22 December 2013

A Second Coming of a God

Thor: The Dark World was worth the money paid to see it in cinemas (albeit in 2-D; 3-D gives me a headache). It was a disappointment that the first one, even with a brilliant director and mostly a great cast, was such a let down. This one, directed by someone whose career I knew nothing about until I checked out his IMDB page (credits include mostly TV, but some v. good TV: Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, and The Sopranos, among other titles), was a much more satisfying adventure.

I would like to start out by saying that I am definitely a Tom Hiddleston fangirl. I'm very much a fan of most of the casting in Thor (with the exception of Natalie Portman, who really just gets under my skin), with actors like Hemsworth, Russo, Hopkins, and Dennings bringing wonderful performances to the screen. But Hiddleston steals the show, with a subtlety and finesse that made me giddy. Loki is the ultimate anti-hero, and Hiddleston's performance brings a depth to his struggle between revenge and redemption that is not often seen in comic book films.

Overall, T:TDW is a better film than its predecessor. The story is more interesting, the characters' development is more solid and coherent, and the action was well-paced and enjoyable. There are fewer gaping holes in the plot and while it is no necessarily as visually stunning as the first film, it is a solid piece. (We're no talking Nolan-esque Academy Award-winning calibre here, but that's okay.)

Loki is easily the best part of the film. As I said, Hiddleston steals the show without even meaning to do. There is just something about his presence on screen that draws attention away from everything else in the scene. The dynamic between Loki and Thor is interesting, because there is a tension that is built from what feels like genuine family dysfunction. On the surface they are, at best, wary allies, but there is a much deeper current to their relationship than the ostensible need of Thor to use Loki's scheming in order to defeat the film's baddie. (Who, by the way, is played wonderfully by Christopher Eccleston, who manages to turn a rather filler-fluff role into something sinister and lingering.) The brotherly affection and antagonism feels true, not just staged for effect. It helps, perhaps, that Hiddleston and Hemsworth seem to get along quite well, and play off one another equally well. There is definitely a true bromance brewing between the two of them (as is evidenced in any interviews with the two of them), and it serves them well in the story, because there is deep affection between the characters, tempered by exasperation, disappointment, and a need for each to be in the right. (Or rather, for Thor to be in the right, and for Loki to be in control, respectively.)

I have no idea whether the physics of the film is accurate, but I do love the blending of magic and science. That is an element that will always captivate me. I like how Thor (and most of the characters who aren't from Earth) just accept that magic and science are the same thing, and it doesn't matter what something is called as long as it functions the way it ought to, and as long as they know how to use the tools they have.

There is one thing that has me curious, and to satisfy my curiosity will take a few (or several) more viewings no only of Thor: The Dark World, but also the first Thor film, and the Avengers film. I'm curious whether there is any significance in Thor's costuming, and why in certain scenes he wears full sleeves, in certain scenes, he's bare to the shoulder, and sometimes he does not have his cape.

But fangirl moments and idle curiosity aside, Thor: The Dark World is a rollicking good time, and Kat Dennings as the primary comic relief is charming to the nines. It is definitely worth seeing in cinemas if one gets the chance.

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