With Kenneth Branagh leaving the director’s chair, ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘Breaking Bad’ director Alan Taylor makes his full feature debut, by adding to Marvel Studios personal cinematic universe with ‘THOR: THE DARK WORLD’. During production there was many reports on its (what internet users call) report on a ‘troubled’ production, which how Joss Whedon had to fly in, onto the set to do some uncredited re-writing, and how Taylor had creative arguments with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige. However I can report this is a lot better then what the critical stigma of reports bring to this film before its release.
The thing with the first ‘Thor’ was how didn’t did not come across silly. Mixing with fish out of water comedy (it’s still here and still very amusing), and a Shakespeare undertone, the film was able to play between the lines of silly and seriousness, and to me created probably the most family friendly (accessible to both boys and girls) superhero in the Marvel Studios fold. Now while the Branagh employed Shakespearian undertone might have gone, this is still a successful attempt to makes something, which could come across cheesy, into something which is just as recommendable as the first ‘Thor’. But this is the trick here. Instead of being a sequel to ‘The Avengers’, the film acts more a sequel to the first ‘Thor’ picture. Characters and story continuity (including some of the comedy) from the first film all reappear here (almost effortless) which again counter balances some of the more silly aspects of the story, and feels more like a fantasy God, then the superhero vibe the character had in ‘The Avengers’.
Acting wise Chris Hemsworth, is still everything you want from a leading man in this. He brings a real sense of gravity to ‘Thor’, and his charisma is ‘off the chain’. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is also (almost screen stealing at time) is excellent and brings the film to life. Also it good to see Idris Elba and Rene Russo do more in this as well. Its interesting on Russo’s part as she was unhappy with how half her scenes were on the cutting room floor in first film, again I think with what she does in this film, certainly acts as a answer to her personal issues. Kat Denning’s Darcy is fine as also (she more for the kids I think), but I didn’t find her as annoying. Regarding annoying humour though was Natalie Portman. Now I like her a lot, she is a very good actress and everything, but I still to this day (even though you can tell she’s really trying) can’t really ‘do’ comedy. Some of her lines just come out a little forced, making it not really feel natural. There is also some excellent cameos in their too, probably the best of all the Marvel Studios films so far.
Taylor direction and experience on ‘Game of Thrones’ does come into play here, particuly with the battle sequences. There is a good feel of scale and attention to detail to them (that of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ also has) and while bloody less, there is a brutal edge to it all. There is also a beautifully end fight scene through London, and some lovely cinematography on the other realms/worlds Thor occupies. And on a interesting note it’s nice to see how all these films after ‘The Avengers’ seem to occupy different locations, this being London, the upcoming ‘Captain America: The Winter Solder’ being in Washington DC, etc.
Regarding downfalls, the film has some baffling science logic, plot holes and muddled plotting. This can be seen in the almost dropped midway through love triangle between Thor, Jane and Sif (Jamie Alexander), no real sense what the whole McGuffin can do and a one dimensional baddie played by Christopher Eccleston . There is also an over bearing cameo (which gets a fairly high up credit at the end) of ITV News.
Generally this is a successful sequel, there is enough going for it to keep you intrigued in character and real sense of a fantasy romp which brings a more interesting family friendly approach. There are two pre-credit stings, one of which has been directed by a different person to Taylor, and it came out it was the reasoning of this creative disagreement I talked off, which is understandable as it does look under lighted and directed and probably should have been the one after the credits. Either way this is something which certainly does need a third instalment, and considering three films in two years, comes across fresh and more importantly – exciting.