Marvel continues to crank out movie after movie, and while some of their films are certainly better than others, on the whole the studio just can do no wrong. Here , with Thor: The Dark World we see our Asgardian hero Thor and company take on a new threat following the events of The Avengers. How does this go around shape up to its predecessor and the rest of the Marvel Universe?
Following the events of The Avengers that took place in New York, Thor is managing to bring peace to the 9 realms and Odin has locked Loki away in the dungeons. However, when a new and ancient threat from Asgar’s past resurfaces, Thor is led back to Earth to reunite with Jane Foster and help free her from an unstoppable dark force which threatens to destroy the universe as we know it and send it into complete darkness.
So the first Thor film was good, as most Marvel films are. It was a tough one to predict, since it spent far more time outside of our universe than most of it’s peers, and introducing the ‘alien’ or ‘god’ aspect of a comic book universe hasn’t always worked for films (see Green Lantern). However with Thor, it did. It continued to do so in The Avengers.
This time around, Thor takes on a story of a much bigger scale and in general this works. The plot itself involves an ancient threat, and is certainly not all that original but it opens up a little bit of Asgard history. This is pretty interesting stuff, but unfortunately it isn’t all that exciting. Then throw in a lot of pretty below average scenes involving our human scientists and friends, and it leads to a fairly dull opening 20-30 minutes or so.
Don’t fret too much though, and the film certainly ramps up once the threat really kicks in. The first really big battle scene is really, really well done and of course the special effects and Real 3D are dazzling. One of my main complaints in the first film was the cartoonish villains, and this isn’t nearly as much of a problem here, with the Dark Elves being nearly human looking. So in terms of action, and excitement Thor: The Dark World certainly does not disappoint.
The acting is solid from all the main stars, and Chris Hemsworth was always perfectly cast for this role. Anthony Hopkins and Rene Russo are great as his parents and Natalie Portman is serviceable in her returning role. Then add the smoking hot, and I mean ‘Thor, you might want to rethink which chick you want to stick with’ type of smoking hot Jaimie Alexander alongside the ever steady Idris Elba and you’ve got a winning group.
However, I have to say that I am not a big Kat Denning fan, and I found her character a bit annoying, and the strange and rather random craziness of Stellan Skarsgård equally out of place. Nothing too damaging, but I was a little confused by it, and it seemed like a poor and lazy attempt at providing a quick option for inserting humorous moments.
On the subject of humorous moments, another slight nag was that during some fantastic battles and action sequences, the film springs a moment of humor on you. This is fine, as it is a staple of most Marvel films particularly the Iron Man franchise. However, in order to pull this off they have to be done perfectly and in the right moments. In Thor: The Dark World however, they don’talways get the formula quite right, and we end up feeling interrupted, which makes the key life or death sequences seem a little less important and removes the tension too much. That being said, on some occasions they absolutely nail it, such as a hilarious scene on the subway. So it’s a mixed bag.
The last thing I’ll touch on is the villains, and our head bad guy here is the Dark Elf Malaketh, played really well by Christopher Eccleston, who just looks really evil in general. There isn’t quite enough character development for him, but he is so evil that it isn’t really required. Plus, there is already a very well developed baddie for us to focus on and quite frankly the show stealer in the film is Tom Hiddleston as Loki. We’ve seen plenty of him in the past, but he is on rare form here, providing much of the best humor and also some fantastic twists and turns.
All in all, Thor: The Dark World is certainly not Marvel’s best film to date, but it is still damn good and at least as good as its predecessor. Marvel continues to get it right, and if they stick to the formula they’re sure to sell tickets. However, my hope is that maybe they might just step outside the box once or twice in the next few films. Do that, and clean up a few little bits and pieces and they’ll keep raking in the big bucks. Definitely go check out The Dark World and let it satisfy your super hero appetite while we await Age of Ultron!