I don’t have many bad things to say about Thor: The Dark world (which I’ll refer to as Thor 2) because for the most part I very much enjoyed this film. This movie is a lot of fun; that’s probably the best thing you can say about Thor 2, something that a lot of summer blockbusters tend to miss. It looks amazing and hits all the right action and comedy notes to keep you entertained throughout. The worst thing you could probably say about Thor 2 is that it doesn’t push any boundaries and for a movie with Thor as the main title character, his brother once again out shines him.
Loki, though he is relegated to prison cell for a good piece of the story, is easily the best part of this movie. He steals the spotlight whenever he’s on screen. The thing with Loki is that it would have been so easy to cast him as malevolent villain and left it as that. Instead they did the much more challenging thing and made him into a flushed out character in his own right. Loki is Thor’s brother, so of course there will be some sibling rivalry, but that’s what makes their story so interesting, it goes deeper than just heroes versus villains. Loki can be good and you understand his perspective, even if you don’t agree with it, but he lets his jealousy and desire for power control him. Loki is by far the most interesting character here; even when surrounded by Anthony Hopkin’s Odin and Idris Elba’s Heimdall (who is once again bad ass).
Thor himself is as you’d expect him to be, he’s got a hammer and likes to hit people with it. What I did find interesting however is that you can really tell he’s matured since his first appearance on screen in the first Thor. He acts with thought and is much less heavy handed (pardon the pun).
Natalie Portman however doesn’t do much. She just seems along for the ride. Of course her presence allows for Kat Dennings to do her thing; which was quite funny. In fact this film was full of laughs, which is a part of the reason I enjoyed it so much. I love that Marvel knows how to apply the comedy in just the right places; one of the best of these moments being a certain cameo that I won’t spoil here.
The villains of this picture are the stereotypical evil for the sake of being evil plot devices. They don’t like light and want it to be dark again. They really aren’t very interesting and Christopher Eccleston is kind of wasted in his role as Malekith. The Dark Elves are really only there to give Thor and Loki something to do, which I’m fine with because watching Thor beat the crap out of stuff with his hammer is entertaining.
There are a couple scenes I want to touch on before I wrap this up. (*SPOILERS*) The first being the final scene with Thor and what we are lead to believe as Odin. I found it to be kind of touching at first, a father and son moment of understanding. But when the rug is pulled out and we see that it’s Loki I had a million questions running through my head. The foremost being, where did Odin go? Does Loki have the power to imprison his ‘father’? Is Odin dead? Regardless, it made me excited for what Thor 3 will bring. Undoubtedly more Loki and you can never go wrong with that.
The other scene I want to touch on is the mid-credits tag (*again, more spoilers*). First off, can I say how happy I am that Marvel has adopted the practice of putting the juicy stuff in a mid-credits tag rather than at the very end. It means I don’t have to wait all the way through to get to the good stuff and saves the end-credits scene for something funny and light-hearted. Anyway, the mid-credits scene featured Jamie Alexander’s Sif (How great would it have been if DC could have cast her as Wonder Woman) and Ray Stevenson’s Volstagg bringing The Aether (the evil Dark Elf weapon of darkness) to The Collector (played by Benicio Del Toro who will be reprising the role in next year’s Guardians of the Galaxy). What’s interesting here is that they refer to it as a Soul Gem (one of six of similar origin that when combined allow for dominion over all of reality). This all relates back to the image of Thanos at the end of The Avengers. In the comics Thanos is constantly searching for all of the Soul Gems so he can destroy huge swaths of the universe and court his love, Death (a humanoid representation of Death of course). It sure looks like they are ramping up for a take on the Infinity Gauntlet storyline from the comics. If that is the case, it finally feels like this whole phase 2 stuff is coming together and has got me somewhat excited for GotG, even if it did look a little cheesy. I’m now eagerly awaiting the first trailer.
Thor 2 isn’t ground breaking and it won’t be your favorite movie of 2013. But it definitely won’t be your least favorite and if you’re looking for a good time at the movies to just be entertained this will definitely fill that need.
Make sure to check out this weeks podcast as we most definitely talk about Thor: The Dark World as well as the rest of the massive Marvel news.