Thor: The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World photo starrating-3stars.jpgLet’s see if I can simplify this for the uninitiated. There’s this thing called the Aether see, and it’s a power stone that can be used as a weapon. Actually it’s one of 6 stones in the Infinity Gauntlet. Ah but I’m getting ahead of myself here. The main baddie is Malekith (unrecognizable Christopher Eccleston), ruler of the Dark Elves, who wants to plunge the world into eternal darkness because well that‘s what villains do. He’s out for revenge or something. Anyway, Thor’s earth girlfriend, Jane, is inadvertently infected by the Aether following her teleportation to another realm. Malekith is somehow aware of this occurrence and now he‘s pursuing her. Side note: Thor is still in love with Jane and vice versa. Thor’s evil brother is currently in prison on Asgard for the war crimes he committed on Earth in Thor. However, Loki happens to knows of a secret portal to Malekith’s world so Thor must appeal to him for help.

The first half of Thor: The Dark World is needlessly complicated. You can probably tell from my encapsulation of just a mere fraction of the narrative. Additionally, it has more roles than a Shakespearean play. With names like Malekith, Algrim and Frigga, a playbill would’ve been helpful. Everyone finally restores peace to the 9 realms. On one, Vanaheim, there’s Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and this group called the Warriors Three – Fandral (Zachary Levi), Volstagg (Ray Stevenson), and Hogun (Tadanobu Asano). The quartet of combatants reminded me of a band of vampires you might find in the Twilight franchise.

The lifeless introductory crawl of Thor: The Dark World is overly concerned with set up and exposition. It’s rather boring. Luckily, about halfway through things get moving. In fact I can specifically pinpoint the moment at which the tale is transformed. It occurs the second they free Loki from his prison. Thor and Loki are walking together and Loki starts shapeshifting both of them into various disguises as different people. It’s an amusing display and where the picture finally finds its humor. I still like Chris Hemsworth. He has a presence (physique, acting, smile) that makes him ideally suited for the Norse god. Yet Tom Hiddleston is so engaging that Thor is essentially reduced to a supporting actor in his own film. I dare say this is the Loki show.

Thor: The Dark World is saved by Tom Hiddleston. In a production with an astounding number of characters vying for attention, he stands out head and shoulders above the rest. I’ll credit the script as well which makes his “villain” the juiciest part. While he’s kept locked up in prison during the problematic first half, the story looks to be a dud. The overreliance on computer graphics were accomplished by a mind-blowing seven (7) VFX studios. At times the special effects threaten to asphyxiate the proceedings. Once Loki is released, the plot eventually regains its footing. It’s the human element that makes these superhero movies work. His performance and a more lighthearted touch in the second half elevate this fantasy into fun entertainment. This is a superhero movie after all, not some dour historical epic. Thanks to Hiddleston’s solid portrayal, the action ultimately becomes a rousing good time.

Note: By now, Marvel should have you conditioned to remain in your seat until the very end of one of their productions, but just in case you haven‘t been properly trained: There is the traditional ending, a mid-credits scene and then a post sequence after the final credits. Stay for all of them, although one vignette won’t make any make sense to filmgoers unfamiliar with next summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

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26 Responses to “Thor: The Dark World”

  1. Very good review, as always. I haven’t made it to this one yet, but I look forward to finding out if I share your opinions. 😉

  2. Good review Mark. It doesn’t work as well as the first did, but being a direct sequel to the Avengers, I must say, it works pretty damn well.

  3. Good review I had similar feeling toward the movie as well. Give Loki his own movie.

  4. Not as good as the first Thor. I felt what did it in was the fact that they didn’t dare to make this a full-on heist film.

  5. There are 3 prison breaks (the aether, Jane, Loki)
    2 long cons (Malekith and the either, Loki and the throne of Asgard)
    2 heist sequences (Malekith’s and then Jane’s breakout)

    • You know I didn’t think of the story in those terms, but that commitment would’ve given it a distinct focus so yeah, I like this re-envisioned as a full fledged heist film.

  6. Agree about this being The Loki Show, just like the first Thor and also Avengers, to some degree. Love the character and Hiddleston in the part. This movie was entertaining but found it very bland. Still better than the first, though.

  7. Off to see this right this very moment, I look forward to Loki stealing the show! 🙂

  8. Pretty much in agreement about this one Mark. LOVE Loki here, there needs to be a Loki film at some point, I’d SO watch that! As for the post-credit, I wish Marvel would actually notify us at the end of the film. I missed the second one, but I’m sure it’ll pop up in Youtube eventually.

  9. Nice review. 🙂 I really enjoyed this one!

  10. Aye, we rarely see eye to eye when it comes to superhero movies, but I still enjoy your reviews all the same mi amigo. I loved this one, and consider it one of my personal favorites now among the other Marvel films. Certainly much MUCH better than the first Thor overall, though I enjoyed that movie despite it being one of the weakest Phase 1 Marvel films.

    If you’d like to see my review (not video this time)… http://papakennmedia.com/2013/11/thor-the-dark-world-movie-review/

    Talk to you soon and/or hear you soon on Twitter/MGCTv! 🙂

    • I would consider Thor a case where we agree as we both gave this a recommendation.

      When we do disagree I think it’s a case where you enjoyed it and I didn’t. Like any genre, there’s good and bad films, so to me superhero films are no different. Yes it’s a genre now like comedies or drama. lol

  11. I really enjoyed the second half as well. Not being a fanboy, I didn’t need all the detailed explanations in the 1 st half. When Loki gets released the movie got real good. Love the comedy aspect to it.

  12. The whole opening was completely uninteresting with its lazy narration and explanation of what we knew would be coming: some bad guy wants a way to take over/destroy the universe with some all-powerful force, and the good guys have to stop him. Stylistically I felt like this Thor was more of a combination of Game of Thrones-light and the effects of a Star Wars prequel, more so than a Shakespearean drama like the first one. And I don’t mean those descriptions as compliments. This movie isn’t nearly as funny as it thinks it is, except when Tom Hiddleston is causing trouble as Loki. He does hilarious things like transforming himself into one of the Avengers (great cameo) and he delivers juicy lines like “Trust my rage,” with zeal. I thought it was such a throwaway of Natalie Portman to have her take on the Aether where she must be protected instead of giving her a more active role. The love story was supposed to seem important, but it really fell flat for me. I didn’t really care that they ended up together at the end. Not the worst superhero movie, although it wasn’t my favorite either. At least we got to see Chris O’Dowd, who I really enjoy.

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