‘THOR: THE DARK WORLD’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Thor and the Dark Elves
It’s time to return to Asgard!
‘Thor: The Dark World’ is a follow-up to the first ‘Thor’ movie in the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ series! This film was released at cinemas in late 2013. I missed this movie by a mile because…well, I was celebrating the 50th anniversary of ‘Doctor Who’ at the time and considered that more important.
As I indicated in my review for the first ‘Thor’ film, I don’t rate the superhero character as one of my favourites. I still enjoyed him though, especially in the first film he appeared in. So when it came to watching the sequel to his first movie, I looked forward to find out what would happen next to Thor.
I never saw ‘Thor: The Dark World’ at the cinema, thus I never purchased the film on DVD or Blu-ray when it came out in 2014. I eventually purchased the film as a part of the ‘Marvel Studios Cinematic Universe – Phase Two’ DVD box set. It’s really good to collect these movies in these certain box sets.
‘Thor: The Dark World’ stars Chris Hemsworth who returns as Thor. This movie was directed by Alan Taylor instead of Kenneth Branagh. I wish Kenneth Branagh had directed this film as I enjoyed his direction of the first film so much. The directing style by Alan Taylor in this film didn’t feel the same.
The film also stars Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, Tom Hiddleston as Loki and Anthony Hopkins as Odin. Again, I had an unusual pattern to seeing these ‘Thor’ movies. I saw the first ‘Thor’ film first on DVD; then I saw ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ at the cinema and now I am seeing ‘Thor: The Dark World’ on DVD.
How do I rate ‘Thor: The Dark World’ then? Is it better than the first ‘Thor’ film? Well…no! I’m sorry to say this but, I found ‘Thor: The Dark World’ a pretty underwhelming sequel. I enjoyed it on some level. But there were things about it that made me question the story, the characters and the pacing.
There was some interesting groundwork for this story in terms of the Asgardian mythology and folklore that was going on, especially concerning the Dark Elves and the Dark World they came from. But the story and the characters did not feel so fleshed out as they could’ve been and as I would’ve wanted to be.
Before I’d seen the film, I didn’t hear many good things about ‘Thor: The Dark World’. It’s stated that this film is the weakest out of all of the films in the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ series so far. I tried my best to optimistic and hoped that I would be impressed by it. But sadly, I just felt underwhelmed.
How can I describe this? Well, I might as well start by telling you the story. The film takes place directly after ‘Avengers Assemble’ where Thor takes Loki back to be imprisoned following what he did in trying to conquer Earth. Thor also goes around the Nine Realms to undo the damages by Loki.
Meanwhile on present day Earth in London, Dr. Jane Foster and her intern Darcy Lewis discover portals in an abandoned factory. Jane soon reunites with Thor who she had expected to return soon from the end of the first ‘Thor’ movie. Thor then takes Jane with him as they go to his home in Asgard.
Before her reunion with Thor, Jane has been infected with something called the Aether since she was teleported to another world and inadvertently released an unearthly force. It seems that unless the Aether is taken out of her, she will eventually die and soon commence a catastrophic prophecy.
This of course happens when Malekith, leader of the Dark Elves from the Dark World, wakes up upon the Aether’s release. He and his forces soon attack Asgard and many other worlds in the universe. Can Thor save the woman he loves as well as stop Malekith’s evil reign of terror beginning?
Now I would be for this film’s premise if there was more emotion and drama featured in the movie’s scenes and that we would have characters we could care for in terms of their motivations. But that just felt flat for me since there were many of the story’s aspects I was trying to get my head around.
In a way, I’m glad I didn’t see ‘Thor: The Dark World’ at the cinema as I probably would’ve been disappointed. If this story focused more on Thor and Jane’s romantic relationship and it had a strong heart of the film, I would’ve been taken with the film and be able to appreciate it more than what it is.
Chris Hemsworth returns as Thor. And to be fair, Chris Hemsworth delivers a great performance as Thor in this movie. I liked how he seems to have grown as a character from the first ‘Thor’ movie and ‘Avengers Assemble’. He seems nobler and responsible compared to how he was for his first movie.
