Marvel Studios' production Thor: The Dark World sees Chris Hemsworth return as the unusual Avenger. Critics are fairly divided on their views about the film. Some love the humour, others think this is Thor overkill.
"This new Thor film delivers a hammer-blow of boredom to the back of the head. It is another franchise product from the Marvel pipeline, conceived without much inspiration in a CGI-green screen world, and without the sprightliness and novelty of the previous Thor outing, directed by Kenneth Branagh," writes a bored Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian.
Colin Covert is sold on it though. "Any reservations I had about Thor: The Dark World evaporated when the movie shifted into maximum overdrive in its second hour. The latest chapter in Marvel’s never-ending story takes a while to find its narrative momentum, but its later, better scenes have a loony oomph that drowns out your misgivings. It elevates comic-book pandemonium to new heights of clamor. Joyous Pop Art excess permeates every frame," he gushes in Star Tribune.
Ian Buckwalter seems to agree with Covert. "Alan Taylor (director) knows this territory well: His director's chair was most recently parked on the set of HBO's Game of Thrones, and he brings the epic sweep of that fantasy series to the otherworldly parts of this film, only with a much bigger budget for painting on a much larger digital canvas," wrties Buckwalter in NPR.
"His digital artists deserve serious credit, too; this Thor contains some of the most gorgeously rendered images in the Avengers films, from the grandeur of Thor's home in Asgard (a glittering starlit funeral over Asgardian waterfalls, somber and beautiful) to the bleak and storm-swept landscapes of Svartalfheim, home to a race of Dark Elves who have returned after thousands of years in exile," he adds appreciatively.
So, how good are the performances, what with biggies like Hemsworth, Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins playing lead characters?
Not great, writes Jeannette Catsoulis in NY Times. "If only Thor himself were more of a wag. But Mr. Hemsworth, voice pitched low enough for mystified worms to detect its vibrations, has neither the glint in his eye nor the lightness in his step that would signal some winking self-awareness. (Whoever wrote this poor man’s lines should be immediately injected with a serious dose of Aether.)"
If that were not enough, she liked Portman best when she wasn't talking.
Tom Hiddleston was the only saving grace for Catsoulis. "Rewarded with the best lines and most flattering camera angles, Loki, the master of illusion, is a genetic anomaly in a bulked-up bloodline. He’s also the spoonful of sugar that helps this medicine go down," she writes.
Michael O'Sullivan is terribly distracted by Anthony Hopkins, but not for the right reasons. "Oh, and let’s not forget Odin’s facial hair. His white beard is magnificent, particularly the mustache, which wriggles down along the sides of his mouth in sinuous testimony to the skill of his Asgardian barber — or the film’s makeup department, which numbered 67 people. Odin may not be a god, but he has divine whiskers," he comments in The Washington Post.
"See? That’s the problem with The Dark World. If I’m spending that much time studying Odin’s grooming, there’s something wrong with the story, which is kind of slow to get going and features too many undeveloped threads."
Rotten Tomatoes grants the film an encouraging 70% rating on the tomatometer with the comment, "It may not be the finest film to come from the Marvel Universe, but Thor: The Dark World still offers plenty of the humor and high-stakes action that fans have come to expect."