*Note: Thor: The Dark World has two scenes after the credits so make sure to stay in your seats!
Great Odin’s raven! Another superhero movie? It seems nowadays we can’t go three months without getting a new film about a strapping superhuman that saves the world from an evil villain. Not that I’m complaining; in fact, I really enjoy these types of movies. That is, when they are done right.
My favorite kind of superhero film is one that blends action and humor. This winning formula is one of the reasons such films as Iron Man and The Avengers have become so popular amongst fans and at the box office. Thor: The Dark World, the sequel to 2011’s Thor, also uses this blend of action and humor to make a fun, entertaining film. Who wouldn’t laugh at seeing Thor attempt to hang his hammer on a coat hook, upon entering a London flat? Plus, you can never, ever go wrong with a movie featuring Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston.
Unfortunately, one of my main criticisms about the film is also one of its biggest surprises. As someone who hates spoilers and refuses to put any in my reviews, I will just have to leave you with this cryptic thought: sometimes shocking events in a movie elevate the movie and sometimes they bring the movie down. When a plot point is so surprising (and upsetting) it’s hard to focus on the rest of the movie, that isn’t a good thing. Not to mention, after “the event” transpires there is too much levity, which was inappropriate and disingenuous for what the characters had just experienced.
Two other aspects of the film that I found lacking were its lackluster villain, and a terrible (bordering on awkward) romantic relationship between the two lead characters (Portman and Hemsworth still have zero chemistry). I also could have used more Loki; but can’t we all? I know the film is called Thor, but that didn’t stop me from wanting more Hiddleston. Despite these criticisms, however, fans of the comics and films will be entertained and that’s one of the main requirements of any superhero film, right?
The film begins with Odin’s (Anthony Hopkins) long, convoluted story explaining the history of the villainous Dark Elves and their ultra-dangerous secret weapon, Aether. Although I was incredibly bored by this speech and could basically only hear the teacher from Charlie Brown talking, what I gather is that many years ago, the elves tried to use the Aether in an attempt to take control over the Nine Realms. Because of this, elves were forced into space (think Zod in Superman) and the Aether was hidden “forever”.
Cut to “present day”, which actually looks like Game of Thrones in Asgard. Odin is still in charge, Thor (Hemsworth) is helping enforce his dad’s regal legitimacy throughout the other realms, and Loki (Hiddleston) is in jail. On Earth, Jane (Natalie Portman) is still pining for Thor and wondering why he didn’t come to see her when he was on Earth to help the Avengers. When her former colleague Darcy (Kat Dennings) comes to her with scientific readings indicating an impending return trip from Thor, Jane rushes to the affected area. Little does she know, the readings are showing changes in gravity because all of the Nine Realms are about to be perfectly aligned (a dangerous occurrence if someone were to bring Aether into the equation).
While exploring the area, Jane is sucked into another realm by a gravitational force and becomes infected with the Aether a la Peter Parker and Venom. When Thor finds out about this, he quickly returns to Earth to help. In the meantime, the Asgardian’s old enemy, the Dark Elves, led by Malaketh (Christopher Eccleston), have awoken from their hibernation thanks to the reactivation of Aether, and are out for revenge. They want to take the throne of Asgard and put their ruler in power. Now, Thor must figure out how to save the woman he loves and destroy the evil weapon coursing through her veins, while also leading the charge against the Dark Elf army. This undertaking is too much for one man to handle so he enlists the help of some of his friends, including Fandral (Zachary Levi), and maybe an enemy or two :cough: Loki.
Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston are (again) perfect in their respective roles. I cannot say a bad word about either of their performances. Both are exactly what they need to be in every shot; Hemsworth makes the godlike Thor relatable whereas Hiddleston gives Loki likability. Of course, as in the first Thor and The Avengers, Hiddleston steals every scene he is in. Although the movie is entitled Thor, it’s pretty easy to see why fans love Loki just as much.
Sadly, the fantastic Zachary Levi (Chuck) was underutilized in the film. Fans of Chuck know what a triple threat Levi is when it comes to drama, action, and comedy, however his character Fandral was mostly relegated to a few lines here and there. Perhaps in future Thor films, Fandral will be given more of a role. I would trade him for Darcy any day.
Natalie Portman was awful again as Jane. I don’t understand how her role was so poorly miscast. I realize that during the filming of the first Thor movie, the studio probably wanted someone with star power to make up for the relatively unknown cast. However, there is no excuse to keep her in the role again. Why couldn’t the filmmakers add a new love interest all together? Couldn’t Thor have pulled a Batman Begins/The Dark Knight and recast the role with someone else? More importantly, how can someone have such little chemistry with Chris Hemsworth?
While Thor: The Dark World is certainly not my favorite Marvel movie to date, it is an entertaining film that stars two of Hollywood’s greatest talents, Hemsworth and Hiddleston. If you’re a fan of the first film and the comics, you will have fun at the theater. Plus, if we continue to support the Thor series, maybe we can also get a spinoff for Loki. Come on superhero fans, let’s do this!
My Review: B-