Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston, Jaimie Alexander, Zachary Levi, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Idris Elba, Rene Russo, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgård
Directed by Alan Taylor
Expectations: Moderate, but these Marvel movies are pure fun for me.
Well, they’ve done it again. These Marvel movies continue to impress, and while Thor: The Dark World is definitely not a great film, it’s a rip-roaring good fantasy film filled to the brim with excitement, thrills and all kinds of cosmic shit. I’m surprised how hard they went into the fantasy realm for this film; the intro felt like a sort of sci-fi influenced version of the Lord of the Rings films. Consequently, Thor: The Dark World is chock full of stuff to excite every nerd in the audience. That’s probably what surprises me the most about these Marvel films. They’re relentlessly nerdy, yet they are also some of the most popular mainstream movies of the last few years. The nerd paradigm is truly upon us; the weak have inherited the Earth!
Thor: The Dark World centers around the Convergence, a celestial event that only happens every few thousand years. It aligns the Nine Realms, and makes the borders between these realms thin, allowing people to pass through them. The last time this happened the Dark Elves tried to plunge the Nine Realms into a neverending darkness but Odin’s father Bor was able to defeat them. The elves’ ultimate weapon was the Aethor, a powerful, shape-changing fluid, but instead of destroying it,
Isildur Bor decides to lock it away in some dark recess of the Nine Realms. See… Thor: The Dark World is in full-on nerd mode.
How the Aethor is unleashed is ridiculous and fairly hard to believe, but if you’re on-board with the rest of the celestial shenanigans going on, it’s not much more of a stretch. I imagine this, as well as later jumps in logic, are why this film wasn’t as well received as the original, but I don’t think this should matter in a film like this. The first film sold the “Norse gods are real in this world” thing exceptionally well, so the sequel is more about having fun with their lush, cosmic world than bringing true realism to the screen. There will always be naysayers hoping to ruin the fun, but Thor: The Dark World never strives for cinematic gold so we shouldn’t hold it to that standard. Honestly, when the opening minutes of a film feature a strange-looking alien wielding what can best be described as a bazooka amidst a battle in a cliched fantasy setting, I can only laugh and enjoy. These Marvel movies know the quickest way to my heart.
I do wish that Thor was a little more front and center in the film, though. I haven’t seen The Avengers since its theatrical run, but it felt like Thor got a lot more iconic moments in that film than in his own. Lots of time is spent with the supporting characters here, and while that goes a long way to fleshing out Asgard and the rest of Thor’s world, I definitely needed more swingin’ Mjölnir. But despite this, what is here is very good and entertaining, even if while you’re watching it you’re aware that in some ways it could be better. And once again, Loki is a standout element to the film, with Tom Hiddleston nailing his trickster spirit to the letter.
If you’re enjoying where the Marvel universe films have been heading, Thor: The Dark World is another success sure to entertain. And mega-nerds like myself will enjoy the first post-credits scene that gives us the first definitive glimpse at where Marvel is most likely taking the films. I won’t spoil it, but if they do what I’m thinking and pull it off, it’s going to be cosmic and incredible. I can’t wait! Thor: The Dark World is prime fantasy entertainment. Put your nerd hat on and enjoy!