“Thor’s obligatory movie” as Thor 2011 has been derisively called, was a fairly decent romp, actually. In addition to introducing an audience to a relatively unknown b-list comic book character, it had to live up to other Marvel movie personalities such as Robert Downey’s Iron Man. It also had to do that without feeling like the same kind of comic book movie, following the same old formula that others have taken. Its set pieces rocked (for the most part. It’s the earth-bound sets that looked second rate); with an ice world, Asgard, and a transportational Rainbow Bridge. The effects were awesome; the Ice Giants themselves were particularly well done. But even with all of this, Thor still felt underwhelming, somehow. Thor’s earth-bound escapades were minor compared to his off-world adventures, and his attitude adjustment seemed to happen way too quickly and easily. And now Thor: The Dark World (T:TDW) has The Avengers to live up to…
Which is probably why T:TDW is packed with action, special effects, and humor. Anything to make Thor (Chris Hemsworth) a little more relatable. Frankly, Thor is always going to be a tough nut to crack. He’s not human, for starters; and as a Norse God of mythology who strives to live up to his father Odin’s lofty expectations, he’s a bit of a one-note stiff.
Luckily he has Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) to humanize him, and his half-brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to be his foil in more ways than one. If not for these two, Thor would be as one-dimensional as the various mythological beasts he vanquishes.
Or as one-dimensional as his nemesis, Malekith (an unrecognizable Christopher Eccleston). As leader of the Dark Elves, Malekitch plans on releasing the Aether; a force that will dispel all light in the Nine Realms, including Earth. Foiling his plan requires that Thor team up with both his human friends and the duplicitous Loki. Good thing, too; not only do Loki and the human Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) get all the best lines, they also provide (sometimes unnecessary) comic relief. But they also give Thor more to do than just destroy stuff with Mjölnir, his trusty hammer.
Thor will have at least two more outings; the second Avengers Movie and his own third. T:TDW upped the ante for Thor physically, and these next two must up it again, but personally. We have to get to know and care about him a little more; as much as people do for Loki. Meanwhile, T:TDW is an enjoyable action flick with a fair amount of comedic moments. Keep your eyes open for cameos, and stick around to the very last moment for mid- and end-of-credit Easter Eggs. The first not only finishes up T:TDW, but also hints at his next outing; and the second Easter Egg sets up activities relating to The Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as possibly The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Thor: The Dark World is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, some suggestive content, and (for the ladies) Thor only has his shirt off once for a brief moment.
Directed by: Alan Taylor
Written by: Christopher L. Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (screenplay); Don Payne and Robert Rodat (story); Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (comic book)