Thor: The Dark World

Year: 2013
Studio: Marvel Entertainment
Director: Alan Taylor
Producer: Kevin Fiege
Writer: Christopher L Yost/Christopher Markus/Stephen McFeely/Don Payne
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Kat Dennings, Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Rene Russo, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Alice Krige

I was surprised when I heard about the blistering box office performance of this film. I strongly suspected I wouldn't like it (and didn't), but the reason was because the first one was such empty spectacle and this sequel is much the same. Obviously being more of the same was what everyone loved about it.

To me it was the same otherworldly threat by some alien fantasy race culminating in the arrival of some huge otherworldly vehicle during the climax, with an interchangeable Marvel character on hand to save the day using a small army of computer graphics engineers.

The interchangeable villain in this case is the evil ruler of a race of elves (an unrecognisable Christopher Eccleston) who ruled the universe before there was light and want to return it to darkness etc etc etc. Thor (Hemsworth) has nothing to do but party and drink with his friends in Asgard, having bought peace to the universe but missing his human girlfriend Jane (Portman).

When some sort of temporal space force field thingy appears in London, it has something to with the boundaries between realms being warped or damaged because of the coming of the villainous elves... or something. Thor has to release Loki (Hiddleston) because they'll only be strong enough to fight the bad guys together (cue the high stakes trusting-an-enemy trope, lots of comic bickering).

I know I'm the only one who thinks so, but most of these superhero movies are just a series of taking a character, chewing narrative, CGI and licensing potential into a smooth paste, spitting out a movie and repeating until the billions stop flowing. And this is the worst example of it. Hemsworth has presence, but for all the talk about inner turmoil, the choice to be a good man and all the crap they go on about, it's a superhero movie – there's no institution more cut and dried and straightforward in American culture.

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