Despite Winston Zeddmore’s advice in Ghostbusters to always answer “yes” to the God question, I would still most likely answer no. Besides the fear of being struck in the crotch by a real hammer throwing Norse deity, I know I’m anything but a higher power seeing as the mere thought of traveling 40 miles to see a film at midnight makes my eyelids involuntarily seal shut in anticipation.
Nonetheless, when published author and new geek friend John Mulhall threw out the invite to see Thor: The Dark World at the infamous Arclight theater in Hollywood with a group of geek-minded folk on opening night (12:10am in the morning for those who enjoy technicalities), I decided I could sleep when I’m dead. Assuming lack of shuteye didn’t finish the job first.
Thus, I headed out with 5-Hour Energy in hand to the land of the stars – where ironically you can’t see any real stars due to light pollution – a few hours early to meet up with the midnight-movie group for some pre-movie happy hours. Suffice it to say, a happy few hours it was.
The group, consisting of Robert, Sean, Heather, Blayne, Naz and of course Mr. Mulhall himself, were as geeky a group of individuals as I have come across during my lifetime so far. Despite being a virtual outsider, everyone was extremely friendly and welcomed me into their kibosh without blinking an eye. To be perfectly honest though, the free Outlaw stickers I handed out didn’t hurt my cause either. (NOTE: Freebies can help in making new friends or, more importantly, fending off potential adversaries.)
For 2 hours, the topics of conversation ranged anywhere from John’s book, Geddy’s Moon, to Star Trek, Agents of SHIELD, Fringe and even LOST. I bring that last topic up with slight hesitancy as Blayne and myself took quite the reaming for our enjoyment of the series, specifically the final episode. While we were both left the conversation walking funny, the lively debates were all in good geek-fun and I was extremely impressed with everyone’s nerd knowledge to say the least.
However, I know you guys want to hear about my thoughts on Thor 2 and not the fact I made six new friends (which brings me to a total of seven) so I’ll get on with the review.
Before I voice my type-written opinions on Marvel’s godly sequel, it’s important to share with you that I wasn’t a huge fan of the original Thor, nor was I ever much of a fan of the comic book character either. I’m not sure if it was the effeminate Fabio-like locks or the fact he throws a big hammer around that in turn makes him invincible when holding it, but I just never found myself drawn to the character or his back-story.
Also understand that I share this info with the utmost bravery, because if my NBFF (Nerd Best Friend Forever) reads this, you can guarantee that she will make my existence on this world a short one.
So let’s get down to Norse tax shall we. Without a doubt in my somewhat questionable mind, Thor: The Dark World was a far better movie entry in the series than the original. Keep in mind I use the word “far” based on my own lackluster opinion of the first film. As always, your our mileage may vary.
Since I find giving plot summaries repetitive, I’ll let the video handle that task.
Unlike much of his other Marvel brethren, Thor is a man of few words. Keeping in that tone, I’m going to breakdown what I liked best about the flick in a few well-refined bullet-points.
– Loki is the Charm:
As one of my few complaints with The Avengers, I felt that Thor’s step-brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) as one of the main evil-doers didn’t come across very menacing, and if anything proved to be a bit laughable. In The Dark World, Loki is now laughable in a good way and his role just seems better suited as the untrustworthy and mischievous black-sheep. In this go-round, Hiddelston plays the snarky and wisecracking Loki to perfection; literally to the point of stealing any scene he graces.
– Crossover Appeal:
I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but there is a hilarious “kind of” cameo by a certain Avenger who will remain nameless for those who have yet to take in The Dark World. It’s the kind of blatant crossover advertising that Marvel is known for and pulls off without a hitch. As for the “kind of” reference, you will just have to “trust me”.
– Stan “The Bionic” 90-Year-Old Man:
What can you say about the Alfred Hitchcock of our geek generation? (It’s probably more like 37 generations now.) The guy still knows how to make an entrance, and his cameo in Thor’s sequel is priceless. In fact, it might be Stan Lee’s best one-liner to date.
