(PCM) Thor: The Dark World takes place in real time, so approximately 2 years after the events in The Avengers and the battle in Nw York City. This time Thor returns to silver screen for another solo outing, and as the universe grows and characters’ become more familiar we get to see what feels more a bit more like a follow up to the Avengers than just a straight-forward sequel to Thor.
In Thor: The Dark World, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and his Asgardian forces have kept busy attempting to bring order to the nine realms – after they were thrown into warring chaos following the destruction of the Bifröst (in Thor) and Loki’s invasion of New York (in Avengers). In her efforts to reunite with Thor, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) discovers an ancient (and extremely powerful) weapon, the Ather, which subsequently awakens one of Asgard’s most dangerous foes, Malekith, along with his Dark Elf army. Informed of Jane’s troubles by the Asgardian sentry Heimdall (Idris Elba), Thor returns to Earth to find and protect his love – setting off a series of events that force the God of Thunder into a desperate partnership to save Jane and rid the realms of Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) before the villain unleashes destruction upon the cosmos.
Director Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones, OZ) has done an excellent job showcasing the magical realm of Asgard, capturing its larger than life appearance yet making it feel somewhat real and grounded. The film still has that overall look of a “marvel movie” but for the most part I found that very enjoyable. Not every film has to be “gritty and dark”, and I think Thor 2 does a great job making that point.
Thor: The Dark World really felt like a comic book with its blend of self aware humor, stunning set pieces and elaborate costume design. In a recent interview with Adewale akinnuoye-agbaje (OZ, Lost) who plays’ Malekith’s right hand man, he told us that it took over 5 hours of laying still to apply all the prosthetics needed for the role of Algrim and his transformation to Kurse. The use of practical effects defiantly paid off if you ask me, as I found the scenes he was in to be some of the most intense moments of the film. One scene on Asgard involving Loki continues to stick out in my mind.
The movie has its fair share of action, and the visual effects are top notch. I personally always prefer IMAX 3D whenever possible, but I wouldn’t say it is at all necessary to enjoy this movie. Fans of the HBO series Game of Thrones will defiantly enjoy what Taylor has done here and at times could be mistaken for an episode of the show. And much like GoT, Thor 2 is more of a character piece, with intriguing and intense dialogue, mixed with exciting action that keeps the audience engaged and guessing.
Fans that are really hoping for a lot of focus on the Dark Elf Army might be slightly disappointed, as they are used as throw-away characters and are underserved in the film. Again elaborate costume design really brings the comic to life and makes the Dark Elves intriguing but for the most part they are just there for Thor to beat up.
As always Loki steals the show in almost every scene he’s in, proving why he is such a fan-favorite. The warriors three have some fun screen moments, and although I always want to see more of the fan-favorite trio, the film can only include so much. Same can be said for Lady Sif, who delivers an excellent performance but just doesn’t get quite enough screen time. Even with these flaws the film still manages to be one of the most enjoyable Marvel movies to date.
As i mentioned above, Thor 2 really feels like part of a larger story beginning to unfold, something that many criticized Iron Man 3 for lacking. This movie is defiantly a strong step in the right direction, intertwining over arching plot threads from the other films and introducing plenty of reasons to see the next Marvel installment.
Excluding Iron Man 2, the Phase 1 films were pretty straight forward stand alone movies, a way to introduce all the characters and build anticipation. But as Marvel continues to expand their cinematic universe with Thor: The Dark World, we really start to get a sense that each movie will tie-in and cross-over as they continue to lead up to one overarching story (Infinity Gauntlet!?). This is a smart move by Marvel, making each film essential to the larger plot in their Phase 2 universe and lead-in to the highly anticipated release of The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
I don’t care much for number ratings, but overall I would rate Thor: The Dark World 8/10. Let us know what you thought of Thor 2 and the direction of the Marvel cinematic universe.