I’ve decided to go back and watch a bunch of movies based on comic books. No real reason, just something I thought would be fun. This time I watched two: the 2013 movie Thor: The Dark World, and 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
IMDb Rating: 7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes critics: 66%
Rotten Tomatoes audience: 78%
My Rating: 6/10
I may be in the minority, but I preferred the first Thor movie to the sequel. The first movie was carried by the relationship between the brothers, Thor and Loki, and their father, Odin. It’s humor was the ‘fish out of water’ type that came from Thor being exiled to Earth. In this movie, however, the brotherhood between Thor and Loki wasn’t quite there, so the primary relationship was between Thor and Jane Foster, but the actors, Hemsworth and Portman, just didn’t have any on screen chemistry.
By far the best characters in the movie are Loki and Darcy. Tom Hiddleston is again great as Loki, and writing him as a hero rather than a villain, especially so soon after the events of The Avengers, helps give the character a little more depth. Darcy, played by Kat Dennings, is the main source of humor in the movie. She dominates many of her scenes, especially over Portman’s flat performance. (I especially liked the small jokes, like how she can’t pronounce Mjolnir, so she calls the hammer ‘meow-meow.’)
The visual effects in the movie are pretty good. I didn’t think they had quite the same impact as the first movie, and the portal bubbles were a bit overused, but there was nothing egregious. Likewise, the music was fine, but wasn’t too memorable.
It’s a good movie, but I’d probably rank it fairly low in the MCU. I also get the sense that this movie is more of a prequel for the Infinity War storyline than a stand-alone film. Once the story is complete, The Dark World may be seen as more important than it is right now.
IMDb Rating: 7.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes critics: 89%
Rotten Tomatoes audience: 92%
My Rating: 8/10
Unlike the movie above, the second Captain America movie is far better than its predecessor. The first Captain America movie was a period piece and a set-up for The Avengers. It made sense to do it that way, as it was an origin story, but it ruined a lot of the suspense for me. This second movie was more of a political/spy thriller, and the events weren’t just surprising, but have an impact on the entire cinematic universe. I started watching the TV series Marvel Agents of SHIELD not long before watching this film, and the way the two tie together has been fun.
One thing that this movie did so well, that many of the other sequel movies haven’t done, is bring in other Avengers. Captain America works alongside Black Widow, and it makes sense that they do. Bringing in other characters like Nick Fury and Sam Wilson also makes a lot of sense. Iron Man 2 tried to do this a little bit by introducing Romanoff, but didn’t execute the idea nearly as well as this movie did.
There are some flaws in the movie. The big one is that there are a few places where the writing is obviously breaking the narrative to give the audience information. Mainly it’s when the senator says ‘Hail HYDRA’ when surrounded by a fairly large group of people, and when the computerized Zola gives Captain America a lot of information for no real reason. Other than that, the story is great, if a little formulaic, and it’s easily one of the better plots in the MCU.