Thor: The Dark World is the sequel to a fun but flawed first movie in the Thor series, and was the second Post-Avengers movie to follow up the events from the Battle in New York, putting Thor in the spotlight as opposed to Tony Stark, who was the focus of the divisive Iron Man Three movie – which was really one of those films whether you either loved it or hated it. It was no coincidence that Iron Man Three was one of the highest grossing films of 2013, and whilst Thor: The Dark World didn’t quite meet those heights, it’s impossible to deny that it is far from a bad film. In fact, it is even better in some cases than the third Iron Man film.
Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is on trial for his actions committed against New York, whilst on Earth, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), having spent two years away with the absence of Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who is busy keeping peace in the Nine Realms. Meanwhile though, a threat lurks in the distance – as Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) and his Dark Elves return from suspended animation, hunting for something known as the Aether, which has the power to plunge the universe into darkness.
Unlike Thor, its sequel is a lot bigger in scale. Rather than confined to establishing the universe and the character – the film itself instead steps up the action and blockbuster in the second act. Director Alan Taylor gives Thor: The Dark World a breath of fresh air by making it the first Marvel movie not set largely in the USA – with a large portion of events either taking place on Asgard or in London. This change of scenery allows for some interesting dynamics and it very much gives it the feel of the fantasy genre and plants it in space, and the end result is pretty fun to watch.
|Chris Hemsworth's Thor|
Like with Avengers, Tom Hiddleston is the star of Thor: The Dark World. His portrayal of Loki shines in pretty much every scene, and it’s clear to see why he was the breakout character of Marvel’s movies. However, the extra focus on Loki comes at a price, with Christopher Eccleston’s Malekith instead turning out to be poor and underused, much like Eric Bana’s villain in the first Star Trek (2009) movie. Both characters are unforgettable and cliché-ridden, and could easily have been replaced with a lesser actor. But if you have someone as good as Eccleston, why not actually use him properly for a change? It could have easily been an unknown actor there and we wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference.
The film is a pretty mixed bag with its character portrayal. On the other hand, you get great ones like Loki. Thor also shines, and Idris Elba’s Heimdall is as awesome as ever with more screentime than before. Then there’s Jamie Alexander’s Sif, who is pretty enjoyable to watch in her brief scenes, as well as the various Warriors Three – who are not well developed enough to please anybody outside of dedicated Thor fans for their appearance – but are played mostly for comic relief and have some entertaining movie moments. Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster could have been portrayed better, rather than just as Thor’s love interest and a plot device, and her sidekick Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) was – unlike the first film, not really needed for some humour elements mainly because there was so much in other areas.
Also, a personal gripe with the tube station scene towards the end of the movie, (as any Londoner – or even ex-Londoner like myself) you can’t get from Charing Cross to Greenwich in three stops.
Whilst the film shines with its humour, the storyline is bland and clichéd. We get all the stereotypes of a sequel – the hero working with the bad guy who he imprisoned in a previous movie – the love interest seeking out a new love interest after the current one leaves her – and about five minutes of voiceover narration told that really could have been avoided.
So the end result is a fun, enjoyable movie that like most of the non-Avengers films will probably not hold up with rewatching due to its reliance on humour. However, for a first watch, Thor: The Dark World is an enjoyable flick that keeps fans waiting until The Avengers 2, and it’ll be great when that finally hits cinemas. But for now, the next Marvel movie is Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which looks – and hopefully is – a better movie than this one.