Sunday, November 17, 2013

SHOOT Reviews Thor 2

Loki: [to Thor] You lied to me. I'm impressed.

If you haven’t seen this film yet, remember there are not one but two after movie clips.  The second is a nice bit of feel-good-fun.

Let me say from the word go that Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers (whom I usually wholeheartedly agree with) is wrong in this instance. He says Thor 2 is disappointing.   It cost $170 million smackaroos to make, and thus far is still around $60 million shy of breaking even.  Perhaps it’s too early to make those sort of projections, but it will be a huge surprise if a triumph (as this flick obviously is) fails to make a profit.

The only disappointing thing about Thor 2 is Travers review of it.  Some critics have decided there’s not enough of Loki (Tom Hiddelston) in Thor 2.  I’ve seen this brilliant flick twice and there’s plenty of Loki, in fact there’s far more of him (now a prisoner and considered a traitor by all Asgardians) than I think anyone expects.  Kenneth Branagh directed the first flick, and did a superb job.  Each scene in that film is meticulously crafted.  Thor 2 is less meticulous, but perhaps also more spectacular.  This is a much bigger film, both in scale and scope.  It was directed by some bloke who directed some obscure TV series (called Game of Thrones) and for some reason, his background has imbued this film with a lot of wonderful authenticity.  For those whiners who want more Loki, try to remember that this is a story about Thor, not his brother.

Chris Hemsworth is more memorable and consistent in Thor 2 than he was in Thor or Avengers.  Hemsworth isn't a blonde dude, and it seems it's not easy to maintain either his hair or his blonde five-'o-clock shadow.  But there were a few scenes where he really looked the part.  In Avengers his hair, perhaps due to bad weather, quite often, was a mess.  

What's interesting to note about Loki is that Hiddleston is actually paleskinned, naturally blonde (remember him as F Scott Fitzgerald in Midbnight in Paris?), and so the crow black hair and whitened skin make his blue eyes stand out, and contrive to make his smile seem more mischievous than it actually is.  Interesting.

Jane Foster: It's a different world. Maybe they were different for a reason...

Natalie Portman, happily, probably gets the lion’s share of screentime, after Thor that is. It’s actually hard to know what makes Portman so watchable.  Besides her bright, brown-eyed beauty, and her fresh faced, deer-like body, she has a beatific smile and the acting smarts to match all that booty.  Her presence (I won’t say exactly where) adds a compelling dimension to this flick.  Interestingly, in the original version of Thor Foster is a nurse, and Thor's Earthbound alter ego is doctor Adam Blake.  Jane Foster as a scientist makes much more sense, and the 'explanations' of Norse magic as science adds a nice touch in both films.

I’m not sure why, but Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins) seems badly off his game this time round.  He seems older, and a little ragged.  Was this intentional?  Whatever the case, he also looks a little different to his first appearance, and disconcertingly so for my money.  His wife Frigga (Rene Russo) and Heimdell (idris Elba) both make up for this to some extent, with some pretty nifty moves.  Darcy (Kat Dennings) is also in fine form as the comic relief (along with her intern).

Darcy Lewis: Look at you. Still all muscly and everything!

If anything I would have liked to have seen a dalliance with Sif, the lovely Jaimie Alexander.  But, of course, our hero is too good for that.
It’s good to see Jane Foster has learnt the lesson from the Prometheus uproar – when a tall object is about to fall on you, roll away. 
Unlike other reviewers, who feel their duty in reviewing a film is recounting its plot, I will merely say that the Dark Elves are hardcore (as they should be), so are the epic battle scenes, and I personally love the combination of swords and spaceships.

Score: 8.8/10

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