tonight.

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    3. Nice, I hope you like it. Looking forward to the inevitable 3 Guys review. B)

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  8. Nice commentary on the film! Hope to see it soon! I agree with your thoughts on Iron Man 3, although I have to say I still really liked Star Trek Into Darkness. Keep up the good work!

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    1. Thanks, Whit! And yeah, that wasn't really a dig at either movie's quality so much as just their lack of advertised "darkness". Still good movies in their own ways, though. But yeah, you'll have to let me know what you think after you do check out the new Thor. :)

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  9. I agree that the balance was better, which, to me, made it feel too Avengers-like. I dunno, maybe I expect there to be sucky parts of superhero movies, in order to make the grand parts grander. But, who knows! I think I just want these movies to suck, so that I will be even more blown away by The Avengers 2. Ha! Good review!

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    1. Thanks, Tanner! And I wouldn't worry too much about Avengers 2 not blowing you away in comparison just yet. The increase in quality in these latest movies has me even more confident that they've definitely got something special in store for us when that time comes around. ;)

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