Review: Thor: The Dark World

GRAEME TUCKETT
Last updated 05:00 02/11/2013
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Awesome: Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman star in Thor: The Dark World.

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THOR: THE DARK WORLD (M) Directed by Alan Taylor

Reviewed by Graeme Tuckett

It's a tricky business to make a sequel. Especially a sequel to a much beloved first film, in a franchise that promises to run for several films yet. Even this apparently indestructible Marvel/Avengers franchise once hit a low with Iron Man 2.

So I was prepared to cut Thor: The Dark World a little slack. The first instalment was everything the fans could possibly have asked for, with lashings of action, truly funny gags and almost impossibly spectacular production design. Much of it created by computer, rather than on a sound stage, to be sure. But some gifted sod still has to sit down with his coloured pencils and draw it at some point in the process, and whoever designed the sets and the backdrops of Thor was, they did a truly wonderful job. Add to all that a terrific cast, smart banter and an appropriately rip-roaring pace, and Thor is easily one of my favourite of all the Marvel comic adaptations. So I was happy for Thor: The Dark World to not quite scale those heights.

But you know what? Lightning can and does strike twice. This film is easily as fine as the first, and in its closing sequence, perhaps even better.

More of the action takes place on Asgard and various other of the "Nine Realms" this time, and to a non-comic reader, a little too much of what is going on is slightly incomprehensible. But, the fanboys around me were having no problems keeping up, and as soon as the action returned to Earth then all of us were in agreement that this Thor was utterly doing the business.

It takes a deft touch of the script to contain all the warfare and sorcery the genre demands, yet find the right times and places to leaven, to bombast with wit and recognisable emotion. There were moments in Thor: The Dark World – particularly a Viking-inspired funeral – that held real pathos. And the stunning final stanza, which is basically a duel that rampages through a series of portals in the skies above London city, had me laughing out aloud at the sheer inventiveness of it all.

I don't think I've ever described a film as "awesome" before now. But for Thor: The Dark World, it actually seems appropriate.

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