It doesn’t feel like two years since the release of Thor, though that is no doubt because last summer’s box office was dominated by the Norse warrior’s second face off with his adopted brother Loki in the company of The Avengers. This autumn, Thor will return in his second solo adventure, The Dark World, reuniting Chris Hemsworth with many of the cast of the first film, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgård, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins and Rene Russo, but joining them are Christopher Eccleston and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and the world created by Kenneth Branagh, an unexpected choice but wholly appropriate, has been handed to Alan Taylor, best known for his extensive work on HBO shows such as Deadwood, The Sopranos, Carnivàle and Game of Thrones. Here, the Geek Chocolate team discuss their first impressions of the new trailer.
Brian Robinson – Looks good. Thoroughly enjoyed the first one and this has a more realistic look to it – less cosmic CG and more grounded in real locations. I have faith in the director, particularly given his Game of Thrones background. Looks to be some potential tension from the Lady Sif towards Jane Foster’s arrival in Asgard. For a teaser, this is mercifully more informative than some of the lightening quick info blasts that often just propel a single image and logo at the audience. Bring on the uneasy alliance with Loki.
Michael Flett – I’ve only seen the first Thorand The Avengers once each, but I did enjoy them both, and Chris Hemsworth is one of the major reasons for that – as ridiculous and pompous and unbelievable as the character is, he does it brilliantly, largely because he is physically right for the part, but also because, like Christopher Reeve as Superman, he can be utterly earnest without the slightest hint that he is hiding something in the other hand. When he makes a promise, he will keep it.
I had forgotten that Alan Taylor was directing it until Brian mentioned it, but the first thing I thought of when I saw the action scenes in the forest was Game of Thrones. I do like the varied locations, destroying great chunks of British heritage, then what looks like a run down council estate, then whisked away to fantasy landscapes, then battles in forests with laser guns, all of it filmed beautifully.
I have no idea what the plot is about, but hopefully it will be more than the family squabble that spills over onto Earth of the first one – that was my biggest gripe about the first Fantastic Four, too. I was like “What has this got to do with us? Can’t you sort it out like adults?”
I hope Natalie Portman gets something more to do as well – she’s best when she’s doing some more than being eye candy, just look at Black Swan or V for Vendetta, but in Thor she was very much the passive girlfriend.
Les Anderson – Well, Loki goes emo… Looking very promising – much grittier than Branagh’s glossily camp first film which, to me, works far far better on blu-ray than it did in the cinema. But then again Cineworld’s projectors were badly-calibrated which made the first film look like cack when in fact it wasn’t.
I’ll be interested to see how much of the original Asgard designs survive in this outing. As we seem to be spending time there I’m hoping they have thought through the different strata of Asgardian society much better – Branagh’s was awfully like the Emerald City. But I like the opening in modern London – it gives it a more grounded sense of reality if such a word can be used about any Thor film. I will see this on the day it opens – smiley face. And Loki HAS to dust off his helmet. Wouldn’t be Loki without it.
Adam Dworak – I have never seen the first Thor, so I dont know what to expect, but I do know what I want to see. I was brought up on stories of Norse mythology, and I have particular memories of a graphic novel, Thorgal by Jean Van Hamme and Grzegorz Rosinski, and this reminds me of that. I would love to see a proper Norse saga on the big screen, with Nidhogg and Odin, dark elves singing on branches of Yggdrasil and mystic forests and frost giants and mortal people trapped between good and evil, but something tells me I’m going to be served another Avengers Assemble which I found awful. This should be epic fantasy, more like Lord of the Rings than Avengers.
Maybe it’s just a trailer but everything there is so clean and sterile. Just look at the interior of Loki’s cell – it looks more like the a holding cell in the Umbrella Corporation than Asgard. All the weapons and armour look clean and shiny, and just a little bit too plastic. I don’t know if they chose the right director for this – Guillermo del Toro would be much better, as he knows how to combine a fairy tale and the real world, like in Pan’s Labyrinth.
Chris Hemsworth is handsome and has an amazing body and looks great with the long blonde hair, but he’s not got enough depth to play a god. I didn’t realise I had seen him in so many films – Star Trek, Avengers, Snow White, Cabin in the Woods – as I find him very forgettable. Thor was the most pathetic character in The Avengers, and he should have been the most dominant, he’s a god, but he ended up playing second fiddle to Tony Stark.
As Odin, Anthony Hopkins will show him how it’s done – that man can do no wrong. And Natalie Portman – I didn’t even recognise her in the trailer, which says a lot about her character and her importance in the film.
Owen Williams – My first thought on watching this was that it looks rather splendid. But, since I’m supposed to have an opinion going a little further than “that looks cool,” I then watched it a few more times. It still looks fantastic.
Is it just me, though, or is releasing the trailer six months before the film actually comes out pushing it a little bit? Do they really expect to keep up momentum and interest for that length of time? It’s a bit like showing you a photograph of your perfect partner, complete with a psychological profile that you know is the perfect match for yours and then letting you know that you can have your date in half a year. I want it NOW, damn it!
The themes here revolve around romance and action. I didn’t really buy into Natalie Portman in the first film, and it’s the same here. She’s a damn fine actress, but I couldn’t see Thor going all pining poet over her. She’s so tiny. Thor needs a woman that can slap him around a bit. Maybe have a bit of an arm wrestle with.
The action, though, looks astonishing. I am hopeful that it will, at least, be on a par with the final act of The Avengers. It would be great to see a truly awesome battle scene of violence and mayhem, rather than just Thor landing dramatically on one knee, or calling Mjolinir to his outstretched hand, or spinning it around again. All great images, of course, but I am hoping for something more.
On the negative side, and I might be alone in this, but I am getting a little sick of Loki. A great actor and character, but an overused villain swiftly becomes impotent rather than threatening. With any luck he’ll take a different direction in The Dark World, rather than reveal him as an ally of Christopher Eccleston’s Malekith, who is woefully underused in this trailer. Also, every line of dialogue in the trailer is hammy and clichéd. If it wasn’t for the people speaking them I’d be rolling my eyes in despair at lines like “we’re from different worlds… maybe they were separate for a reason”.
So, aside from Loki, Jane, clichéd writing and repetitive imagery, I am really looking forward to this release.
Thor: The Dark World is released on Wednesday October 30th