“Thor: The Dark World” Exceeds Expectations, Does It Surpass The Predecessor?

Thor: The Dark World

ThorRelease Date: November 8, 2013
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, Idris Elba, Christopher Eccleston
Director: Alan Taylor
Studio: Marvel Studios
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios, Motion Pictures
Genre(s): Superhero, Action
Based On Marvel Comic’s Thor

Rating: ★★★★★
Review Spoilers: HIGH, so very high.
IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes | Wikipedia

So, I hesitate to give Thor: The Dark World a 5/5 stars, it was not a perfect movie. But, we don’t have a 4.5 star rating, so here I am. Maybe I  am riding the high of a very entertaining movie, or maybe I am just swayed by the beautiful men, but this was a really entertaining movie.

Here are the facts: No one should go into a superhero movie expecting a pretentious art house flick. No one should judge one like anything other than a superhero movie. And I say this because I don’t think The Dark World lacks developmental depth, but I don’t think this was as lyrical of a movie as Thor. I know critics will moan about it being “thoughtless”, and and call it a “misfire”. But then, what are they looking for in a Marvel movie?

I am looking for a fun time, laughs and action, with a lot of feels mixed into it. Marvel knows their audience, and this played to their target audience. I can tell you right now millions of fangirls will be screaming about this movie, and that the minute this film has some sort of recorded version of itself, it will be gif’d the crap out of. For me, it was a great movie. There was just enough campy fun to remind me that this is Marvel, but also enough action and emotion to remember not to discredit these characters.

So The Dark World is set between Asgard, The Dark World (Svartalfheim), and London. Set after The Avengers, we learn that because the bifrost was destroyed, the nine realms are in chaos and Thor is battling along with his comrades to preserve peace. Meanwhile, a chained Loki is sentenced to life in the dungeon, saved from death because of Frigga.

Every image makes me have feels. Every one of them.

Every image makes me have feels. Every one of them.

A cautionary warning to readers, I really like Tom Hiddleston. Like, in the grand scope of “Hiddlestoners” I probably rank like a 6/10, but among the gen pop, I am definitely around an 8 or 9. So, that being said, Hiddleston killed it. Every scene had his face dripping with emotions and left me in so many feels.

The highlight of this film wasn’t just Thor, it was his wonderful relationship with his brother. We’ve always known Thor will never actually hate Loki. He isn’t capable of it. He will keep trusting Loki and keep getting a little shank in his abs. Thor doesn’t have a hateful bone in his body, and he struggles through much of the beginning to keep Loki at a distance. The banter between the brothers is hilarious, as Hemsworth and Hiddleston’s chemistry flies off the screen.

Loki is not the villain anymore, and very early in the movie we see him break down after receiving the news that Frigga has been killed. It’s a heartbreaking scene as Thor sees past Loki’s illusions and the magic breaks away Loki’s poised and sharp demeanor to reveal a man who has literally been shredded apart by sorrow. Loki spends a lot of the movie repairing his bond with his brother, mending the bridge that he literally destroyed in Thor and The Avengers

Anytime these two are on the screen you have A+ performances all around, Hemsworth and Hiddleston get into their characters perfectly and are able to play off of each other’s emotions. I would be happy with a thousand scenes of them being snarky towards each other. Too bad for Thor that this might not happen for a while, but more on that later.

Sometimes life is just unfair, Chris Hemsworth is a reason why.

Sometimes life is just unfair, Chris Hemsworth is a reason why.

The movie is funny, like really funny. I was laughing out loud the whole time. Despite the threat of the end of the universe, the movie kept me smiling through 80% of it. Wit and banter were in excess, tomfoolery was abound.

The scenes with Eric Selvig basically had me cackling in my seat, because I slowly realized that I am Eric Selvig. He needs to be pantsless to think better, so do I. Sometimes he just needs to be naked, so do I. There is even a hilarious scene with Captain America, in which we discuss justice and the United States of America.

While Loki and Thor have some great character building, no one else really does. There are some funny and cute scenes between Darcy and the new intern Ian, that give Darcy a bigger role, but they sometimes feel left out from the intensity of the plot. Jane has some development, from her awkward date with Chris O’Dowd on Earth, to her last moments with Frigga on Asgard, to her helping to save earth at the end. She’s there, but there is not a spotlight on her at all. There is very little of the spirited girl we saw in the first movie.

Sif and the Warriors Three get a few scenes, but are largely forgotten in favor of brotherly love and Malekith’s plans for destruction. Sif has some sort of crush on Thor (surprise, surprise), but Thor’s got his eyes on Jane and that plot line ends about as quickly as it started. Hogun basically has 10 minutes on screen before we never see him again.  Volstagg has little to nothing in the movie, just a few images of him being rowdy and swinging his axe.

The only real warrior we see is Zachary Levi’s new Fandral, and while I literally love Levi with all of my nerdy heart, he does seem to be missing a little bit of what Josh Dallas had. But then again, he wasn’t really allowed to show more.

Now it's time for the Doctor to attack London, instead of defend it.

Now it’s time for the Doctor to attack London, instead of defend it.

Now as we talk more about development, we can get into bigger characters. Malekith. The villain, who was so important in the other movies, seems almost an afterthought. Malekith is perceived as dangerous and seems powerful, but we never really get a demonstration of this power. He gets one-uped by Loki and Thor pretty easily, and despite being seemingly a depressing character, I felt almost nothing for him. And I love Chris Eccleston. His race was entirely unrelatable and I felt like he was there as tool for the brothers to tell their story.

