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. Chris Hemsworth returns as the great god, still carrying a torch, as well as that hammer, for his Earthling love: astrophysicist hottie Jane Foster, gamely played by Natalie Portman. But now he faces a new enemy, the apocalyptically boring Malekith, leader of the Dark Elves, played by Christopher Eccleston and hell-bent on unleashing a fog of dullness on the universe. Malekith stands around glowering with pale-faced, pointy-eared resentment, like a mature student who has been thrown out of a Goth pub for smoking.
Catastrophically, this development downgrades the status of this franchise’s star performer: Thor’s wicked brother Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston. Loki is (once again) languishing in Lecteresque imprisonment and Hiddleston brings to it all the usual silky-voiced malice, wit and fun, like James Mason’s wicked great-nephew. He’s given a bit to do when Thor realises he must make common cause with this duplicitous sibling to defeat Malekith. But his sidelining is a big disappointment. Even Hiddleston can’t rescue this Norse epic of tedium.
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