In wake of yesterday’s London premiere of Thor The Dark World, press reviews are starting to come in thick and fast. I’m happy to say many of them are excellent, with some popular media sites giving their Thor 2 reviews a rating of 4/5 and even 5/5.
The camaraderie between Thor and Loki is much praised, with Tom Hiddleston’s performance stealing most of the limelight.
Of course, some reviews are less than glowing and this is largely attributed to ‘choppy editing’ and ‘under-developed villains’, but most who have given negative feedback to the movie tend to praise the talents of Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth.
Note: Most of these reviews (and to some extent, the quotes I’ve taken from them) give an overview of Thor 2’s plot elements.
Their rating: 4/5 stars
Loki’s trickster abilities are used more extensively here than ever before both to emotional and comedic ends, giving rise to a glorious, sly Avenger cameo as well as many of Hiddleston’s most poignant moments. All of the qualities that have made Loki beloved among fans despite his villainy – the sardonic wit and eloquent rage and the crippling vulnerability beneath – are given full reign, but Loki is ultimately still on screen less than you wish.
Their rating: 4/5 stars
This is still Thor’s film and Thor’s journey, but it’s hardly a surprise that Hiddleston steals the show right out from under him. The actor has the villainous sneers and swagger nailed but he also gets the opportunity to show Loki’s petulance and weak spots, and to hint at some potential growth. For all the hammer throwing, the fish out of water jokes and the universe-threatening forces, the backbone of the Thor films continues to be the family drama.
Watching Hemsworth and Hiddleston bicker, snarl and wade into battle together is a joy.
The connection between Thor’s world and Jane’s world is definitely far-fetched, but not worth hating on because everything that surrounds it is fun and exciting to watch. Some definite nods to Empire Strikes Back will be felt, and the film is very successful in the small ways it sets up the rest of Marvel’s Phase Two plan. The best parts of this action-obsessed sequel are of course the scenes that feature both Thor and Loki as siblings forced to team up even though they despise and don’t trust one another. When these guys are doing their thing on-screen, they serve up some of the best Marvel’s given us thus far.
[…] if you’re any kind of fan of comic books and comic book movies, you’ll leave the theater with a big ol’ dopey smile on your face. At least I did.
Their rating: 7.5 out of 10
[…] So while Malekith isn’t particularly exciting as a villain, what is exciting – and makes the movie so good – are the relationships. Specifically those between Thor and his interstellar love Jane, as well as Thor and Loki, the latter of which has fully accepted his dark side. When Hemsworth is on screen with either Hiddleston or Portman, it’s insanely watchable and captivating both because of the performances, and the actors’ comfort and chemistry with one another.
There are a lot of laughs in these interactions too, creating what’s probably Marvel’s funniest movie to date. Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgard and Chris O’Dowd also provide some nice levity in the film.
But really, this is the Tom Hiddleston show. Hemsworth is better than ever as the all-mighty Thor and Portman elevates Jane from the first film, but Hiddleston’s Loki has such beautiful subtlety in Thor: The Dark World, it’s no wonder they added more scenes just for him. He’s certainly a supporting character, but a supporting character that resonates from beginning to end, keeping everything on edge. Even when he’s not on screen, you feel his presence, and that gives the film great energy.
Their rating: 4/5 stars
In the wrong hands, Thor could have been an utterly ridiculous character — an abbed-up demigod who looks like he’s on a gap year just finding himself, man, and who speaks with a Ye Olde English twang. And yet Chris Hemsworth managed to make it work from the get-go, bringing charm and power to the role. Getting back on the Norse here, the Australian actor comports himself with admirable ease, handling the comedic and dramatic aspects equally adroitly, as a rapidly maturing Thor is forced to rebel against his stubborn father in order to save Asgard (and the rest of the Nine Realms). The day Hemsworth puts the hammer down will be a shame.
Likewise, Hiddleston and Loki. The English actor is simply indelible in the role now, as adept at a devilish one-liner (“It’s not that I don’t enjoy our little chats,” he tells Odin. “It’s just… that I don’t”) as he is at suggesting the layers of pain and regret that lurk beneath Loki’s preening, prideful surface.
Their rating: 5/5 stars
[…] Hiddleston has well and truly made this character his own – not to mention his comic timing is spot on: he really does have some of the best comic lines and moments in the film.
You can tell that there is a great rapport between Hemsworth and Hiddleston, and together they are able to explore and push this relationship in a direction that we haven’t seen before: this partnership really is the heart and soul of the film.
The middle section is mostly a muddle, with endless cross-cutting between the Dark Elves plotting, attacking and then retreating to plot some more, earthlings Darcy and Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) worrying, and the Asgardians bickering over what they should do. The latter finally decide — despite manifest evidence provided by two previous films that it would be a very bad idea — to release Loki from jail so that he can fight on their side. Once Loki is back in play, magisterially sneering and loftily dispensing one-liners, the whole thing perks up again. Until, that is, he’s off the scene again for reasons which can’t be revealed.
In the end, that humorous approach is largely the film’s saving grace, keeping the action sufficiently lively and diverting that audiences won’t recognize how recycled the material is, or how low the stakes feel.
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