Reviewed by Sam Robinson
Rated M. Starring Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman
I’ve got to admit something. Every time I think of Thor, I think of this trailer hack from Conan O’Brien:
2011’s Thor was a surprise hit. It contained an unconventional fish-out-of-water storyline, with an Asgardian demigod on earth trying to get by. With trailers suggesting the sequel would be set on planets filled with computer-generated monsters, I feared that it would lose the culture-clashing charm.
As it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Thor: The Dark World is actually really good. It’s an action adventure that isn’t bound to one world – or realm – which is a whole lot of fun. And it has a huge ensemble cast that makes you forget that this film is actually meant to be about Thor.
A strange phenomena is about to take place – the cosmic Nine Realms (many of which could do with buying some vowels) are starting to align which makes travelling between worlds an easier task than usual, apparently. Soon enough Thor’s human lady interest, Jane Foster (Portman) ends up as the vessel for this weird red evil power called the Aether, which in the prologue is said to be placed in a spot that could never be found. Which is movie speak for, ‘someone will find it at some point in this movie’.
Speaking of the prologue, it wouldn’t hurt to miss it really. Just show up fashionably late.
Anyway – the adventure takes us to all kinds of different places and there is still the fish-out-of-water element. Jane ends up on Asgard. Cunning Loki is powerless locked in Asgard prison. Then he has to team up with his brother, Thor. The writers take these characters that we’ve met in Thor and The Avengers and develop and meddle with them to keep the surprises rolling.
The humour is thick and fast – surprisingly so for a fantasy-heavy flick – but Jane’s cohort back on earth seem like such an underused B-Team whose only purpose is comic relief. Anthony Hopkins is dull as Thor’s dad, but the best repartee goes to Thor and Loki. They play super well as brothers with more than a little sibling rivalry.
Watching this film, you can tell the producers are trying to riff off light and darkness in a big way. Thor is this blonde-maned, blue-eyed superhero. Villain Malekith gets darker as the film progresses. Asgard is in space but the stars and colours dazzle with white and gold. The landscapes of the dark realms are like barren wastelands, and the evil Aether is represented by dark blood red wispiness. Even in the climax you can notice the tension between Thor’s hammer lightning (not a bad trick) and the dark opponents.
This contrast is something that the Bible talks about a lot. Quite often it talks about Jesus being the light in the darkness of the world. And because our hearts are corrupted by sin, we need Jesus – the true light of the world – to save us from that darkness within. In John 12:45-46, Jesus says:
The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
Jesus has come as a light to this dark world. Jesus urges people to stop living in the darkness of sin, and instead live for him – to go from death and darkness, to life and light. There is a line in the film stating that you can never kill the Aether – which reminded me of sin. This side of heaven we will always be in a constant battle against our sin, but we have hope – Jesus, the light – who has overcome sin for us so that it won’t hold us down forever.
Do catch this one on the big screen for the space experience – it packs a lot of punch and laughs. And seriously, stay to the end of the film. Yes, right to the very end of the credits – even after the cinema is all but empty and the cleaner starts whacking your legs with their little broom thing sweeping up the popcorn around your feet. It’s worth it.
I’m giving Thor: The Dark World four out of five stars.