Alan Taylor, 2013, USA
Exposition: it’s hard to get to everything or to care much when everything is stodgy with legend and jargon. Chris Helmsworth is Thor: his sex appeal will be used for humorous asides. He battles an undefeatable evil for Asgard, or something. Dark elves are involved apparently. Special effects: of course we have games that match this now and for the most part relies upon sensory overload. The women – Natlie Portman, Kat Dennings, Rene Russo – will be feisty females for a little balance to all the machismo. There’s a decent attack on Asgard and a lot of fun with portals where things disappear in one end and come out in other places unexpectedly; this also includes grenades that act like mini-black holes. This might be the best detail. The cast try to be playful but there isn’t much to play with – it relies on Tom Hiddleston as Loki to deliver much of this. Then it all ends up inter-dimensionally in Greenwich, which is fairly novel.
I receive a lot of bewildered looks from friends that I would still vouch for super-hero films: yes, I know that much of it is soulless and rote, and hardly any of it rises above a rating of “fair” but I can still find enjoyable nuance in ‘Wonder Woman’, despite its rigorous formula, and hey, I was even misguidedly if disinterestedly defending ‘Batman vs Superman’ for a while. Put it down to my penchant for always trying to see the good. And besides ‘Spider-man Homecoming’ is thoroughly enjoyable. But ‘Thor: The Dark World’ is so formulaic without any real nuance that it’s hard to get excited about any of it. The mash-up of fantasy and science-fiction surrounding Asgard is interesting enough but when the special-effects have such a familiar and pretty tedious framework it’s hard to be impressed. All the Godly bombast can’t disguise general dullness.