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Despite being a bit nonplussed by the first Thor movie I decided to give the latest outing for the God/Superhero a chance. Thor: The Dark World derives its roots from a more traditional source this time with the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim led by Malakith, a particularly dark Dark Elf, making their appearance as the bad guys. The elves seek to destroy the Universe for no apparent reason other than to satisfy their unrelenting pursuit of evilness and darkness while killing everybody and everything, even themselves, in the process.
All round bad guy Malakith’s evil plans rely upon his possession of an ancient and terrible substance called The Aether which, when used at the right time will destroy the mythical Norse Nine Realms including Earth and Asgaard. Asgaard is the ancestral home of Odin, Thor and his mischievous adopted younger brother Loki. After the last war between Asgaard and the Dark Elves the Aether was buried ‘far away and so deep that nobody will find it’.
The movie starts off setting the scene with an Anthony Hopkins voice over – think The Lord of Rings and then turns into something more futuristic with some impressive CGI spaceships – think Star Wars and a beautiful rendering of Asgaard which is somewhere in the middle – think LOTR meets Star Wars. We can’t give the movie top marks for originality here but what it does it does very well and the sublime graphics and special effects interact absolutely seamlessly with the actors as we have come to expect from Marvel Studios.
The plot must be given a little bit of artistic license especially at the point when Natalie Portman a.k.a. Jane Foster (Thor’s mortal love interest) stumbles over the Aether. Jane’s research has inexplicably brought her to the city of London where some dubious readings on the ‘Phasemeter’ make her and some random chavvy children discover a doorway to another World which, as luck would have it, is exactly where the Aether was so carefully buried all those aeons ago. What are the chances?
All this sets the movie up for a classic battle between good and evil depicted well here as the forces of darkness and light. Chris Hemsworth puts in a charismatic and sometimes witty performance as Thor and continues to speak as if he learnt English from William Shakespeare and has never been to Scandinavia in his life. The highlight of the actors for me was Tom Hiddlestone stealing the show once again as Loki, who he makes his own by bringing the perfect mixture of mischief, evil and cunning to a great character. Malakith stays well under the radar in comparison despite delivering a classic comic book bad guy.
All in all Thor: The Dark world achieves what it sets out to do which is to entertain. The movie looks fantastic all the way through and it’s good to see Hollywood give London the CGI treatment for once not New York or LA . The script is well polished delivering laughs on cue without ever getting too silly or self indulgent. The plot might leave some people a little disappointed but come on guys –it’s a movie of a comic book based on a Superhero taken from Norse legend – would you even want it to be believable?