[This is a review of the 2D version of “Thor: The Dark World”]
Continuing the momentum of “Iron Man 3,” “Thor: The Dark World” continues with Phase Two of the current set of Marvel Films. While not as successful as “Iron Man 3,” “Thor: The Dark World” has dabs of greatness, but suffers from bad pacing and lackluster villain.
Set two years after “The Avengers,” “Thor: The Dark World” continues to flesh out the galactic part of the Marvel Universe. Starting off with a prologue, Odin narrates how his Father, Bor, clashed with the evil forces of The Dark Elves and their leader, Malekith. Trying to harness the powers of an ancient artifact known as “The Aether,” Malekith wishes to plunge the world into darkness, because that’s what Dark Elves do. In a last ditch effort to save himself, Malekith sacrifices his army and escapes leaving “The Aether” in the hands of Bor, hiding it away so it could never be found.
Fast forward to current day, Thor travels with Lady Sif and The Warriors Three (Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg), saving The Nine Realms from dark forces. Having unprecedented peace, Odin wishes to see Thor take his place as King of Asgard, but Thor only wishes to travel back to Earth and be with Jane Foster. On Earth, Foster is investigating strange portals that are opening in England that may have to do with The Asguardians. She mistakenly stumbles into one of these portals and gets infected with “The Aether.” Sensing that something is amiss, Thor finds Foster and brings her back to Asgard for protection. With “The Aether” activated, Malekith returns to reclaim his treasure and plunge the world into darkness. Thor not knowing how to stop them seeks help in his imprisoned brother, Loki.
There are also problems between Thor and Odin; the Sif, Foster and Thor romance triangle; Foster’s earth friends subplot; the development of Malekith; and of course, Loki.
Needless to say, there is a lot going on in this movie.
Running at 111 minutes, The Dark World rushes through the story so fast that none of these storylines are given enough time to develop.
One of the bigger disappointments is Christopher Ecceltson as Malekith, being that his character is just not as complex as Loki. Malekith’s basic plan and motivation of “I want to rule the world” is nowhere near as interesting as anything Loki is planning throughout the film. That’s the problem with Thor’s villain gallery: they are just never as interesting as Loki.
Not only does the film have a pacing problem, but this is the first film in the modern Marvel film era where it’s clearly paced like a comic. By the end of The Dark World, the film suddenly stops leaving a huge cliffhanger and further insight on what “Thor 3” may be. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but unlike a monthly comic films take a bit longer to be released. With Marvel’s schedule of films planned until late 2015, it may be three years until we see the ramifications of what the end of The Dark World entails. That’s a pretty long wait.
But not all is lost, because the main strength of the first film is still here with Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Tom Hiddleston as Loki. Hiddleston is still unpredictable as Loki and plays his role extremely well, never letting the audience or his brother know what he’s really getting at. Together with Hemsworth, Thor and Loki have this great “buddy cop” dynamic and it makes me wish that the film spent more time showing them together. There are also solid performances from Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Idris Elba as Heimdall, and Kat Dennings and Stellan Skarsgård as Foster’s earth crew. There’s even a fun cameo of Chris O’ Dowd as a man who’s trying to date Foster (making it a funnier cameo if you think of it as his character Roy from The IT Crowd).
Director Alan Taylor does a good job of bringing his “Game of Thrones” experience, creating some fun action scenes including the climatic final fight between Thor and Malekith.
“Thor: The Dark World” isn’t a bad film, but it never becomes as good as the performances of the cast. As good as Hiddleston and Hemsworth are, the story pacing is so quick and bloated that not enough time is left to develop anything. It still on-par with the first film, and the end result sets up some fun things with future installments.
Also, that post credit sequence is bananas. Guardians of the Galaxy is going to be something pretty awesome.
image from uk.movies.yahoo.com