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God of Thunder brings down hammer, wields actions and laughs at box office

Submitted by Caleb Mitchell on November 21, 2013 – 12:05 pmOne Comment

Photo courtesy of Marvel

When Disney unveiled phase two of its film lineup set in the Marvel universe, “Thor: The Dark World” was one of the first films to be revealed. As the sequel to Kenneth Branagh’s 2011 box office smash, the release of “The Dark World” has been eagerly anticipated by Marvel fans. Now it’s finally upon us, and with a worldwide box office gross of over $359 million and counting, it’s safe to say “The Dark World” has arrived with a hammer-like impact.

In addition to returners Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman and others, “The Dark World” also welcomes a number of newcomers, most notably Christopher Eccleston in the role of the main villain, Malekith. Though Hemsworth is the top-billed actor , it’s Tom Hiddleston who steals the show as the God of Mischief, delivering deadpan line after line to hilarious effect.

Though he’s responsible for much of the film’s comedy, Hiddleston is far from the sole source of laughs. Despite what the film’s name might suggest, “The Dark World” is rife with hilarity, creating a wonderful contrast of intense action and light-hearted humor that gives the “Iron Man” series a run for its money. There’s hardly a character in the film that doesn’t have a humorous moment or two, though side characters occasionally teeter on the verge of funny but obnoxious.

From both a plot-oriented and visual standpoint, “The Dark World” is a much grander affair than its predecessor, making the film feel more like the sweeping epic deserving of a Norse tale. While the rare plot-hole or wonky-looking bit of CGI occasionally distracts from the action, such occurrences are infrequent enough to be overlooked and don’t detract from the movie experience.

The sole issue with “The Dark World” is the rather lackluster and anticlimactic ending. The film is two hours long, but for such a lengthy, intense, and action-packed setup for the final confrontation, it felt like more of a letdown than a showdown. Imagine you’ve just spent an hour and 45 minutes setting up an epic chain of fireworks that you’ve rigged just perfectly so that they all go off together in one massive explosion when you detonate them. Now imagine you flip the switch and they all turn out to be duds, except for one bottle rocket and a pack of sparklers – that very well summarizes the end of the movie.

But even with this gripe, it’s hard to stay angry at “The Dark World.” It’s not perfect, by any means, but films like this don’t need to be since it’s a popcorn flick through and through. There’s not a deep, compelling story to be found here, no baffling twists that will leave your mind reeling for weeks on end, or anything else to this film besides pure, unadulterated entertainment – and really, who doesn’t love that?

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