Game of Space Thrones
Quite a few years ago I went along to a presentation by Disney in the BFI IMAX. It was pretty much a business affair dealing with the release schedule for the forthcoming year and a year or two beyond. It was simply extraordinary. Working in publishing for many years, I’d been fortunate to work with the House of Mouse (and PIXAR) quite a bit. But this was the first time I’d seen behind the castle walls and into the scientists lab.
Firstly I couldn’t believe how many companies the own (seemed like every company in the world with all the logos flashing up), but secondly, they are absolute genius at what they do and how to market, schedule and maintain the life-span of it.
That’s not to say flops never happen, but every received graze is plastered over with a platinum plaster.
Disney own Marvel Studios, and there probably couldn’t be a better combination of talent, ability and knowledge to pull off what is going to maybe be the biggest franchise, ever.
Now sporting the Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet crown of directing from the original Thor (2011), we have Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones/The Sopranos) guiding the demigods, cohorts and mortals through the ever increasing galaxy of the Marvelverse in Thor: The Dark World (2013). And he does a really cracking job, if the crown doesn’t really fit the same way, and slips a few times. I’ve no doubt however it will fit very well in the near future (though he is down to direct the next Terminator movie, so the odds may be stacked against him).
It’s been a few years since our last trip down the Bifröst bridge to the local coffee shop for pre smashing giant robot pancakes, and things are getting a bit weird in the Universe, and that’s not just the extremely long distant non-relationship between Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). A once in a rather very long time moment is about to happen, where the Nine Realms are set to align, with that, the potential for some rather bad folk in the guise of Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) and his not so merry bunch of Dark Elves to unleash ultimate well nasty revenge. Everyone knows the phrase ‘don’t sleep on an argument’, well these guys have been sleeping on it for thousands of years, no amount of counselling is gonna help these folk. Armageddon is coming, and he’s wearing a nice little Nosferatu number.
So the journey to save the Universe (how much bigger can threats get?) commences. It belts along at a hammer throwing speed too. That is a slight problem though, as it clocks in at 112mins, it’s not the longest movie in the world, which isn’t bad. But at a recent press conference there was mention of at least an extra 10mins that will be added back in on the bluray. A large part of that is back story to Malekith’s reasoning to his death lust, which is massively unfortunate. I’m a huge Eccleston fan, but he doesn’t have room in this edit to flesh out what a naughty alien being he is. The unnerving essence of just how truly messed up/malevolent he is, sadly only seen in all too brief moments.
Picking up the other end of the nasty stick is Loki (Tom Hiddleston) returning on an extended trip of what was originally planned for his character in this chapter. And he really proves his worth. Hiddleston is sublime. He owns EVERY scene he’s in, and is an absolute joy to behold, the movie would be a much poorer experience if he wasn’t allowed out of the Asgard gaol. The sooner he gets his own intergalactic space villain chat show (Loki Here?), the better.
Everyone is in great form, it’s clearly a team who really like working with each other, and it shows on screen. It is a really funny movie, very willing to recognise the lunacy before us, and embrace it, whilst continually supporting the entire realm of Marvel characters, certainly those contained in the Avengers canon. That constant humour is a very solid joyous counter to the also expanding DC movie world, is awesome, if a tad morose. Incidently, the humour was also mentioned at the press conference, where they said the humour of The Avengers movie influenced the direction of Thor. It all looks stunning too. The destruction of Greenwich never looked so good.
Slipping into what in years to come will be a huge number of Avenger adventures, Thor: The Dark World holds it’s own. Maintaining another Marvel tradition, do stick around for a pre-end title OMG! sequence to get an idea of another avenue the Marvel galaxy trip is heading, and yet again after the credits (where I think every person on the planet is named) for another final sign off laugh.