Action Movie Fanatix Review: Thor: The Dark World

Action Movie Fanatix review banner for Thor: The Dark World

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston, Jaimie Alexander, Zachary Levi, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Idris Elba, Rene Russo, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgard, Chris O’Dowd

Director: Alan Taylor

2013  |  112 Minutes  |  PG-13

“Some believe that before the universe, there was nothing. They’re wrong. There was darkness… and it has survived.” – Odin

After Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) finds the Aether, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) brings her to Asgard for healing.  In doing so, he has also caught the attention of Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) and his Dark Elves who look to use the Aether to destroy the universe.

The original Thor movie caught me off guard.  I didn’t know what to expect and thought it could have very easily been a very cheesy affair.  Luckily it was awesome, perfectly blending the high fantasy of the Thor comic books with the real world feel needed for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Now, with Thor: The Dark World, Marvel looks to double down on their success with Asgardian action.

Chris Hemsworth’s Thor is such a joy to watch after being a fan of the comic book character for so long.  He has the look.  He has the goofy way of talking.  He has a sense of humor.  And he’s SUPER badass!

Anthony Hopkins is absolutely perfect for the Odin role.  His years of respect built on his amazing body of work make it easy to revere him as the king of all of Asgard.

It might have been a downer to see Loki as the bad guy AGAIN except that he’s so darn fun to watch.  In The Dark World, Tom Hiddleston manages to actually make us feel for the trickster before again giving us reason to hate him.

One of the big complaints I have seen levied against Thor: The Dark World is the characterization of the two main bad guys, Malekith and Kurse.  I will concede that the characters are pretty thin, especially Kurse, but I’m not a proponent of NEEDING to have motivations and understandings for all bad guys in every movie ever made.  Sometimes bad guys are just bad guys and they need to be stopped.

My bigger complaint is the human characters, played by Natalie Portman and Kat Dennings.  I found both of them to be obnoxious… to the point where I don’t want to see Thor and Jane Foster together.  Thor’s too good for her.

The death of Frigga is probably THE most emotional scene we had seen up to this point in a Marvel movie.  Many critiques of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe have charged that the movies are too light-hearted and are more comedies than action/drama movies.  It’s scenes like this that handily put those complaints to bed.  You wanna talk about Marvel movie deaths not meaning anything?  Think again.

The opening scene manages to feel quite violent despite having no blood and gives us a decent backstory for the Dark Elves thirst for vengeance.  There are plenty of dark elves being stabbed and killed.

I have probably said it before but I am always amazed at just how different each and every Marvel movie is from each other.  And yet the interconnectivity of all these different films keeps getting better and better.  The continuity errors aren’t there or aren’t glaring so it feels like the universe just gets deeper and deeper with each passing movie.  I love it!

While the original Thor movie managed to introduce us to Asgard and then brought the fight to Earth, The Dark World almost does the exact opposite.  The movie actually takes on a little bit of a LOTR and/or Star Wars feel, depending on the scene.  The invented language for the Dark Elves adds to the depth and believability of the universe.

It’s interesting that Odin, Thor and Loki were called out specifically as not-gods… a technicality as Loki quickly points out but still very interesting.  It’s also interesting that Jane Foster points out that some Asgardian technology is similar to some of her sciency mumbo jumbo from back on Earth.  I don’t know if this will ultimately lead to anything of greater significance down the line or not but I found these revelations intriguing to say the least.

I don’t understand all the complaints that Thor: The Dark World is too light-hearted.  Maybe if you put a lot of weight on the scenes on Midgard I can sort of see your point but who’s focusing on Midgard when you have all the action and drama going on on Asgard?  Thor: The Dark has some of the most meaningful deaths of any Marvel movie to date and honestly probably has the second most “unimportant” deaths next to The Avengers.

Despite its flaws, Thor: The Dark World is still a can’t miss Marvel movie for most action movie and comic book movie fans.  It may be one of the worst Marvel movies they have ever put out but it’s still pretty dang good.

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