Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.
Year 2, Film #36
THE REVIEW: When I saw Thor way back in July of last year, I ended my review by saying, “Seeing Thor makes me want to see the sequel just to get another look at Asgard,” and that’s exactly what I got with Thor: The Dark World. Everything I enjoyed about the original was back and I got to learn more about this universe, these characters, and of course, watch life on Earth come to an end yet another time.
My biggest complaint about the first film was that the Earth storyline seemed like an afterthought and there should be more of the other nine realms. With The Dark World, I have nothing to complain about in that department. The film starts off with a wonderful prologue, akin to the opening of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, where not only do you get the driving force of the film — the Aether — but you also get a whole bunch of mythology and backstory. You learn about the creation of the universe (and the darkness that came before it), the Dark Elves and the Kursed, and the convergence of the nine realms. As I’ve said before with other comic book films, and other films based on novels (The Hobbit is a prime example), most of the time I haven’t read the material beforehand. So, I always want the biggest info-dump possible so I can get the depth of knowledge I would if I actually took the time to read the comics, but it can’t be too much otherwise the entertainment value will lessen. In Thor: The Dark World, that balance is handled perfectly. Never was I confused at what was going on (a sign of not enough information), but there was still a sense of mystery and uncertainty as to what would happen next.
I won’t bother to describe all the fantastic action scenes and visuals because you’re all used to those by now. The film is visually stunning, as is to be expected, and really helped to show and expand upon these worlds. Action-wise, it kept tension building throughout as is also expected, and there were even a few twists that caught me off guard and dropped my jaw (one in particular had a double-whammy effect). Another element of the film that requires mentioning is the humor. As has been the case with all the Marvel movies, there’s been a certain level and style of humor present. Especially in The Avengers, you get to see this camaraderie between the characters and the very lighthearted atmosphere these relationships create, despite the intensity and gravity of the situations they’re in. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) by far provides the funniest moments in the film, followed closely by Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) and Darcy (Kat Dennings).
My criticism of the film is for something that’s really out of its control and that is originality. And I hesitate to mention this at all because Thor: The Dark World doesn’t try to be original; it tries to provide an entertaining two hours to audiences and it delivers on that. But while it is fun to watch and easy to sit back and relax, there is that sense of complacency. The real issue with these types of films, and why I mention it here, is that there is a limit to the enjoyment whereas an equally entertaining yet original and groundbreaking film (like Gravity for example) can be so engrossing and so mind-blowing, that you think about it for days afterward and it becomes a topic of conversation. This isn’t to call Thor: The Dark World out in particular, many films now fall under this same critique. It’s just that I’ve never put this into words until now and verbalized why a blockbuster film such as this tends to not get a perfect five stars.
Thor: The Dark World is a great experience for fans of the comic book, or like me, fans of the Marvel films. If the reaction from the audience is any indication, when the first post-credits scene started playing, someone a few rows behind me went wild and kicked his feet against the ground loudly; to say he was excited would be an understatement. And I think there’s something there for everyone, whether it be visuals, story, or characters, you’ll enjoy the 112 minutes you spend watching this movie. (Note: there are indeed two post-credits scenes. The first provides a hint at the next films and as I alluded to above, is very mysterious and intriguing. The second, which appears all the way at the end — but before the words “Thor will return” (what, is this a James Bond movie?) — is an epilogue to this film and is very Avengers-esque.)
Thor: The Dark World opens in theaters this Friday, November 8, 2013.
THE RATING: 4 out of 5