Marvel, the Comic Book and movie enterprise has churned out quite the body of work in the last decade. With films and graphic novels ranging from Spiderman to The Avengers, the world has become pretty familiar with their work. Now, as we enter Phase 2 of Marvel’s collection, we’re seeing sequels to all our favorite Avengers, with the exception of The Hulk (which is the one we need). With a T.V. show and Iron Man 3 already in the books, it’s time we revisit the God of Thunder and see what he’s up to.
It’s been two years since the Avenger’s defeated Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and saved the world from invasion. After going their separate ways, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) returned to Asgard to help stop the fighting between the Nine Realms that Asgard watches over. We learn about a time of darkness, before the world came to be, when Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) and his army of Dark Elves wanted to consume the universe in darkness. To aid their fight, they sought out the Aether, a magic fluid that contained the power to destroy worlds. Fortunately, Bor (h), the father of Odin (Anthony Hopkins), defeated Malekith and banished the Aether into another realm, never to be seen again. That is, until Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) stumbles upon it due to an interesting coincidence.
With the aligning of the world’s approaching, Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) has noticed anomalies that only Darcy (Kat Dennings) and Jane would believe. As Thor learns about Jane’s disappearance from Heimdall (Idris Elba), he returns to Earth to find her. Upon bringing Jane back to Asgard, Malekith and his remaining army awaken, aware of the Aether’s presence in Asgard. From there, the army seeks out to destroy Asgard and reclaim the Aether, but Thor reluctantly teams up with Loki and his usual crew of Sif (Jamie Alexander), Fandral (Zachary Levi), Volstagg (Ray Stevenson), to make it back to Earth with Jane. When the war comes to them, it’s up to the scientific minds of Jane and Selvig, and the power of Thor to stop the seemingly inevitable destruction of the universe as they know it.
Thor was a film that didn’t sit too well with me. It was mediocre, compared to the other films in Phase 1. The introduction of Thor and his powers was fine and his banishment made some sense. The rest of the film is spent familiarizing him with Earth and connecting him to The Avengers. As for this film, a nice backstory on the Dark Elves is provided and Thor has to save the day again. Just as he did in the first film, Thor worries about Jane and that plays a larger role in the film than it should. Not too much surprises in Thor: The Dark World, but it’s not the worst movie in Marvel’s collection (The Hulk, Iron Man 2, Spiderman 3).
Let’s start with the one resounding fact that Thor, The Avengers, and Thor: The Dark World has illustrated; Loki is the best villain that Marvel has ever had. In three movies, he’s become everyone’s favorite Marvel asset and the driving force that keeps the Thor films enjoyable. Tom Hiddleston, a British thespian, has found his home in the Trickster God. Be it his wit, his charm, or his devious methods, Loki is sure to grab your attention and take you to another part of the movies. With Thor: The Dark World, Loki is easily the best part of the film, despite the little screen time that he’s given. Leaving the theater, the most positive thing I heard was “Loki IS the reason that this film is bearable.”
As far as everyone else goes, the acting is fine. Chris Hemsworth does a great job with Thor’s adjusting to Earthly customs and his struggle with retaining the peace in the Nine Realms. Anthony Hopkins gets even angrier and yells a lot, so not too much changed there. Kat Dennings still annoys the hell out of me and I really believe that had she not been in the film, I would have liked it more. Stellan Skarsgard and Idris Elba do well with their few lines of dialog, but with such interesting characters, I wish that they could have been explored a bit more. When it comes to Natalie Portman, I’m somewhat conflicted. While I think that she’s a fine actress (Black Swan proves so), I don’t think that she and Thor fit together. Their relationship seems uncomfortable and she’s almost used as a prop, in terms of her involvement with saving the universe. She got obnoxious before the middle of this film and I only wish that Thor would have chosen Lady Sif to date.
Learning about the mythology and history behind Asgard was fun for a few minutes, but then it becomes tedious after the facts seem to drag on. Rather than showing us more of the Dark Elves and the battles that Asgardians fought in, we’re mainly told what happened and we’re expected to take the information as fact. When we are shown battle sequences, they’re grandiose in scale, but lack intelligence. Asgardian soldiers, who live in such an advanced world that you can transport to any other world, use laser swords during battle. That would be fine, if not for the fact that these newly awakened Dark Elves are using powerful laser rifles from eons ago. Add on the fact that the climactic battles are over in less than a minute, and you’ve got a frustrating movie with a lackluster plot. Nothing bugs me more than a script that writes its own solution, right after presenting the problem.
Thor: The Dark World finds itself right in the middle of Marvel’s discography. It’s certainly not their best film, but it’s also not their worst. I would even say that, if not for Loki and the expansion of The Avengers storyline, Thor: The Dark World is not as good as the first Thor. The film tells you that the events you see take place two years after The Avengers and they leave it at that. I understand that Thor was busy with the Nine Realms, but I’m sure that he would be keeping taps on Iron Man, who was presumed dead at one point. The rules behind travel in the film don’t make sense and most of the film is spent explaining an event that doesn’t make complete sense. As I’ve said before and will say again, Loki saves this movie and justifies your watching it. Let’s just hope that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is better than this…
Thor: The Dark World Trailer