– The Gods Must Be Funny:
In spite of its title, The Dark World is packed with quite a bit of humor and levity. Honestly, it seemed a bit too much at times (see Kat Dennings rant below). However, thanks to all of the aforementioned positives, this sequel delivered on the laughs more competently than the original. There are several laugh-out-loud moments that come at the audience minutes before the final confrontation, and are worth the price of admission alone. Although depending on your ticket price, maybe half the cost?
– Never Leave Home Without It:
There is no doubt that Thor is no pushover, but it’s his trusty hammer – fondly named Mjölnir – that does most of the hindquarters-kicking. Thor’s infamous tool (insert phalic joke here) seemed to take the spotlight more so in this sequel, saving the world and following its master no matter where he went. Now if only I could get my dog to do the same… at least the latter part.
Per my list, there was definitely more than enough to like about the Thor sequel, but I wouldn’t necessarily profess my love for it or claim it as the second coming of super hero films. There were a few of the things that didn’t go over so well, in my eyes.
– “Who” is that Villain?:
It’s near impossible to tell, but under all of that villainous makeup lays the heart of a TARDIS time-traveler. Dr. Who’s ninth doctor extraordinaire, Christopher Eccleston, takes the helm of the antagonist Malekith. Maybe I’m getting desensitized to super-villains as I grow older, but the elfish looking alien looked more like a hobgoblin banker from the Harry Potter series than some devious threat. He wasn’t very preachy either, but I guess it’s the quiet ones you’ve got to watch.
– Out of this World:
For what may be the first time in the history of mankind, I will be using the said term as a negative. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some space and aliens, but for whatever reason I’ve just never warmed to the whole Romans-in-space theme that is Thor. This is more of a subjective critique, so I won’t harp on it, but I do tend to like my Sci-Fi “slightly” more grounded in reality. Grounded… get it? At least I enjoy my own humor.
– Where art though Chuck?:
Being a fairly large Zachary Levi fan due to the now-in-dvd geeky spy show Chuck, I was really looking forward to see Mr. Levi fill the shoes of Fandral this time around. You can understand my let down as Levi’s character ended up having about 45 seconds of total screen time, most of which weren’t very memorable. Should a third film be made, my hope is that Zach is approached again, but with a larger part that better utilizes his comedic talents.
– Final Credit Scene lacked oomph:
In what has become a Marvel movie staple, patrons are now forced to patiently wade through a list of unpronounceable names for special effects nerds and assistants to the on-set valets in order to see a final cut scene that serves as an epilogue of sorts. Before The Avengers, these scenes were actually Easter eggs of sorts, hinting at what we might expect from Marvel going forward. Unfortunately, since The Avengers, these scenes have been more of a last-laugh clip if you will. Thor 2 was no exception. While ultimately it achieved it’s humor-based objective, it revealed nothing special. I know this is small potatoes, but it’s something I missed from prior films.
– More is Less:
I’ve never watched 2 Broke Girls, but after Kat Dennings’ latest portrayal of Jane Foster’s (Natalie Portman) friend Darcy Lewis, I’m not making plans to put it on my DVR schedule anytime soon. I’m willing to admit she had a few laugh-worthy lines in this Thor follow-up, but it was the numerous attempts at forced humor that failed and incessant chattering that ultimately made the character just plain annoying.
If you couldn’t tell from my review, outside of a few minor annoyances, Thor has grown on me as of late (and not in the way my perverted followers are now giggling and twittering about as they read this). My new found outlook is thanks in large part to Joss Whedon, who tweaked Thor into a much more charismatic hero than the one Chris Helmsworth originally depicted in the first film. Thor 2: The Dark World has in-turn successfully taken the Norse house that Joss rebuilt to another exciting level. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but not only am I looking forward to the next Avengers film, but to a third Thor film as well.
Hopefully my new midnight movie madness group agrees with me, and in doing so, conveniently forgets everything I mentioned about LOST.