Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
USA, 2013. Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Pictures. Story by Don Payne, Robert Rodat, Screenplay by Christopher L. Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, based on the Marvel comics by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby. Malekith character created by Walter Simonson. Cinematography by Kramer Morgenthau. Produced by Kenneth Branagh, Kevin Feige. Music by Brian Tyler. Production Design by Charles Wood. Costume Design by Wendy Partridge. Film Editing by Dan Lebental, Wyatt Smith.
Having put the world to rights at the end of his first solo film adventure, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) erroneously thinks that placing his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in celestial jail will give him some peace and quiet. A “convergence” of worlds about to come into alignment is causing weird issues with gravity and physics in the nine realms and is allowing an ancient race of “Dark Elves” to come out of their dormant slumber, eons after they tried to use a doomsday weapon known as “The Aether” to plunge the universe into darkness. On Earth, Natalie Portman’s Jane is investigating a scientific anomaly when she accidentally slips into another dimension, gets the Aether deposited into her body and becomes the focus of both the Dark Elves’ villainy (specifically their leader played by Christopher Eccleston) and Thor’s need to reignite their relationship. If any of the above plotline is confusing to read, it’s possible that I haven’t relayed it properly given that the film is an obscure mess to follow, its narrative mainly an excuse for the characters to indulge in scenes of hand to hand combat, giant computer-generated explosions or painfully strained jokes that, much like the overall film, never get off the ground (most of the “funny” lines make Kat Dennings look bad, and she doesn’t deserve it). Alan Taylor’s joyless direction turns what should be a pleasurable indulgence into something calculated and dry, while the opportunity for some sense of awe and wonder is completely wasted: the Norse afterlife looks like a museum with a very clean pub as its social centre (Loki’s prison cell is actually the only glamorous space up there, he seems to be locked in the apartment from the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey), Hemsworth gives an uninspired performance that is likely the result of such bad writing (he can barely be bothered to grunt his lines), while Portman, who is just as awkward and out of place as she was the last time around, here seems justifiably confused as to exactly what it is she is participating in; the only spot-on performance, by Hiddelston, is wasted in a subplot that keeps him pent up throughout most of the movie.