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Movie Review of ‘Thor: The Dark World’

When Tom Hiddleston is around,‘Thor: The Dark World’ becomes a different film altogether.

Written by Shubhra Gupta
New Delhi | November 8, 2013 6:26:22 pm

Cast: Chris Hemsworth,Natalie Portman,Tom Hiddleston,Anthony Hopkins,Christopher Eccleston,Stellan Skarsgard

Director: Alan Taylor

The Indian Express rating: **1/2

In India,astrologers will tell you just how rare and momentous and powerful can be the ‘convergence’ of the ‘nava graha’ ( nine planets). But given that the people who are invested with any knowledge in ‘Thor: The Dark World’ are mere Western astrophysicists,all they know is that the laws of physics become ‘weaker’ when the nine planets are about to be arrayed in a line. From an abandoned warehouse in central London,the beauteous ( Portman) is funneled up into a mysterious space,and soaked with a strange red-coloured element called Aether.

We know this because a Norse-ish alien race and its enemies are in search of that very substance. Both the good guys,whose king is Odin ( Hopkins in an eye-patch),and the bad Dark Elves, lead by Malekith ( Eccleston),want it. The battle for Aether spills out from Asgard,travels to various hot-spots across the universe,and reaches London. Enter the Almighty Thor,the Marvel superhero with the Huge Hammer ( Hemsworth),who shows up to save our planets,(and the world,of course) from the marauding elves.

‘Thor : The Dark World’ comes two years after the first outing of the crown prince of Asgard,with most of the same faces but with a different director ( Alan Taylor,who has,on his resume ,a few episodes of the TV series ‘Game Of Thrones’). The time has been spent in ramping up the special effects,some of which are gorgeous. Look out for a panoramic view of Asgard,and the funeral of a noble lady,all glitter and poignance. Some of the inter-galactic chases are quite eye-catching,too,despite the 3D. But what mars the spectacle is the pace ( why do Hollywood superhero flicks have to be so long? ),and the collection of leaden baddies,with no personality. What’s a tale like this without a real,solid villain? Eccleston,as Malekith, has no menace,and the fellows who accompany him,strutting about with headgear with horns,are just so much background noise.

This ‘Thor’ becomes intermittently watchable only when the aliens are in chatty communion with humans,what with Ms Portman lying around in a state of disarray on Earth and on Asgard,and Mr Hemsworth spinning his hammer far and wide whenever he gets the chance. When she is awake,though,Portman is easy on the eyes. And has some light-hearted exchanges with her earth-bound compatriots,which includes a mad-scientist prototype,played by Skarsgard. Hemsworth’s long streaky blonde ponytail is noteworthy,as are his rippling muscles. He looks good in all that armour,but is not terribly exciting overall.

The man,or rather,the alien who rescues this enterprise from dullness is Thor’s brother,Loki. Played superbly by Hiddleston,the shape-shifting Loki is the only character who makes himself new and interesting. When he is around,‘Thor: The Dark World’ becomes a different film altogether. You wish there was more of him.

The rest of it is metal clanking.

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