Shortcomings in the other characters aside, this movie was gorgeous. Asgard is beautiful and golden, all shimmering under a million stars. Off set by a grey London and golden Asgard is the dark and gloomy Dark World. There are some wonderful uses of magic in this movie, from Loki, which we only saw a little in the other movies.

We begin to understand why no one really trusts him. His magic is incredibly powerful, strong enough to fool Thor into believing he is dead and strong enough to fool Malekith for long enough for them to attack him. Strong enough to fool Odin, and probably even Heimdall. Every scene left me cautious, as if one moment the story was thus and then suddenly the curtain was pulled back.

The movie has hilarious final battle, that leaves you bouncing back and forth. But the ending, or should I say, endings are great. Remember how I said Thor wouldn’t be seeing Loki for a while, well they pretty much hinted that Loki was not actually dead, and instead finding his way back to Asgard. The ending was perfect, because we see Thor rejecting the throne for fear of the luring nature of power, and then Loki appears underneath his facade of Odin at the seat of the throne, grinning wildly. As if I needed another reason to want to jump this man’s bones.

Remember how we all laughed and made punk rock jokes when these images came out? WHO IS LAUGHING NOW? NOT ME. BECAUSE I'M CHOKING ON AN OCEAN OF TEARS.

Remember how we all laughed and made punk rock jokes when these images came out? WHO IS LAUGHING NOW? NOT ME. BECAUSE I’M CHOKING ON AN OCEAN OF TEARS.

He finds some kind of closure between him and Loki, and flies back to an anxious Jane to deliver her a final kiss that had me fanning myself. The final scene after the coda was brilliant, as it lead to the mention and segue into The Guardians of the Galaxy. Benicio del Toro makes an appearance as the Collector, and takes a hold of the magical item that has caused so much anguish in the movie, the Aether. We find out that the Aether is part of a set of what are called Infinity Stones, a group that also includes the Tesseract.

Alan Taylor, director of The Game of Thrones was definitely a different feelings from the very Shakespearian Branagh. I had a different feel and I think some people might be shocked by it, but Taylor balances what I think Branagh and Whedon did in Thor and The Avengers, respectively. Whedon gets way too preachy for me, and way too campy for me, while Branagh gets caught up in his own ego when he is directing, this had a little of each world, but not too much of either.

In my personal opinion, this was better than the original. As a film on a whole, Taylor beats out Branagh by understanding the material, but he kind of also had a leg up on Branagh’s hard work as well, so at the very least it did the franchise justice.

These masks were seriously creepy to me, I just really don't know why.

These masks were seriously creepy to me, I just really don’t know why.

Also, I’m just saying, the people of London are probably used to aliens coming by now. They might be wondering why the aliens are coming so early, since they normally come around Christmas time. Then again, they probably are confused by who saved them before the Avengers came around.

Final Thoughts: Hemsworth and Hiddleston are enough to give this movie an A, but graphics are stellar and the humor is great. Whatever failures they had in subcharacters are band-aided by that.

Staff Ratings

Sam

I can’t even begin to describe all the Loki #feels I have after this movie. And I laughed so had so many times. My throat hurt after we left the theatre for a couple hours. Also: Best MCU cameo ever. Ever

★★★★☆

Ashley

I’m sort of with Therese on this one. The first Thor is my favorite movie in the MCU canon and while I don’t think The Dark World beats it for me, I do feel like it was made out of the best aspects of the first movie and The Avengers to make one entertaining movie. If anything, Thor: The Dark World just proves to me part of the reason Marvel keeps winning over DC in live-action media: They embrace the silliness of the comic book universe and then run away screaming into the night with it. Dark elf spaceships? Yep. A massive fight scene between dimensions that eventually has Thor having to ride the tube? Yep. Darcy getting herself a cute and dumb intern? Yep. Erik Selvig working without pants? Yep. Loki magicking himself to look like Captain America and being super obnoxious? OH YES. (Also, total props to Chris Evans for completely nailing Loki in this scene.)

I’m sad about how many of the side characters got shunted off into realms unknown. Hogun is in the film for less than 10 minutes, Sif has a sort of plot line about maybe crushing on Thor that doesn’t go anywhere, and I would really like to know what happens to her, Volstagg, Thandral, and Heimdall after the treason that’s committed against Asgard. Maybe there’s a deleted scene explaining that somewhere?

Still, the movie was a lot of fun and supremely gorgeous (the funeral scene for Frigga might be the most beautiful thing ever put on film in a Marvel movie). Hemsworth and Hiddleston’s performances are amazing and it’s a good setup for getting more magic and weirdness in the MCU, especially with that one post credits scene that sets up for Guardians of the Galaxy. However, for me, the movie was worth the price of admission alone for watching Heimdall jump on a moving Dark Elf ship and take it down with two knives and a sword. Someone put that over the Pacific Rim theme when the blu-ray comes out and my life will be made.

★★★★☆

2 responses to ““Thor: The Dark World” Exceeds Expectations, Does It Surpass The Predecessor?

  1. Pingback: Yes Virginia, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has gotten good. | Nerdophiles·

  2. Pingback: Ashley’s Favorite Movies of 2013 | The Diary of a Dimension Hopper·

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