Film (2013). Marvel Studios. Directed by Alan Taylor. Written by Christopher L Yost and Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely; story by Don Payne and Robert Rodat. Cast includes Kat Dennings, Christopher Eccleston, Idris Elba, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman, René Russo and Stellan Skarsgârd. 112 minutes. Colour, 3D (converted).
Malekith the Accursed (Eccleston), lord of Svartalfheim, is defeated by the forces of Asgard and conceals a cosmic Weapon known as the Aether; this is uncovered by astrophysicist Jane Foster (Portman) and her team, and Thor (Hemsworth) is forced into a fragile alliance with his treacherous brother Loki (Hiddleston) to save the Nine Realms.
The end credits of Thor (2011) spooled over a teaser tour of the Wormhole system mythologized as the Norse Yggdrasil, and this sequel unfurls that wider science-fictional canvas to often exhilarating effect, with the action moving fluidly between worlds; the film climaxes in a Dimension-hopping fight sequence nucleated in Greenwich (see London), while Portman's and Skarsgârd's characters go further into the euhemeristic rationale of Gods and Demons as near-Immortal superhumans and their Technology as advanced Physics, as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's progressive embrace of a broader and bolder sf Shared World extending beyond its terrestrial Superhero technologies. The production design of the extended Asgardian scenes and the digitally titivated Icelandic locations delivers impressive grandeur in the spirit of Jack Kirby, and Hemsworth and Hiddleston continue to milk their characters' charismatic opportunities for larger-than-human performance, though the plot mechanics of Marvel Cinematic Universe films were beginning to regress to formula: genocidal Villains chasing down Infinity Stones and/or causing impressively large things to fall out of the sky as in The Avengers (2012), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). [NL]
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