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Thor: The Dark World - Blu-ray Review [Region-free]

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Thor: The Dark World - Blu-ray Review

3 stars

As a lifelong DC comic reader, it was merely an ancillary knowledge of Marvel characters I was aware of. But Thor I was familiar with, and in a cinematic world damn curious as to how to make a blonde-haired ancient Norseman fit into their big screen canon. I was wrong a few times about the Marvel movies; I never thought Avengers would work, and I doubted I would enjoy Thor. But there is one element in both that make these movies work like gangbusters: fun. Not tongue in cheek, wink at the ludicrousy of these characters type fun, but embracing their excesses and making them relatable.

After the rousing collaboration of the Avengers, the second wave—what Marvel films refers to as ‘Phase 2’—continues after Iron Man 3 with Thor: The Dark World. This one deals with the repercussions on Asgard of Loki’s betrayal and attack on Earth, and a new threat in the guise of Malekith: an evil dude trying to secure another powerful mystical thingy-ma-bob to enslave the universe with. Thor’s relationship with Jane is explored in more depth in this one, as well as his progression from arrogant whelp to man on a path to enlightenment.

It’s fun. It’s not the best of the crop. It’s got a different vibe than the first Thor movie, but all the elements that made that one so great are present and built upon effectively. The story, from a plot point of view, is far from original, or even that compelling. But the characterizations win the thin plot over, none more so than the relationship between Thor and Loki. Wisely recognising the gift that has sprung from the interactions of Hemsworth and Hiddleston, they have kept Loki deep in the mix to torment his brother. There are some genuinely funny moments throughout the film, but the fish out of water part of Thor’s character is not present in this one. I suppose it could be argued that it’s a natural development of his character’s arc, but this reviewer missed it. There is also some tragedy, but I don’t think this is handled as well as other aspects of the story. Losses of secondary characters, if presented as profound, are only profound if we are delivered a relatable effect on the main characters. It does happen in this, but it’s rushed and not allowed to breathe.

All thesps bring their A Game to the film, and deliver solid performances. Portman gets to play the fish out of water comedy angle this time; Hemsworth is settled and confident in his role now, and Hiddleston, as always, is a malevolent delight. Eccelston’s Malekith is not given enough to chew on, and is the weakest presence in the film for it. Hopkins… is Hopkins: you could watch the man grow grass and it would be compelling.

It’s a damn fine looking picture with Kramer Morgenthau’s lens excelling in Asgard especially. It definitely looks more expansive and layered this time around. Sets are breathtaking. Effects are top of the line. It’s a beautiful looking movie that utilised every cent of its 170 million dollar budget.

All in all, Marvel’s new phase is an enjoyable one thus far (we have another Cap adventure and Guardians of the Galaxy this year from Marvel’s canon). Thor is a good time at the movies; a worthy follow up, it effectively progresses Thor as a character, and while not the most enthralling of plots, it’s one of the stronger franchises for characterisation they currently offer. So long as these performers return for another go round, I’ll come and visit again.

Thor: The Dark World - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content.
Runtime:
112 mins
Director
: Alan Taylor
Writer
: Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus
Cast:
Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston
Genre
: Action | Sci-fi | Fantasy
Tagline:
Thor: The Dark World
Memorable Movie Quote: "Born to be a king, I ask one thing in return: a front seat to watch Earth burn."
Distributor:
Marvel Studios
Official Site:
https://www.facebook.com/Thor
Release Date:
November 8, 2013
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details availableSynopsis: Marvel's Thor: The Dark World continues the big-screen adventures of Thor, the Mighty Avenger, as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself. In the aftermath of Marvel's "Thor" and "Marvel's The Avengers," Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos...but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.

Thor: The Dark World - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - February 25, 2014
Classification: 12
Screen Formats:
2.40:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: Region-Free

These blu rays are always top shelf and Thor: The Dark World is no different. The 1080p AVC encode is as crisp as it gets, with only one exception, and I assume it’s a production choice: the scenes in Svartalfheim are a bit softer than everywhere else. Blacks and colours are striking in their depth and boldness, flesh tones natural, no sign of crush and banding. A beautiful 2D presentation of the flick.

Sound is even better than the spectacular picture. Oh, your surround speakers at the mercy of this 7.1 DTS-HD mix will tremble before it. It’s layered, nuanced, thumpingly powerful, with crisp clear dialogue, wonderful L to R effects, and a completely flawless immersion as a result.

Special features are a short film featuring Ben Kingsley’s faux Mandarin, and something suggesting the real Mandarin has taken offence (interesting tid bit; hope they play that out); a play all featurette combo focused on Thor and Loki and some deleted scenes. Nothing too remarkable, but I think the best Marvel short offered to date.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

  • Marvel One Shot: All Hail the King

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