Written by: Derek Smith
I have to admit something before I write this review: By the time Phase 1 of the Marvel movies came around, I wasn’t too much of a Marvel guy outside of Spider-man and the Hulk. I never really cared too much for Thor, as I never got too much into the comics around that time (which are a must-read today by the way). I never had too much exposure to him and the first Thor movie was a great experience, even though it had its flaws. Thor: The Dark World brings the god of thunder back with a bang, proving to be an extremely entertaining example of how well Marvel can make movies.
Overall, the presentation of this thunderous sequel is outstanding. With the increased budget of Marvel mega-bucks being poured into the production, Asgard looks even more beautiful than before. I got to watch the first Thor movie on my laptop while waiting for the midnight release, and it seemed that Asgard was more colorful and was more expanded than its predecessor.
The fight scenes were very well illustrated as well. There was a lot of destruction, but yet no overkill. It helped with keeping the mood intense which aided the weaker villain, but more on that later. One thing I noticed is that there were a wide variety of landscapes where fight scenes took place. This is where you will see some movies make certain fight scenes more exciting than the other, but Marvel does a great job of making every fight scene entertaining. I never found myself waiting for a certain scene to be over because while I was ready to see what was next, I was still enjoying what was presently on the screen.
The storytelling was different than I expected. The overall plot was in itself solid, but it was how it progressed which made it strong. The on-screen chemistry between Hemsworth, Hiddleston, and Portman was the driving force in the story. Their interactions were both memorable and top-notch. There were also quite a few times when there were those good ol’ comic book twists that took you off guard, which were thoroughly enjoyable. I thoroughly enjoyed the strong cast of characters that continue to carry this franchise. Hemsworth is becoming one of those people to me that if anyone else every plays Thor in the future, it would be difficult for me to watch it.
However, the star of this movie, in my opinion, was easily Tom Hiddleston. His portrayal of Loki is growing to be my favorite movie character in the Marvel Universe. If Loki wasn’t such a big character in this movie, I’d probably rate it two points lower. There were times in which he was a scene stealer, but I don’t think that hurts the movie at all. He was definitely more mischievous here than in his previous appearances, which holds more true to his character in the comics. His on-screen charm brought an entertaining dynamic to the rest of the cast, seemingly bringing out the best in everyone else.
The light… it’s fantastic!
On the other end, Christopher Eccleston didn’t really capture Malekith like I expected him too, but I think that was more due to the writing of the movie plot. Outside of explaining how Malekith plays into the movie in the opening credits, there really wasn’t much progression for him as the antagonist. The movie was more focused on the interactions between Loki and Thor, rather than Thor and Malekith. Eccleston didn’t really get too many lines out of his few lines in the climax of the movie. I like to compare it to Heath Ledger’s iconic portrayal as the Joker in The Dark Knight. He had many lines in the movie that helped him further establish himself in the eyes of the audience to where whoever watched the movie had no choice but to buy into his character. I didn’t feel this way about Malekith. In fact, I feel I didn’t really know much about him at all. He was present on screen as the antagonist, but I feel I didn’t have the time needed to buy into his character. It probably didn’t help that I was secretly waiting on him to say the word “fantastic”, even though he never did, but that is the Whovian in me coming out. Nevertheless, I think the missing component in Eccleston’s Malekith is simply the need for more time. Much like Eccleston’s time as The Doctor, his portrayal of Malekith was cut too short.
Overall, I would recommend Thor to anyone who enjoys fun action movies. Despite the holes in the storyline, this sequel proved to be even more entertaining than its predecessor. It’s easy to say that Marvel simply knows how to make movies. With Joss Whedon overseeing the production of these movies, I have much confidence in whatever movie has his name attached to it.
Because I go back and forth between an 8 and an 8.5 rating, I give Thor: The Dark World an 8.3/10