Re: Comparing the movies Thor and Man of Steel
I found Thor: The Dark World to be a much superior film, tho it did have some faults. Like MOS, one of my minor criticisms can be extended to humor. While I love the character of Darcy, I felt the forced romance with intern and some of the one-liners that did not work, undercut some of the dramatic tension in the final showdown in Greenwich.
Conversely, Man of Steel could have benefitted by having a sense of humor (I am excluding the horrible one liner at the end, because I've posted pages worth of criticism about how it ruined the ending.) What is present is a dark, humorless film. The gray color correction really reinforces how damn bleak the film is. For a film that marketed itself around the idea of hope, there was ironically none to be found. The film is a black hole that takes away all of one's joy.
In terms of the casting, I felt both films evened out. Outside of the hero lead, the standout casting decision in MOS was Amy Adams, which was a terrific decision. At times in Thor: TDW, Portman's performance felt a little distant. Having watched Thor with friends the day before seeing the film, I noticed the character of Jane Foster did not have the same energy she had in Thor. I do not know if it was from the behind the scenes drama (or my projecting my knowledge of onto the film,) or the way the character was written or edited. It was bad, by any means, but did not have a consistent vitality. In this front, I would hand the victory to Adams who was a source of a light in a depressing film.
In terms of design, both films are tied. I enjoyed the H.R. Giger influence on Malekiths' tech, and the unique style of the Kryptonian equipment (esp. the Command Key.) The only item I did not like from MOS was the octopus sentry that was deployed around the one generator; it felt somewhat out of place. Now, it was not detrimental to the film's design, but was an interesting screenwriting choice. Both films are tied on this front.
In terms of fight choreography, both films mirror a lot of imagery from anime. Thor's fighting was informed by Dragonball Z and the evolution into Kurse synthesizes both the Saiyan transformation and Elemental Stone transformation in Pokemon (as a life long fan of the style, I was tickled.) The handling of the Kryptonian armors in the film again made me recall DBZ. Calling the victory on this front is somewhat difficult: the choreography is terrific in both fronts. My only complaint lies with the fighting in populated spaces: both films do have final acts set in cities (to my dismay.) Fortunately, The Dark World limited the destruction to a campus and the damage to mostly shattered windows and holes in walls. There could have been a building that collapsed, but, I do not recall one. MOS, on the other hand, went overboard with it, unfortunately. Part of me wishes they had contained the fight to Smallville, as I loved the evocation of the Western tradition: Supes vs. Zod on his men on Main Street. If they had restricted the destruction in MOS, it would been tied with TDW.
[This is the first half of my breakdown of the films. Writing these took longer than I anticipated, and I have to go grab some breakfast.]
"Johnny Storm's a good-hearted kid, sure, but he has the attention span of a toaster, and he leads with his face; in Johnny's undisciplined mind, there's only a single synapse between thinking and doing. The Avengers' battle cry is "Avengers Assemble"; the Fantastic Four's is "Johnny, WAIT!"----Mark Waid