Thor: The Dark World tore up the box office last weekend and with good reason. It was a fantastic follow up to Thor with just a few weak points. I can’t speak to how true it was to the comics and whether it was a solid superhero movie in that regard, but I can say it’s a solid movie, period.
The most enjoyable aspect of the film was the way the story was told and the way that it was presented. Though it was packed with action, it didn’t feel like a contemporary action/superhero movie. It felt like a space fantasy, and that slant made the movie shine. Director Alan Taylor has been at the helm of several episodes of Game of Thrones and those sort of aesthetics were apparent in Asgard and battle scenes. At the same time, it seemed like Star Wars was an influence as well.
Incorporating those elements wouldn’t necessarily work for another superhero movie, but they were perfect for Thor and took it to the next level. The gorgeous production design ties into that. The Dark World is beautiful. Plain and simple. I want “The Art of…” book now because if the finished film looks so lovely, the concept art is sure to be stunning.
However, none of that is to discount the acting and the plot. It’s like choosing the best part of a slice of pie – it’s all good but a flaky crust can make the best impression (mmm, Thor and pie). When you look more closely at Thor, you’ll find well written characters and relationships, likable performances, and an interesting story.
The primary villain, Malekith, was mostly effective. It was delightful to know Christopher Eccleston was under all the makeup, but it was difficult to tell it was him. He was a frightening character, as were the Dark Elves, but at the end of the day, Malekith only hit a single note and it was the typical bad guy one. As far as the other villain, well, just like Avengers and Thor, the plot had a fair amount of “Stop that, Loki.”
In a nice twist though, Loki does get to show a greater range of emotions. He and Thor share a lot of fun and not-so-fun scenes, and it’s nice to see how their relationship has changed since the first Thor. And yes, Tom Hiddleston absolutely nails it. All of it. Chris Hemsworth is, of course, physically as close to a comic book character as you can get, and he’s fine in the role. He pulls off charming and funny and he’s got nice fighting moves but overall, something’s missing. He’s not as compelling as he could be. Hiddleston steals the spotlight, and he doesn’t even have to try.
Even if Natalie Portman doesn’t do it for me as Jane Foster, the character was given more to do this time around. She gets to play a bigger role, and she’s just one of the well-written female characters in the movie. Jaimie Alexander’s Sif is fierce, and Kat Dennings’ Darcy is hilarious. The real standout as far as I’m concerned is Rene Russo. She makes a wonderful Frigga.
Like Iron Man 3, there are visible consequences from the battle of New York. I think that is so very important to tying together the universe. As was shown in trailers for the movie, Loki is in prison on Asgard. Duh, that’s an obvious one. The ways it affected other people are both subtle and the complete opposite of subtle. It’s good to see that it shook people up.
Overall, Thor: The Dark World was an excellent addition to the Marvel film family. It was engaging, it had intense action sequences, it had beautiful production, and it moved Thor’s story forward. I highly recommend checking it out in theaters to fully appreciate it.
After new Marvel films are released, I like to update my rankings. Here’s where I stand after the latest installment of Thor: 1. The Avengers, 2. Iron Man, 3. Iron Man 3, 4. Captain America, 5. Thor: The Dark World, 6. Thor, 7. The Incredible Hulk, 8. Iron Man 2. What does your list look like?