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The Road to Civil War: Thor: The Dark World

After the success of both “The Avengers” and “Thor,” I was really looking forward to the sequel: promising, more cosmic goodness and Kirby-esque Asgardian awesomeness. All of that goodwill quickly evaporated upon laying eyes on “Thor: The Dark World.” Kenneth Branagh, director of “Thor,” didn’t return for the sequel and it seems like he took all the creativity with him.

“Thor: The Dark World” is a thoroughly uninspiring film. It suffers from the same problems that Marvel Cinematic Universe bridge movies are plagued with. Chief among them are sequel-itis, lackluster villains and a plot that focuses too much on expanding the broader universe.

It’s not necessarily true that its an awful film from start to finish but, compared to the rest of the MCU, the film is sorely lacking in quality. Director Alan Taylor tries too hard to recapture the humor of the first “Thor” that it ceases to feel like a superhero movie but a parody of the genre. Kat Dennings’ character gets more screentime which profoundly vexes me because she offers very little aside from a few, lame jokes. It would’ve been interesting to see Thor interact with other Norse gods a little more instead of the same three earthlings, but the film always feels the need to rip us away from the brilliance of Asgard and plant us firmly in an abandoned warehouse in London.

It’s odd to see such a compelling villain like Loki introduced in the first “Thor” then witness a walking stereotype like Malekith take his place as the antagonist. No disrespect to Christopher Eccleston, who I think is a capable actor, but Malekith isn’t given a whole lot to do except threaten and pose.

Indeed, the film itself realizes that the antagonist isn’t menacing at all and tries to bring in Loki. The scenes between Thor and Loki are probably the best part of the film, including a surprising cameo which drew a hearty laugh. Hiddelston and Hemsworth have great chemistry on the screen and I would’ve liked to see more, but sadly “Thor: The Dark World” is about Malekith and the Dark Elves or something.

The story is filled with plenty of convenient plot points that it’s hard to believe the script was greenlit. Natalie Portman’s character Jane Foster just happens to be near the portal to other dimensions and she just happens to stumble across the magical maguffin. Jane Foster is either the luckiest or unluckiest person in the world. I can imagine that she just ran into Thor (literally!) but the events of “Thor: The Dark World” make it ridiculous. Lazy writing like this is the bread and butter of movies everywhere and it annoys me to no end.

Maybe it was going to happen regardless, but the sequel to Thor is nowhere near the caliber of movie that its predecessor was. “Thor: The Dark World” feels less like a feature film and more like a lengthy episode in a television series. The film tries to repeat the same jokes from Thor and attempts to use the events from “The Avengers” to launch into a cosmic story involving the Asgardian gods. The problem is that the villain is incredibly bland which makes it hard to care.

At least we got more Thor and Loki on screen and the climactic battle was fun if a little derivative.

I mean, audiences just saw “The Avengers” and the climax for “Thor: The Dark World” involves another portal in the sky?

6/10

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