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A look back at the early years -8/19/2014, 9:01 AM

Parenting adolescents through stages of life crucial -8/18/2014, 10:16 AM

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Public record, Aug. 4, 2014 -8/4/2014, 7:56 AM

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Public record (July 29, 2014) -7/29/2014, 8:15 AM

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Public record, April 15, 2014 -4/15/2014, 4:39 PM

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SPOTLIGHT
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'Thor: The Dark World' isn't as bright as the original

Published on -11/12/2013, 10:16 AM

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The devil is in the details -- or perhaps more accurately, identity is in the details. So often in cinema, those details are not the product of the story at hand or the actors portraying it. The world itself is brought to life under the leadership and vision of the director and the work of hundreds of craftsmen ranging from visual effects to sound design.

I enjoyed "Thor: The Dark World." However, I did struggle a little with the absence or alteration of a few key details that defined the first "Thor" film.

Granted, that is a minor consideration from a biased source. As a film reviewer, I find I am far more sensitive to small changes than a typical audience member might be. That said, when small changes make Thor not feel like Thor -- I think it's worth mentioning.

The first third or so of "The Dark World" takes a little while to get cooking. Coupled with a directorial change, as well as changes in key crew positions, it didn't have the impact or weight I was expecting. Hammer swings don't land with the same force, and the "fish out of water" jokes aren't quite as funny.

Director Alan Taylor, who has directed some of my favorite episodes of HBO's "Game of Thrones," gets the serious dialogue moments right, but struggles to follow Joss Whedon's near flawless "The Avengers" when it comes to the action and humor.

The latter part of the film does an excellent job at compensating for its slow beginning. Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston reprise their roles as Thor and Loki to great effect. Both actors are very well suited for their parts but, more importantly, also have a fantastic chemistry that serves as the heart of the story and binds the weaker elements together.

All in all, "Thor: The Dark World" was a fun bit of entertainment. Marvel really seems to have the origin story bit nailed down, but hasn't quite dialed in to the same formula for stand-alone sequels.

4 of 6 stars

James Gerstner works at Fort Hays State University Foundation. james.gerstner@gmail.com

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