Sunday, April 19, 2015

Thor: The Dark World Review

I don't know Kat Dennings as a person. Perhaps she is quite lovely, a gentle soul whose friendship is the kind worth having. I have never sought out any anecdotes regarding her off screen persona because frankly, I don't really care. I only care about one part of her life: her inclusion in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's too late to fix the mistakes of the past, the way she was involved in far too many sequences during Thor: The Dark World, and to be clear here, none of this is actually her fault. She does what I assume she was asked to do in that film, and technically I'm sure she does it well. The problem is what she was asked to do. The problem is that someone wrote these scenes and the words said during them and thought it was a good idea. 

See, I know going into a film like this that accepting silliness is mandatory in order to enjoy the picture. It is a superhero film based on a comic book about people living in a fictional world named Asgard wearing costumes and the one dude in particular carries a giant mythical hammer with him and throws it at his enemies, only for it to return to him like a boomerang. You can't enter the cinema for a movie like this and demand gritty no-nonsense realism, if you do you are setting yourself up for failure. Still though, there needs to be a limit on the amount of comedic bits that are forced into a less than two hour long film that still asks its audience to take the overall vision seriously.

Little moments pop up here and there throughout the entire movie that I find unsavory, but for the most part nothing so egregious that it actually ruins the entire experience. For whatever reason though the writers and director Alan Taylor felt the need to ramp up the amount of Kat Dennings in our lives to maximum overdrive. Enough already. With literally less than 20 minutes left to go in the film, Thor is facing off against the bad guys of the story, a race of creatures known as the Dark Elves, and I thought alright, this is where I end up blown away by breathtaking set pieces, amazing action sequences, slick direction and so on. This is where I leave the flaws behind and walk away from the film remembering the stunning conclusion that leaves me wanting more.

What actually happens during the last 20 minutes? Instead of anything I said above, we are treated to a non-stop barrage of cutaways from the action so we can be beaten over the head with comedy involving Kat Dennings and some intern assistant guy, running around, narrowly avoiding death and saying little quips regarding the situation. Why would I, or anyone, give a shit about what is happening with these inconsequential secondary characters during the most important sequences of the movie? Why isn't the entire focus at this point on Thor and his seemingly important plight to save the day yet again?

The moral of the story whether in regards to Kat Dennings or anyone else inside the world of Thor: The Dark World is please stop trying so hard to be funny. When you try too hard, it is noticeable and thus it is far less funny than if you space these moments of relief out and make them mean something. The Avengers was clever and funny because Whedon had such a confident grasp of the material and knew exactly when to deliver a hearty chuckle, a moment to break up the chaos and carnage that made up every second of the previous ten minutes.

Thor: The Dark World is a pretty darn decent, fun film that should and could have been so much more, and you know what? I have picked on Kat Dennings far too much in this review. Time to call out another problem here. Stellan Skarsgard, put your damn pants on. A scientist in his briefs isn't inherently funny, if that is all a writer has in his comedic bag of tricks he needs to invest in some better material.



  1. Hopefully the next one, with the title Thor: Ragnarok, will be appropriately dark since Ragnarok is the death of the Norse gods.

    1. I still love the character and am hopeful for a truly great solo effort. As you know, I am pessimistic about the DC direction yet even though I have been a little underwhelmed by Thor films, I remain optimistic they are going to get Ragnarok right.

  2. I loved Thor, but when I saw Thor: The Dark World I have to admit that I hated it, and consider it the worst marvel film in the MCU as of now. When the attack on Asgard happened I was shocked at how I was fooled thinking I was watching a Star Wars movie. That's when it dawned on me that people really have no faith in fantasy films. And I don't understand why fantasy gets such a bad rep, in the first Thor, Asgard was astounding and felt magical. Thor felt like a God, and they didn't focus so much on technology. Sure they slipped in a line saying that "what you call magic I call technology" line, but in The Dark World they completely went Sci-Fi, didn't make Thor as regal as he was in the previous movies (seriously why can't he just shampoo that hair), once again Jane is a pointless female character, and finally the film was so dreary in the cinematography that I didn't have any wonder or enjoyment that was present in all the films before this. I seriously hope Thor 3 picks up the fantasy, because this one disappointed me beyond belief, and I just have so much hatred for it now.
    1/ it doesn't deserve that.


    1. Wow, you really hated this one Cody! I can appreciate that, it is one of my least favorite MCU entries, and I can't really argue with anything you said. Pretty spot on criticisms.

      I, too, hope for good things from Thor 3. If not then I really wouldn't be very interested in any future Thor stories going forward, I need to be sold that they can be just as compelling as the other solo outings. Oh, and "so dreary in the cinematography" is right on the money. The way a film is photographed is so important to me and nothing stood out about it here.