Thor seems to take a nobler and compassionate stance in this movie compared to his father Odin, but we’ll get to that. I wish there was more romantic interaction between him and Jane as well as his friendships with his warrior friends, since there seemed to be some potential in that being explored.
The action scenes with Thor are pretty impressive, especially when he tries to save Jane’s life against the Dark Elves as well as fighting Malekith across many different worlds via portals. His relationship with Loki is interesting enough, although I wish that had been explored more than in the second act.
Natalie Portman returns as Jane Foster in the movie. I’m not sure how people find Natalie Portman’s character in these ‘Thor’ movies, but honestly I found her fine. I found it interesting that she went to Thor’s world in Asgard for a change since it’s a reversal of a situation when he visited her world first.
I liked seeing Jane in Asgardian clothes and she could’ve been on her way to become a princess had this movie gone in that direction. She did seem a little aggressive when reuniting with Thor as well as meeting Loki again, but I did like those hints of compassion that were in her character for this movie.
Like I said, I wish there was more focus on the romantic character interaction between Jane and Thor and the urgency there was needed for her to be in peril with the Aether inside her. I still find Natalie Portman irresistibly attractive and I liked it when she’d taken an interest in Thor as a person.
Tom Hiddleston returns as Loki in the movie. Loki is at first a prisoner in Asgard. I did feel that Loki’s appearance in ‘Thor: The Dark World’ was a bit of a regression compared to the first two ‘MCU’ movies he was in. He’s not the villain in this and he seems to have anger issues against Thor’s family.
It was interesting to see how Loki interacts with Thor in this movie, since the brotherly relationship they had has dissipated and they no longer trust each other. Loki works with Thor in order to free Jane Foster from the Aether inside her. Loki even makes a point of self-sacrificing himself in this film.
It would’ve been interesting though had Loki allied himself with Malekith and the Dark Elves in order to overthrow Asgard. That would’ve been a compelling story compared to how Loki’s depicted in the actual film. Loki also seems to have a close attachment to Thor’s mother which was intriguing to see.
Anthony Hopkins returns as Odin, Thor’s father in the film. Odin’s a jerk! No, really. Odin comes across as a jerk in this film! In the first film, Odin came across as the wise father who put his son into exile to learn his lesson and the error of his ways. None of that is in Odin for this movie. He’s a jerk!
He seems to have this prejudice against Jane Foster and even orders for her to be sent back to Earth before discovering she has the Aether in her. And on top of that, Odin seems willing to sacrifice his Asgard soldiers to the point of death when suggesting they go out to battle Malekith and his armies.
What?! I mean, okay Odin is grieving for the loss of his wife who got killed rather brutally by Malekith in the film. But considering that Odin was wise and Thor was arrogant in the first ‘Thor’ movie, you’d think he’d be wiser than this and not rash in his decision-making. It’s a reversal of roles.
Stellan Skarsgård returns as scientist Dr. Erik Selvig in the film and WHAT IS HE DOING?! Sorry, I had to get that out! But seriously?! What is he doing?! He runs around stark-naked at Stonehenge (I think) and he wears no trousers (pants in America) as it helps him to think. I don’t want to see that!!!
Kat Dennings also returns as Darcy Lewis, Jane Foster’s former intern from the first ‘Thor’ film. And boy is she annoying? She was there to provide comic relief, but honestly I found her lines of dialogue cringe-worthy to listen to. I tolerated her in the first ‘Thor’ movie, but couldn’t stand her in this one.
Darcy also has her own intern which is Jonathan Howard as Ian Boothby. He’s dopey as Darcy is. In fact, the two are made for each other as they fall in love with each other out of nowhere! He also saves her by smashing a monster with a car? Do we get an explanation?! No? Okay, he’s Superman!
Idris Elba returns as Heimdall, the gatekeeper of the Bifröst Bridge in Asgard. Now to be fair, Heimdall does work well as a character in this movie. He helps Thor in letting him, Jane and Loki escape when causing treason against Odin. I think this was an intriguing aspect to him as a character.
Christopher Eccleston, best-known for playing the Ninth Doctor in ‘Doctor Who’, stars as the movie’s villain Malekith. I do feel that Malekith was wasted as a villain in this movie. Chris Eccleston’s a great actor and does well with the material given, but I found the character lacking in terms of motivation.
