Review: Thor The Dark World
I have asked myself quite a few times now after seeing this movie, say in twenty years, will Marvel still be pumping these movies out for their cinematic universe? And if so, I know I will still be lining up to watch them. Are they perfect movies? No, they are not but they are incredibly entertaining and will consistently make outrageous amounts of money. Although, I will say the campiness of the films is beginning to get a little tiresome but it fits with the overall tone. I would prefer them to reign it in a little bit though. All that aside, something really has to be said for the ability that Marvel has for to cast great people in their lead roles. Chris Hemsworth for all intensive purposes is Thor. He embodies everything that the character is, which helps us as viewers really relate to such a strange other worldly character. if they continue to cast like this, then yes, I truly believe that Marvel can have continued success. As for this film, yet again it rode the back of Hemsworth and of course the tremendous performance of Tom Hiddleston as Loki. The two of them are terrific, but the downfall of the movie lies more in the lack of a compelling villain.
The plot picks up right after The Avengers where Thor is bringing Loki back to Asgard to serve his punishment for crimes against their people. Odin (Anthony Hopkins) orders him to be banished inside their dungeons for life, but explains that he wanted Loki dead whereas his wife Frigga (Rene Russo) decided he does not deserve to die. Thor, the object of Loki's anger, is off bringing peace to the nine realms with Lady Sif (Jamie Alexander) and the Warrior's Three. Upon his return to Asgard, he is seen as being a bit of a recluse and not enjoying his success in battle like he usually would. All of which is due to the fact that his heart is now with Jane (Natalie Portman) and not the thrill of a battle. Odin berates Thor for it and explains in order to be king he needs the respect of his people. Pining over a mortal does not warrant respect, especially when one Lady Sif clearly favors him. Eventually, he returns to Earth to see her when he begins to fear she is in danger. Upon seeing her, he realizes his worries are true and decides to bring her back to Asgard for medical attention. This brings more of Odin's disappointment down on to his son but he does realize that Thor did the right thing.
The rest of the way through, I cannot say too much on without giving away too much of the plot. However, in order to save Asgard and all the other realms, Thor has to do the unthinkable. When faced with insurmountable odds, he sees that his father is thinking like a mad king thus he has to work alongside his brother. The two are forced to work together to difficult an ancient evil known as Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) and the Dark Elves. Malekith wants to bring darkness to all the nine realms through a powerful artifact known as the Aether. Thor is hesitant to work with Loki, knowing that he could betray him at any second but it is his best bet. There is more to the story, but if I were to go any farther I would give away key points to the story that I do not wish to give away.
If you enjoyed the first Thor, then you will undoubtedly enjoy this one as well but probably a little more. Some of the downfalls of Thor was the lack of action as it was meant to humanize the character of Thor. When we first see him he is a vain, cruel man who loves the thrill of a good fight, but when he is cast down to Earth he learns of humility and love. This film shows more of Asgard and depicts it in a much better way. The entire film looks much better and more real to the characters involved then the previous installment. Asgard was very pretty and bright in the first film, whereas in this one it is a bit grittier and darker. Granted, this film also takes place in some of the other realms and benefits from not being hogtied to just New Mexico and Earth.
However, as previously stated, the real strength of the film is the performances of Hemsworth and Hiddleston. The two are completely perfect in their roles. Hemsworth greatly portrays the character and carries with him a great powerful presence. Hiddleston has played the villainous side of Loki twice already, and now we have seen the more soft-spoken side of him in the this film. Seeing him distraught and rotting away in his cell when Thor comes to visit him was quite honestly one of the best scenes I have seen in a Marvel film yet. Another thing that cannot be understated is the relationship between Odin and Thor in this film. Odin, having become some what of a prideful mad king in this film was surprising when you take into consideration what he put Thor through in the first film. Of course, Anthony Hopkins does a terrific job in the role as well. However, the one true negative thing I have to say about the film is how poorly written the villain of Malekith is. He is just there as a plot device to give Thor someone to beat up at the end of the film, yet he never once comes off as a true threat. Throughout the entire film you are more inclined to be threatened by Loki, which is warranted but the true threat should be Malekith. It does not help that we have no idea who Malekith is, he just comes off as an angry vengeful guy who wants to plunge the world into darkness and speaks like he is a villain from an old Star Trek film.
This film also has a new director in Alan Taylor who comes over from the television series, Game of Thrones. Taylor does a terrific job in the director chair and actually helps make the film seem more real to the character. Branagh before him did a great job as well, but struggled capturing the few action sequences in the previous installment whereas Taylor's actions sequences in The Dark World are truly beautifully shot. All of this being said, I truly enjoyed this film and I would rank it as one of the better Marvel films in their growing lineup.