You know the state of Natalie news is dire when Dazza asks one of his minions to post the unfocused forum mini-review she wrote on her lunch break on the main page. 😛 If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t worry about spoilers. It’s been almost two months since Thor: The Dark World was released in theaters, so that should probably give you an idea of how excited I was to go see it. Brace yourself for my enthusiasm.
I went in with fairly low expectations, and I hate to say I was still kind of unimpressed. The story was half-baked, the action scenes were generic and unremarkable, the camp was over the top, and the whole thing felt overly long despite the frentic pace. Belerofonte nailed what I was scratching my head over in his review: one of Thor: The Dark World‘s biggest problems is that it feels like a condensed version of a grander tale. The film also struggled to find a good balance between being silly and serious (the first Thor movie did this much more successfully). One of my big gripes with Thor is reversed in its sequel. This time, everything set on Earth really worked for me, but Asgard fell flat. I found myself losing interest when Thor and Loki weren’t onscreen, which was entirely too often. Mads Mikkelsen really dodged a bullet, because the villain was lame, lame, lame. And the lukewarm romance between Thor and Jane was still pretty lame, too. Maybe the romance would have worked if Natalie and Chris Hemsworth had any onscreen chemistry (they don’t), but I’m betting it would have still felt really awkward and forced. Unlike the other Marvel movies, there are too many characters on the canvas and just not enough time to focus on all of them. Characterization was either an afterthought or left on the cutting room floor. This is a superhero movie after all.
But I didn’t hate it! Despite my eyes glazing over slightly in the middle, I thought the third act was genuinely fun. It goes without saying that the cast is the film’s biggest strength. Chris Hemsworth’s oafish charm continues to keep Thor from feeling ridiculous, and Tom Hiddleston effortlessly steals every scene he’s in. Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgård, and Chris O’Dowd (briefly) do a good job of providing the Earth-side comic relief. Unfortunately, Idris Elba’s talent felt wasted despite his expanded role, and Anthony Hopkins had even less to do this time around. As for Natalie, I enjoyed her performance (to be honest, a lot more than I did in Thor), and I’m confused by some of the comments about her feeling out of place in the cast. But as adorable as she was, her character still suffers from being an underwritten plot device. Jane disappointingly didn’t have much to do outside of swooning when convenient (and for no apparent reason other than not knowing what to do with her) and mooning really unconvincingly over Thor.
For the tl;dr crowd: I’m just disappointed that this is the first Natalie Portman flick I’ve seen at the theater since… the original Thor. Bring on 2014! So, what did you guys think of the sequel? I know I’m late, but after the underwhelming response the first time that question was asked, I think it’s okay to ask again. Anybody?