Also what’s with the subtitles when Malekith and the Dark Elves speak in their ‘alien’ language? If Asgardians can speak English, how come we can’t understand what the Dark Elves are saying? Sometimes the subtitles given to them when they’re speaking are so fast and so small for us to read!
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje guest stars as Algrim/Kurse, a Dark Elf and Malekith’s lieutenant who is trust-worthy and loyal. He can also transform into a monstrous creature to destroy Thor. Honestly, I couldn’t register this Algrim/Kurse character as a…character, as he seemed bland and uninteresting.
Ray Stevenson also returns as
Gimli, I mean Volstagg of the Warriors Three with Tadanobu Asano as Hogun; Zachary Levi (not Joshua Dalla this time) as Fandral and Jaimie Alexander as Sif. Like the first film, I didn’t find anything standout with Thor’s friends here. In fact, they seem to do less in this one.
Although saying that, they do help Thor with getting him, Loki and Jane Foster out of Asgard to the Dark World by distracting the Asgardian guards. It would’ve been nice if we saw more of the loyal friendships between Thor, the Warriors Three and Sif in this movie. But sadly it wasn’t truly the case.
Rene Russo returns as Frigga, Odin’s wife; the queen of Asgard and Thor’s mother in the film. Unlike the first film, Frigga does get some part to play in protecting Jane Foster when Malekith comes in to get her. But Frigga sadly gets killed by Malekith in the first act. It was so shocking to see that happen.
The film also features Alice Krige (who played the Borg Queen in ‘Star Trek: First Contact’) as Eir, an Asgardian physician. There’s also Chris O’Dowd as Richard, Jane Foster’s suitor. Chris Evans makes an appearance as Captain America in the film, although this was Loki masquerading as Captain America.
The climax to ‘Thor: The Dark World’ was certainly action-packed for me to watch. However it was confusing when Thor and Malekith kept fighting each other as they jumped from world to world without us getting a chance to appreciate those worlds. In fact, the Dark World is very dull to look at.
It was tense when one of the Dark Elves’ ships was collapsing on Thor’s unconscious body and Jane Foster desperately tried to save him. I thought she was going to be dead by the end of the movie. But thankfully Erik Selvig manages to save them. The one decent thing he provides during this movie.
In the end, Thor returns to Asgard where he meets his father Odin and refuses to take the throne of Asgard. He decides to continue as a hero instead. It’ll be intriguing to see where that goes. But it turns out Loki is still alive and unbeknown to Thor; he has been impersonating Odin this whole time.
I did get a feeling of ‘is that it?’ especially as the end credits rolled and we had our teaser scenes. This included the one where Thor reunites with Jane Foster in a romantic happy manner at the end. I think that could’ve been included before the end credits rather after it. This feels like bad editing.
The DVD special features of ‘Thor: The Dark World’ are as follows. There’s an ‘Exclusive Look – ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ and a deleted scene called ‘Jane Learns About the Aether’.
On the Blu-ray for ‘Thor: The Dark World’, as well as the ‘Exclusive Look – Captain America: The Winter Soldier’, there’s an audio commentary with director Alan Taylor; producer Kevin Feige; Tom Hiddleston and cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau. There’s also ‘Marvel One Shot: All Hail the King’; ‘A Brother’s Journey – Thor and Loki’ and ‘Scoring ‘Thor: The Dark World’ with composer Brian Tyler. There are more deleted and extended scenes as well as a gag reel featured from the movie.
‘Thor: The Dark World’ is not a great movie. I see that. I still enjoyed it and the acting’s well done. But I honestly didn’t feel excited by this movie. It’s not the worst I’ve seen, but it’s pretty underwhelming. I can only hope things can be better as the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ progresses.
There’s a mid-credits scene where Voltsagg and Sif visit Benicio del Toro as the Collector and entrust the Aether to his care. Apparently the Tesseract and the Aether are two of six Infinity Stones. There’s also the post-credits scene where Thor and Jane romantically reunite with each other and then…there’s a frost monster from Jotunheim running amok in London. Where did that come from?
‘Thor will return!’ Oh just like Tony Stark as Iron Man! I wonder when that will be. 😀
‘Thor: The Dark World’ rating – 5/10
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