Thor: The Dark World

click to watch trailer

Thor: The Dark World is something like Lord of the Rings meets Stargate. There are the elements of instantaneous intergalactic travel, alien species fighting to save themselves from extinction, humans pairing with superior beings to save mankind from destruction, even dark elves and a genius scientist running around stonehenge in the nude.

I think that last part was a deleted scene in Stargate…

All these elements highlight a typical plot.

Thor has just returned from victory in the field of battle to be given a hero’s welcome by the people of Asgard, but he is unable to share in their joy. The ruggedly handsome Norse god who is a walking shampoo commercial just can’t get Natalie Portman out of his mind. He promised to return to her, but was not able to keep his word – due to interstellar war and all that.

Fortunately for Portman, Thor, Marvel Studios and fans of The Avengers’ big screen saga, Aether (pronounced “ether”) with the power to revert the entire universe back to its original state of darkness has chosen the god’s object of affection as a host. Why? Because there’s a plot to be had, of course!

As much as I enjoy poking fun at the comic book based movies, I found this latest installment to be one of the most entertaining of the year. The mandatory C.G. pyrotechnics are delivered in top quality, and the formulaic budding romance is paired well with comedy. Beyond that, I enjoyed seeing a superhero character champion chivalry.

Since Captain Jack Sparrow, there’s been a rise in the anti-hero character. Other than the Pirates of the Caribbean, an anti-hero is represented in Skyfall, Django Unchained, The Grey,  Fast and Furious, The Dark Knight Rises, and the Iron Man trilogy, to name a few recent examples.

Comic book heroes are defined by their vigilantism, where breaking the law and possessing a fluid moral code is often the only option available for them to pursue justice, blurred with revenge.

Thor does break the rules of his father, Odin, king of Asgard to do what is right for his people and he does struggle against making compromises when it comes to the threat of personal loss. However, with Thor we have a refreshingly principled character, someone with integrity. This is something Thor’s brother, Loki chides him for, labeling it as simple-mindedness.

It is here that the storyline takes a wise turn. Thor uses the muscle between his ears for once, and devises a scheme to save the day, and it doesn’t involve Bruce Willis’s “find the bad guy and kill him” mantra. The inner tension then, becomes Thor’s conflicting desires to do what is right by his people and his love interest in a way that doesn’t require him or his friends to go against their own moral code.

The filmmakers lay a solid foundation with script that isn’t afraid of traditional values in portraying love and war. Everything else hinges upon the characters, and for that reason the comedy is more fun, the action more intense, the relationships more engaging, and the cheesiness more forgivable.

My overall rating is four out of five stars.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content.

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