Thor 2: The Dark World – A Christian Perspective and Movie Review!

Writer Kevin Ott At Rocking Gods HouseWhen it comes to epic film releases like the Thor sequel, usually the first question I get from friends is an eager, “So? Was it good?”

So let me just start there.

To answer that question, however, it might be the only instance as a writer where I feel compelled to use mixed metaphors—a big no-no in the writing world—to describe the quality of this film. If I were to compare Thor: The Dark World, to say, a completely different movie genre, I would compare it to the underdog sports movie, where an unlikely athlete has a rough start, but just when you think they’re going to utterly fail, they somehow turn it around and make a run for the championship with a climactic last-second buzzer shot to win the game. To be clear, this is in no way hinting at the plot of Thor: The Dark World; it is simply conveying how successfully the film entertained its audience.

And, if that awkward metaphor felt disorienting, well, that’s why I used it. The movie throws the audience across the Nine Realms of Norse mythology with such dizzying force and frenetic speed that it feels disorienting as you’re watching it.

However, when the dust settles and the sky clears, somehow it all works. It is a much darker and scarier movie (wow, very creepy villains!) than the first film. Darkness, however, doesn’t always translate into something interesting. I was yawning through a couple parts in the early stages of the plot. The sneaking thought in the back of my mind was, “Oh, good grief, Marvel is going to ruin the Thor franchise with this bomb.” The first act of the film was overly grim, boring, and it felt in some parts like a bland imitation of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings—oddly enough.

But then the underdog athlete did his Rocky-like training montage complete with inspiring workout scenes and triumphant dancing on the steps of downtown Philly and… Oh, sorry. See? The metaphors and similes are bouncing around the Nine Norse Realms in my head like a pinball. I don’t know how Thor keeps track of it all.

In all seriousness, Thor: the Dark World really turned things around after the movie got past its somewhat tedious expositions. It was as if the writers had fallen asleep while they were working on the first act of the script, and then Thor showed up and slammed his hammer on their table and spilled their coffee everywhere. With startled faces, they looked around and said, “Oh, wait, we’re writing the screenplay for a Marvel movie. I forgot, this is supposed to be awesome! Let’s kick it up a notch, boys.”

Once things got going, it was a superb adventure and, most surprisingly, it was hilarious.

All in all, the sequel managed to be darker, creepier, more depressing, and yet funnier and more exciting than the first film. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a movie do that before. I actually liked some parts of it, especially the ending, better than The Avengers (and, by the way, has anyone else besides me noticed that The Avengers completely ripped off the ending of Transformers 3?)

And I’m not even going to try to provide a teaser description of the wildly complicated plot. It’s almost impossible to describe it without hinting at spoilers. Marvel fans would not forgive me for that. It’s enough to know that the second film picks up where the first one left off, with Thor trying to resolve loose ends back home (and on Earth) that he could not attend to thanks to the slight interruption of having to save Earth in The Avengers.

Alan Taylor, known for his work in the dark Game of Thrones television series, sits in the director’s chair for this Thor sequel, displacing Kenneth Branagh, who added his virtuosic Shakespearean genius to the first film. Alan Taylor, however, did a fine job, despite the movie’s flat beginning. The same screenwriters who penned Captain America: the First Avenger and the first two Chronicles of Narnia films handle script-writing duties.

All of the same cast-members return for this second outing, with the addition of newcomers Christopher Eccleston (Elizabeth) and Zachary Levi (Chuck) who did very well in their roles.

From a Christian perspective, the film had very little objectionable content in the form of sexuality or language—just one prominent s-word and no sexual scenes of any kind. The furthest anyone goes is kissing. In these respects, the film was refreshingly old-fashioned.

However, any guys who are insecure about their upper body strength might want to steer clear of this film because it includes the obligatory close-up shot of Thor shirtless with his impossibly bulging muscles that probably burn calories even when he’s not moving. Why do I feel a sudden urge to hit the gym? On the opposite end of the super-in-shape-and-ripped spectrum, the film also features Professor Selvig running around naked with his body blurred out and censored so that no discernible nudity is seen—although there are an excessive number of scenes of the older, slightly crazy professor in his underwear, for comedic purposes. (Sure, it was funny the first time, guys, but enough is enough!)

Some Christians might object to the Norse mythology. This, in my opinion, would be a misunderstanding of the film’s objectives. It is not purporting that Norse myth is actually a true, valid worldview. It is a fantasy film, pure and simple. Objecting to its use of Norse mythology would be like objecting to Lord of the Ring’s inclusion of elves and hobbits.

The film earns its PG-13 rating with its fantasy violence and the sheer wow-that-dude-is-really-freaky-looking vibe. The villains in this film are seriously creepy—Satanic almost—and the violence they inflict, though not R-rated in its goriness, is still frightening. Impressionable, sensitive younger teenagers might want to think twice about this movie and definitely no kids should see it. Children would most likely get nightmares from these villains. I might even get nightmares from them.

However, for us adults, it’s a two-edged sword. The scariness is partly what makes the movie work. It’s because the villains are so convincing and creepy that you’re on the edge of your seat as the movie picks up speed; you desperately want to see the bad guys defeated. It was an exciting, unpredictable ride. The packed theater was cheering and clapping for the good guys—even I found myself clapping with excitement; but, like the wily schemes of Loki, the movie never lets you quite pin it down. Although it had a rough start, by the end I was walking out of the theater thinking, “Wow, that was incredible.”

[Oh, and make sure you stay until the very end of the credits, not just for the first little surprise after they list the main cast members.]

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