- Released Internationally on 30/10/13
- Released in Malta by KRS on 30/10/13
3-word review: London gets hammered.
Possibly better than the first one
I was a bit wary of this sequel. Kenneth Branagh’s Thor was entertaining enough, but it felt a bit heartless, and focused too much on the pomp and circumstance of the world of Asgard (where Thor and his dad, Odin, are from). When the action shifted down to earth for something us viewers could relate to, it was small towns in the middle of nowhere, and hardly scenes befitting a movie of that scale. Thankfully, these flaws have nearly all been addressed this time around.
Not all Dark
The prologue is rather grand, with battle scenes reminiscent of the Lord of the Rings prologue, and although I usually prefer the earthly action to the other-worldly lore in these films, the backstory and mythology don’t outstay their welcome. We’re introduced to a new nemesis - the silent and scary Malekith, portrayed with not many words but a lot of presence by Christopher Eccleston (Elizabeth). The fine details of his history and masterplan are not too important, of course, but the film does require a rather hefty suspension of belief for us to grasp that when instructed to hide a great evil power somewhere in the universe where nobody would find it, someone hid it in an abandoned building in a London industrial zone. But anyway, things move swiftly to the action.
Loki Loki Loki
For all his posturing and unsightly prosthetics, the new bad guy still pales in comparison to the hugely effective Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who post-Avengers gets to walk that delightfully ambiguous line between friend and foe, and who makes very good use of his screen time in this instalment of the Avengers saga. His chemistry, or lack thereof, with his adoptive brother Thor allows for a few well-conceived scenes and a good dose of Asgard family dynamics.
Between two worlds
Thankfully, the Asgard scenes, as well as those in other worlds, are regularly interrupted by down-to-earth action that help keeps the film somewhat grounded and relevant. The focus is mostly on present-day London, with the Shard getting the sort of attention cinema used to give to Big Ben, and the recent ‘walkie talkie’ building also making an appearance. The film’s final confrontation takes place on British soil, and is rather enjoyable if you manage to ignore all the ridiculous scientific explanations that Jane (Natalie Portman) and her team insist on shouting out intermittently.
In the end
Chris Hemsworth (Rush) manages to keep Thor likeable and reliable, despite him not being half as interesting a hero as Iron Man, or even Captain America for that matter. The film slots nicely into the Avengers timeline, and doesn’t take itself too seriously, with even an amusing cameo or two, as expected. Director Alan Taylor has previously done an excellent job directing Sopranos, Mad Men and even Game of Thrones episodes; and here he shows that he can handle an event film like this one. It’s nothing too refined, but at least it’s good fun. And of course, make sure you sit through the end credits.