Thor: The Dark World - Movie Review

It's good to see that Thor's second solo film has performed not only well but even better than his first film - which I enjoyed quite a bit (more so with subsequent viewings).

Thor: The Dark World takes place after The Avengers movie and sees Thor up against a new villain who is threatening to destroy the nine realms.

I won't bog you down with details of the plot and cast lists etc. if you want all that click the link to the movie above which will take you to the Internet Movie Data Base. Instead I'll give you my impressions of the film without giving too much away in the way of spoilers.

Overall I did enjoy this movie. If you're a fan of the first Thor film then this one has everything you'd hope to see only with more detail.

In particular Asgard is a more fleshed out and believable world, looking a little less shiny and a little more lived in with actual people going about their daily lives.

We didn't see a whole lot of sci-fi tech in the first movie but here you get a firm reminder all the way through that Thor and everyone not residing on Earth all come from space and aren't just magical beings living in some magical fantasy realm. They use actual technology too.

Most importantly, the humor is still there, delivered naturally as the story unfolds, particularly by intern, Darcy played by Kat Dennings, whose own TV show, Two Broke Girls, could learn a thing or two about natural humor over continuous, cheap one liners. I so much like Kat better when she's delivering genuinely funny lines in Thor's movies.

I do think the first movie was more laugh out loud funny than The Dark World but this offering has a lot of very subtle humor that's easy to miss on first viewing.

One thing that I did miss, which isn't really a spoiler, is the lack of any presence of SHIELD in this movie. If memory serves me correctly SHIELD weren't that present in Iron Man 3 either. SHIELD was such a big part of Marvel's phase 1 films that they should continue to be present in phase 2 and beyond. Any business of Superheroes is SHIELD's business - it's what they do.

SHIELD is name dropped in the Dark World and that's about it. Even if the events of this movie takes place in the space of a day I think SHIELD is equipped to make quick responses. They're not a small organization and they have some of the most advanced tech on the planet... oh... and they have the internet too right? Look how fast the average person responds to any breaking news on the internet. SHIELD could do better than that I would've thought?

Since we know Agent Coulson is alive it might have been nice to see him, or even his replacement, looking up at whatever that craft is that attacks Earth in Dark World with some kind of acknowledgement that "It's definitely not something of Starks!".

Hopefully Marvel make up for the lack of SHIELD in Captain America's next outing, The Winter Soldier.

Those are all the things that stood out for me. If I were to go into more detail about what I did or didn't like I'd have to spoil much of the film. It's not all great, there are some questionable moments, but overall, the film is a lot of fun.

Well worth seeing and a film that I will add to my own DVD collection for sure.

George Clooney and Matt Damon on Ben Affleck as Batman

George Clooney as Batman
As reported in Empire Magazine via Hollywood Backwash George Clooney was asked to comment on Ben Affleck's casting as Batman saying...

"I am the least qualified person to comment on anyone playing the role of Batman since I so terribly destroyed the part. I tend to look at it like this — let’s just see what the movie is before everyone starts beating him up, he is a smart man, he knows what he is doing."

Anyone who own's the DVD of Batman and Robin will have seen the included documentary, with George's humorously self depreciating reflections on how he ruined the Batman franchise, however, in my opinion, of all the things wrong with the film, George really wasn't one of them.

In a 2011 interview with Total Film Clooney had this to say about his turn as the Batman...

"Batman is still the biggest break I ever had and it completely changed my career, even if it was weak and I was weak in it. It was a difficult film to be good in. I don’t know what I could have done differently. But if I am going to be Batman in the film Batman & Robin, I can’t say it didn’t work and then not take some of the blame for that."

I'd have to agree with him (except about him being weak in the movie). His career certainly didn't tank after doing the film. If I remember rightly it was a real stepping stone for him from TV fame to Movie Star fame. Not to mention, after years of Christian Bale's Batman, it's so nice to revisit a Batman who you don't need a translator to understand what he's saying.

Also according to his Total Film interview George was really excited to land the role of Batman. It's kind of a shame the film's legacy means he's remembered as the worst Batman when really he wasn't. Kind of like how Ryan Reynolds gets a bad rap for Green Lantern even though he wasn't the reason for that movie's failure.

Ben Affleck's long time friend Matt Damon some time ago also commented about Ben's casting to the Times of India saying: 

"I think it will be great. It will be terrific. I know there are a lot of people grousing on the internet. I just think it’s kind of funny. You know, he’s not playing King Lear. It’s Batman! [That's] certainly within his skill set. If anybody saw ‘Argo’ or ‘The Town,’ and all the work he’s been doing lately, it’s way more nuanced and interesting and way more difficult than Batman! Batman just sits there with his cowl over his head and whispers in a kinda gruff voice at people. Bruce Wayne is the more challenging part of the role, and Ben will be great at that."

One thing that puzzles me is that many die hard Batman fans also share the same sentiment... Bruce Wayne is the more challenging part of the role. I have to disagree.

What's difficult about playing a millionaire playboy with a tragic upbringing and a dark secret? I'm not saying it's a walk in the park to play but it's hardly the stretch from reality that Batman is.

Not only do you have to convince everyone that dressing as a giant bat is a valid crime fighting outfit that's going to scare criminals, you then have to come across as a force of nature and a brilliant detective... brains and the brawn all in one person.

On top of that, no one is going to see the movie to see how Ben play's Bruce Wayne. Something as inconsequential as 'nipples on the Batsuit', or a gravelly, almost unintelligible voice can kill anything else that was really good about that version of Batman.

You know, the first time Ben's on screen as Batman everyone is going to be dialed right in waiting to hear him speak. I really hope he's been getting advice from Kevin Conroy, a fan favorite Batman voice from many animated incarnations of Batman. Listen to what Kevin had to say about Christian Bale's Batman voice in the video below.



Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith recently commented in one of his podcasts that he'd seen the Bat suit that Ben will be wearing (with Ben in it) and, knowing what a Batman fan he is, praised it highly saying it's like nothing you've ever seen in a movie yet.

It's said that Kevin elaborated further by saying the suit was inspired by comic book artist, Jim Lee's version of the suit (however this was bleeped out on the podcast recording). Which I take to mean it's probably a grey and black suit more like the comics and not likely the blue and grey suit (which looks great in a comic but a little cheesy in live action).

Anyway, getting back on track, if the suit's as good as Kevin says it is, all the pressure on Ben will be for the voice. Get that right and it'll all be down to the script and Ben's acting ability.

I suspect this article has become something of a ramble that's lost much of it's focus so I'll finish with this...

I liked George Clooney's Batman. Of all the Batman films so far, Batman and Robin is the one that is most friendly to a younger audience who didn't get to grow up with Adam West's Batman like I did. It's silly and over the top but it's also a lot of fun. However it's still not Batman.

Christian Bale wasn't even my Batman, though everything around him was very much how a Batman movie should be in my head.

After a few months of absorbing Ben's casting as Batman I'm no longer nervously optimistic. I'm just looking forward to seeing a new Batman that hopefully is different to any on screen Batman I've seen thus far.

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