has fallen completely in love with its impressive capacity to present to us
stunning images on the screen, using the latest and greatest computer graphic
imaging technology. Yes, we want to
look at beautiful people, and if they have incredible physical or mental
capacities, so much the better. And
yes, we all enjoy just a little romance. So
if “Thor: The Dark World” has all these eye-candy ingredients, why is it
such a bore?
I think because it forgot to tell us a
story first, preferably one that’s not too difficult to follow, and bears
some resemblance to our own reality. Alas,
the plot of “Thor” is neither of these.
Let’s see, thousands of years ago
there was a race of beings called the Dark Elves, and they tried to send the
universe into darkness by using a weapon known as Aether (pronounced like
“ether”), which looks like floating blood streams? And then there’s some
kind of interplanetary alignment which produces a time/space travel anomaly,
which allows Norse gods like Thor (Chris Hemsworth) to travel to Earth, which
is good for Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), an earthling who just happens to be
an accomplished astrophysicist, but actually seems more like a jilted
adolescent pining for the adventurous man/child who left her behind because he
had to take care of business in nine realms at once.
Eyes glazing over yet? How about
we throw in family squabbles between Odin (Anthony Hopkins), the reigning
Norse god, and Loki (Tim Hiddleston), his black sheep son who has aligned
himself with the evil Malekith (Christopher Eccleston?)
And for comic relief, we have Stellan Skarsgard in “tighty whities”?
Natalie Portman is wasted as a vacuous
quailing bimbo. For that matter,
Anthony Hopkins isn’t exactly put to great use, either, with his
eye-patch-borrowed ferocity and his self-important posturing.
Chris Hemsworth gamely attempts to be the superhero with a conscience;
the hard-chiseled body with the heart of gold, but there’s not even a hint
of ironic self-deprecation in that model’s perfect face, as there would have
been on, say, Brad Pitt. Really, the
only bright spot is the almost-human portrayal of Rene Russo as Frigga,
Odin’s Asgardian wife, but it’s too little, too late.
We’ve given up either making any sense of it, or caring about the
knows we love our superheroes, and fantasy films are all the rage right now.
But there still needs to be a discernible plot, and characters we can
identify with, and root for, and, occasionally, surprise us.
“Thor: The Dark World” is so
weighted down by its own idiosyncratic smoke and mirrors that it neglects to
make the magic.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Minister, St.
Stephen’s Presbyterian Church,