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Thor: The Dark World
Origins of Malekith the Accursed
Thor: The Dark World
Directors: Alan Taylor, James Gunn
Writers: Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Robert Rodat, Don Payne, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Larry Lieber
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Jaimie Alexander, Christopher Eccleston, Zachary Levi, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Idris Elba, Rene Russo, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgård, Alice Krige, Clive Russell, Stan Lee, Steve Scott, Benicio Del Toro, Chris Evans
Synopsis: 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.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content
Better than the Avengers
Although I know I'll get a lot of flak from Marvel fans for saying this, but I have to give credit where credit is due. "Thor: The Dark World" was by far the best Marvel studios film to date. Granted, I know most fans will argue saying "The Avengers" is superior, but we have to be honest with ourselves here.
First of all, I loved "The Avengers" just as much as the next comic book movie fan out there, but if you honestly analyzed the story down to it's simplest context, the script for "The Avengers" was arguably one of the weakest we've ever gotten for a superhero film. Again, I'm not knocking the film for what it is, as I do believe I gave it a three and a half out of four; while praising the damn movie for being a lot of fun. However, that's essentially what "The Avengers" happens to be though. Just a lighthearted fun popcorn film that has a very simplistic narrative.
Granted, I do remember saying that "The Avengers" had arguably one of the best character driven stories for it's genre, when I initially reviewed it, but like "300", it's become one of those kinds of films where it just gets worse through each progressive screening, as you tend to notice flaws in it that you didn't see the first time. Don't get me wrong, it's still a fun movie, with a lot of good characters in it, but even most marvel fans have to admit the script for "The Avengers" was arguably one of the weakest points of that film.
Getting back to "Thor: The Dark World" though, I have to say that surprisingly isn't the case. Unlike the first one that didn't seem to live up to it's potential, this one lives up to it in spades. Not only becoming the perfect mix of science fiction, fantasy, and Norse mythology all rolled into one, but it also manages to deliver arguably one of the deepest superhero films ever made as well.
The story picks up after "The Avengers", where Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is now having to re-stabilize order within the nine realms, and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is sitting away in prison in his homeworld of Asgard. Meanwhile, Thor's human girlfriend, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), has moved to the UK, and seems to still be caught up in her research. Oh, and she misses Thor a lot too. Go figure.
After a series of events, an evil dark elf named Malekith emerges, and seeks to shroud the world in darkness. Needless to say, this new threat proves to be too much for Thor and the rest of Asgard to handle, as lives are lost. Casualties happen, and the stakes are higher. And, I wouldn't want it any other way. Perhaps one of the best parts about this film is the deep characterization of it's characters.
Unlike the last Thor film, where Loki's motives were rather vague and unclear throughout most of it, this one seems to be more on point with how the character probably should've been portrayed all along. Although Loki is still portrayed as something of a manipulative and cunning sort of villain, he's also shown to be a tragic figure. One that's not only comes off as both cunning and manipulative, but also one that suffers from a lot of internal torment as well.
Throughout the scenes where it shows Loki interacting with his mother, we can clearly see the internal struggle Loki goes through with his surrogate family. It's through Tom Hiddleston's performance that we're able to sympathize with Loki's character.
However, the story delves even deeper into Loki's character, when we finally see him interacting with Thor later on, when they're both forced to team up. Throughout these moments, we're able to catch a glimpse into the mistrust, hatred, yet unconditional love these two brothers have for each other. It was almost touching in a lot of ways to watch. One could say that it felt like something that was taken right out of Shakespeare; which only made Loki even more of a deeper character.
(Warning: This Paragraph has possible spoilers ) Although to be fair, when Malekith confronts Loki and Thor for the first time, it does seem a bit out of place. Without giving away too much, I'll try to explain it the best I can. Up before that point, Loki and Thor were established at having mixed feelings for each other. Although they both deeply disliked one another, and certainly didn't trust each other either, you could still tell they genuinely cared and loved each other unconditionally as well. As I pointed out before, it was quite endearing to watch. However, when Malekith shows up, it seems one of the brothers tries to throw the other under the bus suddenly without warning; which makes you think that maybe there's foul play afoot. Then a minute later, this same said brother makes a total 180, as it turns out it was all part of their elaborate plan that was clearly devised off screen before Malekith even showed up. Although I can tell the writers of this film probably thought that might've been clever, but instead it comes off as confusing, and out of place.
However, it's not enough to ruin the movie, but it's worth pointing out. Overall, it was still a thrilling climax to watch. The story was engaging, and Thor was actually a very deep character in this film.
Plus, it was great how subtle the love triangle was handled. Unfortunately, Natalie Portman still tends to struggle with romantic archetype roles, as "Thor: The Dark World" seems to be no exception. However, her screen time is drastically reduced, so you hardly ever notice it.
As for the rest of the actors, I thought they played their parts rather well. I especially liked Rene Russo in this film, as she was the heart of this story. Portraying a kindhearted mother, who loves her sons dearly, as we can tell through her performance how it hurts her inside to see her own son locked up in prison; while also trying to support her own husband's decision to banish him in said prison to begin with.
As for the villain, I have to say I was fairly impressed with how he was portrayed. Unlike Loki whose motives were half hazardly changing all the damn time in the last "Thor" film, this one had a villain whose motives were much more precise. I was especially impressed with how dark and sinister they managed to make Malekith, who comes off as arguably one of the best Marvel movie villains we've seen thus far.
Plus, it was really interesting seeing the ships the dark elves possessed, as they seemed more derived from science fiction rather than fantasy; which creates a very ironic visual medium considering how elves are often more associated with fantasy. Therefore, I guess you can say the visuals in this movie are really nothing short of amazing.
Although I should warn readers if you plan on seeing this in 3-D, then I would advise against it. This latest sequel features converted 3-D, so it's barely noticeable throughout most of the film.
The musical score is very nice, and the cinematography is very well shot throughout most of the film. And, I have to say the costume and makeup designs are very well detailed.
Overall, "Thor: The Dark World" is by far the best superhero film of 2013, as it's definitely worth checking out at a rating of four out of four. I should also inform readers that if you do plan to see the film, this one features two after credit scenes (ala "The Avengers"). There's one that's presented halfway through the credits to set up a future Marvel film; while the very last one at the end of the credits is there mainly just for laughs.
Anyway if you're into superhero films in general, then "Thor: The Dark World" is arguably the one of the best ones out there to check out. However, as I said in my "Man of Steel" review, don't take my word for it. Go check out the flick and see for yourself.
The great quotes of: Malekith the Accursed
Loki goes to therapy after "Thor 2" (Warning: Contains Suggestive Dialogue and adult language. Parental Discretion is advised)
© 2013 Steven Escareno