Nov 7, 2013

It's a Marvel.

Thor: The Dark World

Grade: B-

Director: Alan Taylor (The Emperor’s New Clothes)

Screenplay: Christopher Yost, et al.

Cast: Chris Hemsworth (Rush), Tom Hiddleston (Midnight in Paris)

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 120 min.

by John DeSando

“Every 5000 years the worlds align, allowing an ancient darkness to strike....” Thor (Chris Hemsworth)

I dislike excessive explosions, dismemberments, and falling rocks, among other common tropes, in action movies.  Amp that up for a Marvel superhero epic (Iron Man and Captain America are the others), and I put up with it all to catch the human moments, mostly the humor that fortunately makes several appearances in Thor: The Dark World.

When bad boy Loki (Tom Hiddleston­) in chains responds to Frigga’s (Rene Russo) request,  “Please don’t make things worse” with “Define ‘worse,’” I felt a mental pleasure that helps offset the avalanche of violence. Other humorous moments come mostly by Loki: “Hitting does not solve everything.”  He’s my kind of character. But then Stellan Skarsgard as scientist Erik running around naked at Stonehenge is bizarre enough for a laugh, or not. Also, the ample Star Wars references should please filmgoers with any memory of that classic.

However this sequel is no Iron Man or Batman, in which deeper personal awareness of ineffectuality gives characters a chance to breathe humanity rather than just fight. But then the Oscar winning Anthony Hopkins as Odin, King of Asgard, barely utters a line with any force, and Natalie Portman as scientist Jane Foster and lover of Thor is relegated to a reaction-prone character with no lines worthy of an Oscar winning actress (Black Swan).

As Thor, Chris Hemsworth holds up well (he did in another heroic role recently in Rush). I doubt he’ll have an Oscar nomination anytime soon and certainly not if he continues to play handsome, muscular heroes.

Hiddleston is the true savior of Thor: The Dark World: He’s smarmy, smart, and loose. If you remember him as F. Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris, then you know he’s an actor of range with an effortless delivery that exudes intelligence and irony.

Thor: You should know: when you betray me, I will kill you.

Loki: When do we start?

John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics, which can be heard streaming and on-demand at Contact him at