A problem that it’s almost unanymes in Marvel Cinematic Universe’s movies is the lack of personality from it’s respective directors. In the eight films releases so far, it was rare to find a director that showed criativity in the story-telling field, wheter if it’s narrative or purely visual: exceptions are Joss Whedon on The Avengers and Kenneth Branagh in Thor (but this one loses points for falling into a meaningles esthetic game). I thought it would be different when Alan Taylor stepped on board with Thor: The Dark World, but it seems Marvel has once again dominated the creative side.
Written by six different people, the plot follows imediately after The Avengers ending, with Loki (Tom Hiddleston, scene-stealer as usual) being confined in Asgard’s dungeons by his father (Anthony Hopkins), and Thor fighting to restore peace between the Nine Realms. Paralel to that, the dangerous race of the Dark Elves, lead by the grotesque Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) rises when a misterious artifact of his people is discovered on Earth by cientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). In order to save the realm and his terran lover, Thor must form a fragile aliance with his brother Loki.
First things first, one can easily attest the superiority of this new film compared with 2011’s. Director Alan Taylor doesn’t impress on the criativity field, but at least diserves credits for a more dirty, medieval approach to the God of Thunder’s universe, also iggnoring the clean, shakespearian look Kenneth Branagh brought for his take – kudos to the art direction department, which smartly combinates viking elements with Star Wars-esque artillery (the sound effects, by the way, owe a lot to George Lucas’s saga. With Disney owning both franchises, I imagine the crew had easy access to Ben Burtt’s library). Another essential update is the production’s tone: while the first one got lost in excess of jokes (another recorring problem in MCU), The Dark World knows how to fit the gags better, generating good timing thanks to small details – like Thor hanging his hammer on an apartment’s wall.
The major issue is the story, really. Even if more exciting and complex than the predecessor’s, the writers creat a series of concepts that get lost inside their own logic (not even the titular Dark World gets an eficient explanation). All of the journey through different dimensions concept makes sense in the beginning, but are completely extrapolated during the climax (with a good action scene as a result, but sacrificing the spectator’s “scientific” understanding). Another loss is Jaimie Alexander’s Lady Sif, who gains considerable screen time during the first act – posing as potential love interest – simply to be rested aside halfway to the end, while Christopher Eccleston’s baddie impresses only in a visual level, since it’s essencially a blank figure that lacks a clear motivation for his actions.
Ultimately, Thor: The Dark World is a fine movie, even with its many problems. It entertains, shows a small evolution in the “Marvel way of cinema” by adjusting tone problems and, gladly, not serving as mere prelude to the eventual Avengers 2. More than the superteam reunion, it’s the continuation of the Asgard plot that leaves us more excited.
That alone shows how the God of Thunder can work on his one.
Obs: There are TWO additional scenes after the movie. One plays middway the credits, and other afterwards. Beginners certainly will be confused with the first one, so there goes an explanation: that scene presents us to the Guardians of the Galaxy universe, a risky bet from Marvel on the sci-fi genre, which will come out on next August.
Obs II: As usual, Stan Lee makes a quick cameo. And he’s not the only one, but I stop right here to don’t spoil a MASSIVE surprise.
Obs III: The 3D conversion is completely disposable.