If you remember my review of Iron Man 3, then you know that I’ve become quite disenchanted with the entire “Marvel Cinematic Universe.” I’m burned out. Marvel’s works are completely oversaturating the market. The comic book/superhero genre has amazing potential – as exemplified by the “Phase One” Marvel movies, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and this summer’s Man of Steel – but Marvel is stuck in a rut of giving each of their movies the exact same tone and feel. It has become repetitious. I believe that TV’s Agents of SHIELD is an attempt at furthering the genre without including the “superheros,” but it’s unbearably awful. My exhaustion has made me cynical of Marvel’s movies (although next year’s Winter Soldier looks amazing). I no longer care about or look forward to them, so imagine my surprise when I actually enjoyed the flawed sequel, Thor: The Dark World.
Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor has taken over the helm for The Dark World. Set two years after the events of the first Thor, the titular Norse god returns to Earth when his mortal love interest, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), coincidentally gets caught up in an extraterrestrial plot to take over the Nine Realms. This new race of villains, the Dark Elves, want revenge on Asgard, so Thor (Chris Hemsworth) must become the savior of the universe by defeating the Dark Elves and their secret weapon. Of course, the task won’t be an easy one, so he’ll have to enlist the help of his treasonous and imprisoned brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston). After all, Marvel is showing that it’s impossible to make a movie with Thor in it without including Loki.
If you can’t tell by my description, the plot isn’t all that great – but that doesn’t keep The Dark World from being entertaining. There’s just as much fun to be had with it than with any other Marvel movie. If anything, The Dark World has more action than either The Avengers or Iron Man 3. From the same gargantuan studio that’s giving us more Star Wars chapters, large doses of Star Wars-esque content have been added to Thor’s universe. I don’t believe that it’s by chance; instead, it feels like a subliminal message getting you excited for what’s to come from Disney. As to be expected, Marvel has infused a great deal of comedic relief to keep the medieval-ish tone from bogging down the entertainment level.
Several other flaws keep The Dark World from being as great as Thor, but I’ll refrain from explaining them for two reasons: one, they spoil the content and surprises. And, two, the flaws aren’t big enough to keep The Dark World from being purely fun. Do I love where Marvel is headed? No. Am I ready to see it cut way back? Without a doubt. Do I recommend Thor: The Dark World? If you’re up for mindless fun, absolutely.
(Photo credit: Buena Vista)