The following review contains some spoilers of the film, read at your own risk.
“How was Iron Man 3?”
“Better than 2, but not as good as the first one.”
“How was Monsters U?”
“Way better than the first one, and the best movie Pixar has made since Wall-E”.
See what I mean? When judging “Thor: The Dark World” (or Thor 2 as I’m calling it) on its own, it’s your typical action/superhero movie sequel, it advances the story, creates new problems for the hero to overcome, and attempts to raise the stakes in areas that the previous film did not. Has Thor 2 done all of these things? Meh, yes and no. The movie obliged to all the criteria listed above but in some ways left a very sour taste in my mouth when I walked out of the theater.
If I’m comparing it to another Marvel film, Thor 2 is comparable to Iron Man 2. It’s nearly the first film rehashed, with a very weak villain and seems more like a tease to a better film than holding on its own.
Don’t get me wrong though, Thor 2 is not a bad film. Even a weak Marvel movie is still better than a lot of the other stuff that’s out there. I’d take this movie over watching the majority of crap I’ve seen this year. There are a lot of positives to take away.
The acting: Chris Heimsworth and Tom Hiddleston both knock it out of the park as Thor and Loki. While Thor isn’t too complicated of a character, Hemsworth still manages to be more than a sexy body when it comes to his portrayal of the character. He is still threatening as ever when he’s on the battlefield, but in this go around, he gets to show more emotion due to it is his home, family and loved ones being at risk all under the same roof. Hiddleston on the other hand, STEALS THE SHOW AS LOKI! Loki is given more depth and such a great arch in this film that no other character comes close to him. He’s now on par with Captain America, Thor, and Hulk in terms of importance in future Marvel films. There’s a rumor going around that he won’t have a part in the upcoming “Avengers: Age Of Ultron” movie, if that’s so, Marvel is missing out, because they got themselves one of the best modern day villains in Loki.
As for the rest of the cast, Natalie Portman, and Anthony Hopkins do very well in expanded roles from the previous movie. Portman is incredible due to just how little of personality her Jane Foster character has, yet she still comes off as extremely interesting. You get to see more of Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgard, and Idris Elba this time around which is never a bad thing (however, Elba still didn’t get enough time, I really hope he gets to play a prominent role in upcoming movies). Even Rene Russo gets a little more screen time as Thor’s Mother, Frigga.
On the downside of this we have Christopher Eccleston’s (GI Joe: The Rise Of Cobra) Malekith character… Where do I begin…To be fair to Mr. Eccleston, he didn’t portray the character poorly. The character was terribly written. He had no personality, he had no fighting skills, he was barely a threat when he obtained his ultimate power. His minions were more badass than he was. At no point in the movie did I feel like he was going to succeed. Hell, Loki was more of a threat than he was and he wasn’t even the villain for most of the movie!
The character of Malekith is the overlord of a forgotten race of dark elves who were thought to be extinct long ago. They came back in this movie (I know big shocker), he and a small army are the last of their kind. Their mission, destroy the universe. So Malekith is pushing the last of his people to kill themselves in a war so that he may destroy the universe… What a genius plan. This isn’t the thing that gets me. Malekith shows no remorse, no sympathy, not even the littlest bit of emotion as his fellow man is dying around him, sacrificing themselves for his mission. Furthermore, as the leader of this group, he can’t fight. He literally gets the crap kicked out of him and nearly killed by a supporting character to whom we believed never had any fighting experience until now! So the guy can’t fight, he isn’t likable, he’s a cookie cutter cutout of an awful Saturday morning cartoon show, surely that’s something right? I’ll admit his look was interesting, but by the end of the film in the final climax, I couldn’t believe at any time this guy could beat Thor in a fight. It’s like Rob Schneider surrounding himself with Darth Vaders to take on Stallone, once you get rid of the Darth Vaders, what’s left?
The Action: The action was fantastic, the final climatic fight was very clever although hard to keep track of (sometimes it felt like they were making it up as they went along), but it still looked really good and added the right amount of humor to offset it.
The look of the film: Incredible to say the least. London, the CGI for Asgard, Stonehenge, the dark world of Svartalfheim (shot in Iceland), all looked beautiful.
The Story: The story is almost a rehash of the first film. The fish out of water story of Thor adjusting to Earth is now replaced with Natalie Portman going to Asgard and adjusting there. However, there’s enough going on this time around with Loki’s involvement and the chaos that’s going around Thor’s life to keep the film interesting. With a better villain it could have been one of the better Marvel films and would have raised the bar significantly for future Thor and other Marvel characters installments. I give this movie a 2.5 out of 4, it’s a good superhero movie, but not great.
By the way, STAY THROUGH THE ENTIRE CREDITS. THERE ARE 2 SURPRISE SCENES (including the creepiest Davie Bowe impersonator I have ever seen)