Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.
Director: Alan Taylor
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston, Jamie Alexander, Zachary Levi, Ray Stevenson, Idris Elba, Rene Russo, Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgard
And so it begins. What has to be the largest, most successful, and broadest franchise in movie history, the Marvel Universe, is entering it’s Avengers 2.0 stage. While technically starting earlier this year with Iron Man 3, the Iron Man franchise was already established before The Avengers was on the scene, and with “Thor 2”, we enter the true second stage, which will also contain Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Thor: The Dark World takes place after The Avengers’ battle with Loki in New York. Loki, reprised by the show-stealing Tom Hiddleston, finds himself in the Asgard prison, and Thor [Hemsworth] has just finished bringing peace to the nine realms, where Odin [Hopkins] aims to make him king. On Earth, where Jane Foster [Portman] continues to search for signs of Thor, a strange scientific anomaly occurs, a sort of portal into other worlds. It is here that Jane is drawn into another of these worlds where the ether, the most powerful energy in the universe and weapon of the Dark Elves, binds itself with Jane’s body. Thor brings her to Asgard to try and heal her, but Malekith [Eccleston], the leader of the Dark Elves, awakened from his slumber by the ether’s presence, comes to Asgard to take back his ancient weapon, destroying much of Asgard and killing Frigga [Russo], Thor’s mothers, in the process. In order to prevent another attack, Thor plans to take Jane directly to Malekith, where he plans to destroy both Malekith and the ether, and there is only one person who can get him there: Loki.
From the very first scene[s], I was blown away by the visual effects of this film. Although it did have the unfair advantage of me seeing it in IMAX 3D, which I don’t see most movies in, I could tell this movie was just particularly well done in this department. I think it is easily the best looking Marvel film to date, and to no surprise, as every film should out-perform its predecessor in this regard.
While the cast list in Thor is packed with depth and talent, but the film doesn’t really allow for any great acting, which was really disappointing in the case of our villain, played by Christopher Eccleston, who I just love, and thought would play a perfect Marvel villain. He was good, but the immense amount of make-up and his made-up foreign language was very restricting. But, he still looked totally bad-ass. Hiddleston managed to lead the pack again, just as the first film, as he has a real character with depth and creative freedom. He has really made the character of Loki his.
The biggest downfall of the film comes from the story writing, and it’s heavily science-based background and finale. The fate of the entire universe depends on some strange teleporting anomaly that is controlled by a device Jane Foster’s partner made in his post-Avengers stupor [Skarsgard’s Erik Selvig]. It is almost completely baseless and follows no rules, and this is not the only baseless theory that drives important aspects of the film. Also, while surpassing all of the other Marvel films in the comedy department, peppering in laughs all over the place, the are sometimes ill-placed, coming seconds after major character deaths or universe ending revelations. It is a bitter-sweet writing job.
3/4 – Although it has its writing faults, Thor: The Dark World is a beautiful film with a ridiculous cast that finds strengths in lore, laughter, and pure comic-book fun.