SPOILER-FREE SECTION: In order to be as “un-spoilery” as I can, I won’t be giving too many details regarding the plot of Thor 2 in this section. This part of the review will focus mostly on the generic plot and my review score. After this paragraph, there may be mild spoilers.
The basic plot of the movie revolves around a weapon called “The Aether” (pronounced ether). Malekith (played by Christopher Eccleston) is a dark elf that wants to use the Aether in order to return the universe to the time of eternal darkness when the dark elves will again rule. This does not sit well for Thor (Chris Hemsworth), especially after the Aether comes into contact with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). Fights ensue, Asgardians die, Dark Elves die, the plot is resolved and then we wait for the two separate credit scenes. Obviously this is giving the movie short shrift in terms of developing the plot, but I really don’t want to spoil anything for any of you that have yet to go see it. My score for this movie is A-. It is highly recommended, especially if you have enjoyed the Marvel movies thus far.
Everything from this point on may be a little spoilery.
The characters in Thor: The Dark World are well represented. Once again we have Thor, Jane, Loki, Eric, Darcy, Frigga (Thor’s mom), Lady Sif and the Warriors Three and Heimdall. The most surprising omission was the lack of S.H.I.E.L.D. Each of the characters that have returned from the previous movie are well done with the stand-outs being Thor, Loki and Rene Russo as Frigga. Chris Hemsworth has, I think, finally settled himself into the role of Thor. By the beginning/middle of the movie I was seeing him as Thor, rather than as someone playing Thor.
Tom Hiddleston is Loki. This is not to say that someone else couldn’t come in and play the character, but much like with Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker, anyone that plays this part after Hiddleston will have large shoes to fill. I realized this during a prison break sequence and Thor comes around a corner, and then LOKI comes around the corner. Nothing is even said, but the smile and the swagger of Loki did so much to tell us about the character that he almost needn’t have said a word.
Frigga has a larger role in this movie than in the last and the deepening of her character, I think, was well worth the time. One of my criticisms (which will be mentioned again later) is that this movie gives less time to breathe than I would have liked. Scenes with Frigga are breathing scenes (mostly) and aid in the enjoyment of her character.
Many have criticized Natalie Portman’s portrayal of Jane Foster as “wooden.” I don’t experience wooden with her portrayal, instead experiencing “awkward.” I think that her character has grown a great deal between the two movies and perhaps Jane Foster is simply a socially awkward person.
Final words on character; I don’t think that any character failed in his or her interpretation of the role. I do think that there were some missed opportunities in terms of growth and development, but some of those things that I saw may be set-ups for the inevitable “Thor 3”.
The story, simple though it may be, is fun and engaging. Any fight scene involving Loki is very good. The battle he had with Thor at the end of the first movie where he is able to hold his own is on display here as well. The fight scenes in this movie, in general, are well done, often presenting a cohesive picture of what the fight looks like.
The comedy throughout the movie, while sometimes distracting, is done well and occasionally evokes a chuckle.
The funeral scene in this movie is one of the best that I have seen in a very long time.
The different realms felt different. When moving from one to another, I didn’t feel as though we were just looking at the same world with different weather.
This movie has the best cameo since Bill Murray in Zombieland. You’ll know it when you see it.
It is always easier to critique than it is to compliment. Most of us are wired to find the negative. With that in mind, I shall strive to avoid nit-picking.
Eric Selvig seems to have an aversion to pants in this movie. For such a serious character in the first movie, this is odd. His behavior is only given a single line of explanation and it isn’t enough.
Darcy, the one-liner spouting intern from the first movie, is now a one-liner spouting intern in the second movie. She’s a fun character, but I can’t help feeling that she is trying really hard to be Zooey Deschanel in her affectation.
“Mjolnir’s Big Adventure:” It happens at the end, you’ll see it. Like me, you will probably find it funny at first and then not again until talking about it with your friends.
Many of the fight scenes involving Thor and one other person remind me (unpleasantly) of the fight scenes in Transformers. They are shot too closely and so there isn’t much that the audience can see of the fight.
Thor 2: The Dark World is a fun ride and a worthwhile ticket. I fully enjoyed watching the continuing adventures of Thor and Co. The original Thor is a pre-requisite to understanding this movie, but I can only remember three instances where one would need to have seen The Avengers to understand the joke or comment. In that way, this movie succeeds in telling a story on its own without needing the entire backlog of Marvel movies to make sense. Once again, this movie comes highly
recommended, and I give it an A-.
Final Score: A-
PS—There are two credit sequence scenes. The first is a set-up to more of the Marvel Universe, the second (at the very end) is a partial resolution of one of the questions of the movie and a joke that leads to more questions.