1. Arts & Entertainment

Review: 'Thor:' How to upstage a superhero

Tom Hiddleston, left, and Chris Hemsworth star in the pretentiously named Thor: The Dark World.
Tom Hiddleston, left, and Chris Hemsworth star in the pretentiously named Thor: The Dark World.
Published Feb. 12, 2014

Poor Thor. Dude can't even hold center stage in his own movie. He's the Asgardian god of stolen thunder, upstaged at each ab turn by Loki, malarkey and Odin's eyepatch. Chris Hemsworth could carry Thor: The Dark World on his lats and deltoids, just a demi-hunk and his trusty cosmic hammer, but the script keeps handing it off. • How's a strapping Marvel superhero supposed to feel when a cameo from another Avenger with a movie coming out gets more applause? Or when one of his movie's obligatory Easter eggs during the end credits teases another franchise entirely? I'll tell you how he feels: like he can't wait for those other movies, either.

Honestly, I can't speak for Thor. I know he's a principled superhero, not the kind to demand his name plus a colon and Tolkien-ish subtitle on his sequel when a simple "2" would do. I'm sure he's concerned about securing the Thor brand, so his movie franchise doesn't wind up like the Hulk's. In a pressure cooker it's easy to make bad decisions. Ask the Fantastic Four.

First thing, Thor should avoid plots hinging upon any weapon like the Aether here, so powerful that it can't be destroyed. How do you know when you've won? The answer is: You don't, you just make another movie. But if you keep doing that, and they proceed as sluggishly as this one, folks will eventually notice. Start something and finish it. Otherwise we have to hear Anthony Hopkins' Odin recapping everything, and that eyepatch is distracting.

Next, spend more time on Earth. Not with Natalie Portman, though. She's too chic for the science geek she's playing and immune to the ridicule her character invites. You should chat up her intern, Darcy (Kat Dennings), unless you're not into the New Girl type. Either way, Earth is where you're out of your element, and that's more fun, no matter how much fanboyz griped that 2011's Thor didn't spend enough time on Asgard.

So, they got their wish in the sequel. The Dark World is directed by Alan Taylor, whose credits include HBO's Game of Thrones, which this movie resembles in every respect except anything making people tune into Game of Thrones.

Above all — and I can't stress this too much, Thor — MORE LOKI! You have a gold mine in each sneer and sarcastic jab from Tom Hiddleston's pie hole, which is infinitely preferred to masked, monolithic elves and wild hogs walking upright. Playing second banana to such a deliciously rotten apple isn't a bad idea.

Steve Persall can be reached at or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall on Twitter.


  1.  [Times (1996)]
    Here’s why we chose to highlight iconic spots, and how we came up with the list.
  2. Patron vie for beads while attending in the 103nd Gasparilla Invasion and Parade of the Pirates presented by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla on Saturday, January 25, 2020, in downtown Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes]
    Hundreds of thousands flock to Tampa each year for the pirate invasion, but other events across the country cast doubt on the ranking.
  3. Sammy Hagar performs at his 70th birthday party, dubbed Sammy Hagar's Rock-n-Roll Birthday Party, in 2017 in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. [Jill Trunnell]
    Catch up on today’s Tampa Bay concert announcements.
  4. An entree of Orange Plum Duck made with crispy duck on a bed of Chinese broccoli, bell peppers, and oranges. [SCOTT KEELER  |  TAMPA BAY TIMES]
    Now under new ownership, the St. Petersburg Thai restaurant serves up classics plus gems for more adventurous eaters. | Restaurant review
  5. The popular Red Boyz Dancers and Drummers return to the Brooksville Native American Festival this weekend at Florida Classic Park. [Courtesy of Paul DeLuna]
    Things to do in Pasco and Hernando counties
  6. Disturbed will perform at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on July 23. [TRAVIS SHINN  |  Warner Records]
    The nu-grunge giants are hitting the road to commemorate the 20th anniversary Disturbed’s debut album.
  7. Yesterday• Arts & Entertainment
    Broadway, film and TV star Bernadette Peters will perform with the Florida Orchestra at their annual fundraising gala on Feb. 1 at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. [Andrew Eccles]
    Broadway’s Bernadette Peters headlines gala, Monster Jam returns and Lyle Lovett has a two-night stay in Clearwater.
  8. Billie Eilish poses in the press room with the awards for best album and best pop vocal album for "We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?", best song and record for "Bad Guy" and best new artist at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on Sunday in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello) [CHRIS PIZZELLO  |  Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP]
    She is the first artist to sweep all four of the Grammy’s top awards since Christopher Cross in 1981.
  9. Kris Kristofferson performs at the Bilheimer Capitol Theatre in Clearwater on Jan. 26. [JAY CRIDLIN  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The 83-year-old songwriting legend brought his songbook to life one more time at the Bilheimer Capitol Theatre. | Concert review
  10. The techniques are as varied as the costumes when Gasparilla parade-goers beckon for beads from the floats. [MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times]
    We were warned. Now the pirates are here. Stay with all day for the latest reports.