Thor is easily my favorite film of Marvel’s Phase 1. While I enjoyed them all, and Iron Man is a close second, the combination of Chris Hemsworth’s performance as Thor, Natalie Portman playing Jane Foster, and Kenneth Branagh’s direction made for a pretty awesome superhero movie, and I was smitten from my first viewing. Because of that, I had pretty high hopes going into Thor: The Dark World, which I’ll admit, is probably part of the reason why I feel underwhelmed by the film.
This sequel picks up with our hammer-wielding hero back on Asgard, unaware of an even bigger threat on the way. The Dark Elves who once ruled the nine realms, back before their was any light, are trying to plunge the universe into eternal darkness again. They’re helped along by Jane Foster’s chance encounter with the Aether, which happens to come at the horrible time when all nine realms are nearly in line. This awakens the Dark Elves, led by Malekith the Accursed, who rush at Asgard with the sort of vendetta that can only develop over the course of thousands of years. This means Thor has to turn to Loki for help, a decision that makes more than one in Thor’s council uneasy.
The problem I have with this Thor movie is the same one I had with The Avengers. As great as the individual parts are, and as fierce of a threat that the heroes are battling, it just doesn’t feel big enough. At no point in The Avengers, despite a foe that was capable of stopping life as we know it, did I feel like the Earth was in danger, or even America, or even anywhere other than those four blocks of New York City. In Thor, we’re dealing with a villain who’s trying to turn the nine realms back to darkness. That’s likely going to end life for a lot more than just Earth, and certainly obliterate humankind. But I never felt as if anything on Earth was in danger other than Greenwich and nothing outside of Earth was in danger except Asgard.
I get that Marvel is a Disney company, but they’d be wise to take a long look at Man Of Steel or even Star Trek Into Darkness and show the mass carnage that these villains’ schemes would result in. I mean they show Thor snapping necks, what does it matter if the Dark Elves destroy some small European country?
Aside from the shortfalls in the epicness department, the first half of the movie feels rushed. It seems like they’re just jumping from scene to scene, setting up a lot of things that ultimately never pay off. They aren’t rushing through the story in the sense of something so action-packed that it’s hard to keep up, but rather it seems like things aren’t really connected, and it’s jarring how fast things move. The pacing issues are glaring, and the film would’ve been well-suited to have an additional fifteen minutes to breathe in the first act.
Other than the issues I have with the scope of this, Thor: The Dark World is still a pretty sweet superhero flick. Chris Hemsworth is better than ever as everyone’s favorite demigod, and Tom Hiddleston… just wow. I’ll admit, I wasn’t on the Loki solo-film bandwagon after The Avengers, but after watching The Dark World, I would be absolutely thrilled if we got a full feature for Loki. Hiddleston is just about perfect in the role, and every second that he’s on screen is way more enjoyable than the time he’s off it. The scene where he transforms into a series of people in front of Thor, including the Cap, is absolutely hilarious, but his serious, sinister scenes are no less great. Bring on a Loki movie and bring it fast!
The best part of Thor’s story, at least the cinematic one, is the relationship between him and Loki. In this addition to the saga, that strength remains strong, as the story develops further, and is completely compelling throughout. The way it leaves their story off has me on the edge of my seat, and I can’t wait until the next Marvel movie explores it further.
Oddly enough, perhaps my favorite part of the entire movie is the credits. I don’t mean that as some bitter backhanded slap. I really don’t mean it as anything against the actual movie, I’m simply trying to give credit where credit is due for a phenomenal credits sequence. Also, I’m not talking about the post-credit scene. I’m talking about the actual credits. With me? Okay good. The artwork that plays during the credits for the main cast is absolutely phenomenal. It is as good as some of the best opening credit sequences, and those are the things that usually get all the praise. I really appreciate that they was able to do something wonderful with the most-overlooked part of a movie.
While I’m disappointed with Thor: The Dark World, it’s still another quality flick from Marvel, showing that even when they aren’t on the top of their game, they’re still capable of crafting an entertaining and compelling movie. The action sequences are great, and all the acting is spot-on, the film just could’ve used a bit more story in its first half and a bit more destruction at the end.
Tags: Thor: The Dark World