This battle to save the Earth just took a very thor-ny turn. To be honest, there’s little difference between Thor and the bad guys in Thor: The Dark World; both are extra-terrestrials, far superior in technology, and both find something very important to them on the otherwise ordinary planet Earth. For Thor, it is a pretty Natalie Portman who faints with frightening frequency, and for the villains, it’s a mysterious substance called ether that Natalie Portman consumes unwittingly. So for a brief moment, there is even lesser difference between the two except for Chris Hemsworth’s good looks.
The plot, therefore, is simple: the bad guys want the ether, which would bring eternal darkness to the universe and Thor needs to keep it away from them. Thor doesn’t have to do much to keep the audience’s attention — his pecs and biceps do the talking. With Natalie Portman more unconscious than not during the film, it seems that acting really wasn’t a priority for this production.
Due to a galactic alignment of the realms known as the ‘convergence’, directors, Alan Taylor and James Gunn, evidently had fun with bending space and time, creating spatial portals between different worlds. This allows cars to float and birds to fly out of the ground, and Natalie Portman to get phone calls from British guys on distant planets that resemble Hiroshima.
But what else can you expect going into yet another superhero film with a ludicrous plot and special effects? Christopher Nolan’s realist noir-style superhero was a fad it seems — one that even brought Superman into existential trouble in Man of Steel. That fad, however, has given way to red-white-and-blue spandex a la Captain America, Scarlett Johansson in leather, and in Thor 2, a loud, dim and not particularly stimulating romp that veers from punch to punch.
But after thinking about it a little, you do have good reasons to subject yourself to Thor 2, the main one being Tom Hiddleston reprising his role as the devious Loki. His soft voice and menacing eyes do far more to capture attention than the bludgeoning 3D and excessive explosions. Kat Dennings also displays more charm and authenticity in every individual scene than Portman does throughout the movie. Her role as Darcy leaves you wondering why Thor didn’t fall in love with her — perhaps too smart for him.
What you get, then, apart from a couple of saving graces, is an entirely predictable plot, hero, villain and a damsel in distress. It’s a wallet-emptying, unnecessary 3D presentation; a couple of one-liners; and an under-utilised Idris Elba.
The light was lost far before the bad guys threatened to steal it.
Saim Saeed is a sub-editor at Tribune Labs. He tweets @saimsaeed847
The Avengers (2012)
A motley crew of Marvel superheroes team up to fight an invading army of aliens led by the stepbrother of a Norse god.
Captain America (2011)
The First Avenger, a committed but weak American soldier, takes part in a military experiment that endows him with superhuman strength. Armed with an indestructible shield and patriotism, Captain America is on a mission to foil the Nazis’ plans of global domination.
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Fast-talking Tony Stark faces his most difficult challenge yet, as a self-healing, self-exploding Guy Pearce attempts to destroy Ironman and his world.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, December 22nd, 2013.