Out of the recent movie line-up of The Avengers, I find Thor to be the least interesting. Yes, Hawkeye’s only power is extreme archery but at least an actor who can show a bit of depth portrays him and the character has a semblance of humanity. Also, Marvel Studios hasn’t made the mistake of giving Hawkeye his own movie yet, a mistake they repeated twice with Thor.
As portrayed by Chris "stoic means interesting" Hemsworth, Thor has two things going for him: His impressive six-pack and his giant hammer. You’d think a Norse demigod from the mythical realm of Asgard (Which looks like a cross between Naboo and Rivendell) would sport a more impressive weapon instead of one a character from a Beatles song uses to kill his granny.
On top of the dull character and his dull casting, 2011’s Thor suffered from a terrible choice in director. Producers must have made the genius decision to hire Kenneth Branagh to helm a mega-budget goofy comic book adaptation by saying "He’s into Sheakespeare, we have a bunch of mythical characters who speak with forced English accents, what could go wrong?" We ended up with a movie that could put the most ardent Thor fan to sleep.
His appearance in The Avengers wasn’t really a big enough distraction to put a big enough stamp on the overall story and let’s face it, that movie should’ve been called "Tony Stark and Friends".
By the time we get to Thor: The Dark World, the filmmakers are so desperate to inject any kind of energy into such a lifeless character that they introduce insane plot devices into the story, such as an ethereal red goo called The Aether that has the power to shroud the universe in complete darkness, and a bonkers climax that involves a fistfight through random multiple dimensions. It still doesn’t really work, but I’ll take bonkers over dull any day of the week.
You see, an evil race known as the The Dark Elves, who look like the elves of Middle-Earth after a lengthy hunger strike, tried to cover the universe in complete darkness using The Aether five thousand years ago but were defeated by Thor’s grandpappy.
There isn’t any explanation as to why The Dark Elves are so hell-bent on their mission of eternal darkness. Perhaps they were late on their PG&E payments and had the lights in their realm cut off by Asgard and now they want revenge because Odin (Anthony Hopkins) refused to grant them an extension on their bill. Your guess is as good as mine.
It’s 5000 years later and the nine realms are about to be aligned once more for The Elves (Led by an unrecognizable Christopher Eccleston) to try their dastardly plan again. Of course out of six billion possibilities, who other than Thor’s squeeze Jane Foster (Natalie Portman, on hottie autopilot mode) just happens to find the Aether and become possessed by it? Thor doesn’t have a choice but to bring Jane to Asgard for a forced remake of Meet The Parents.
After a CGI-laden attack from The Dark Elves on Asgard, which brings back Star Wars Prequel nightmares, Thor has to team up with his power-hungry brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston, who seems to be the only one having genuine fun with this ridiculous material) in order to defy Odin’s orders and defeat the enemy. I’m not going to tell you how, but this plan leads to an insane climax that revolves around portals that randomly open between all of the eight other fantastical realms, and London.
The only attempt to humanize Thor seems to be through his relationship with Jane Foster. However, there isn’t any chemistry between Portman and Hemsworth and it’s hard to find any reason why these two characters should fall in love. At this point Jane Foster seems to be in love with Thor simply because he’s a certified beefcake. Who can blame her? With a lifespan of 5000 years, he’s bound to hang onto those rock tight abs for at least another 1000 of them.
Thor: The Dark World is not as sleep inducing as the first Thor, in fact its dedication to keep things moving by any means necessary is somewhat commendable. This doesn’t mean it’s remotely memorable and that you won’t forget it ever existed two seconds after leaving the theater but at least you’ll get a couple of genuine thrills and laughs, some of them even intentional.