While its predecessor, “Thor,” is a fish-out-of-water story set mostly on Earth, “Thor: The Dark World” takes the viewer on a gripping adventure that effortlessly combines the medieval milieu of the European Middle Ages and the sci-fi dazzle of Star Trek.
Sequel to “Thor” and the eighth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Thor: The Dark World” continues to build on the success of other Marvel films like “The Avengers,” which grossed $1.5 billion. Released Nov. 8, the film topped the box office and grossed $86.1 million in its opening weekend.
The film follows Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and his mortal love interest, astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) as they fight to stop the ancient evil of the Dark Elves and their leader Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) from returning the universe to darkness. The movie begins with an exposition of the Dark Elves’ malicious plans and a recap of Thor’s life following the events of “The Avengers.”
Director Alan Taylor, who has directed numerous episodes of the popular television series “Game of Thrones,” seamlessly transitions from the real to the extraordinary. The CGI in the “Thor” sequel, especially the stunning graphics that make up Thor’s home world of Asgard, is beautiful. The images in this movie make viewers believe that a space alien Norse God could really exist.
The title character, Thor is a stable and strong leader in this movie, a departure from his personality in the original movie but welcome in his need for growth if he is to one day replace his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) as King of Asgard. Hemsworth portrays this difficult-to-relate-to Norse God in poignant way, and his action sequences are intense and riveting. And yes, ladies, he does take his shirt off in this movie.
The film has, however, one major flaw. The antagonists are neither dynamic nor interesting. Lacking both depth and complexity, they are portrayed solely as typical villains who want to destroy the universe. The talents of “Doctor Who” alumni Christopher Eccleston are wasted in the one-dimensional role of Malekith.
The film’s ability to entertain, however, is not greatly affected by the lack of an intriguing antagonist — its true redeeming characteristic is its comedy. This movie is lighthearted and enjoyable. Characters like intern Darcy (Kat Dennings), scientist Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), and evil brother and “Avengers” super villain Loki (Tom Hiddleston) bring laughter to an otherwise intense and dramatic plot.
Unfortunately, Loki, the most entertaining character of this movie, is not utilized as well as he could be. Though only allowed to play a major role a full hour into the movie, Loki could easily carry a movie on his own with his charisma. Every scene that Loki is in is heightened by his energy, fun and deviousness. That the audience does not know with whom Loki’s allegiance lies also adds a layer of intrigue and suspense to each of his scenes. A source of great comic relief but also true heart and drama, Loki is the best part of this movie and provides the Marvel Cinematic Universe with its greatest antagonist.
Overall, “Thor: The Dark World” is a fun, exciting action flick that will keep you both on the edge of your seats in suspense and gripping your sides in laughter.
Tip: Stick around for the mid-credits and post-credits scenes. They provide hints for what might come next in the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“Thor: The Dark World” runs 1 hour and 51 minutes and is rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and intense sci-fi action/violence.