Thor: The Dark World
Thor: The Dark World 2013
Choosing a specific genre for this site brought about some factors that I had’t considered when I first started it almost two years ago now. One is that “superhero” isn’t really a genre, I had briefly considered going for Fantasy as my genre of choice, but there are so few sword and sorcery fantasy movies out there, and even fewer good ones barring the Lord of the Rings. And another is the fact that because I don’t review everything, that means that the new releases that I review are very much dependent on the release schedule, and the superhero “genre” if it may be called that is something of an oddity. It tends to be very summer heavy, with over two-thirds of the big theatrical releases happening in that one three month period, and once the summer’s over there’s a giant dead zone until the next summer rolls around so it’s been almost 3 months since the release of Kick-Ass 2 which was the last superhero movie of the season. Not only that, but this Thor movie itself is a bit of an odd beast when you look at it compared to other superhero movies. It’s very different from the first Thor, where a large part of the film took place on Earth where Thor was the superhero alien god come down to Earth. This movie is much more of a fantasy movie with sci-fi elements where Norse gods and dark elves are fighting each other along with the occasional sci-fi gun and Earth only shows up once in a while. That said, it really played to my love of fantasy movies and I enjoyed every minute of it, from the fantasy battles, the Marvel humor, to the sci-fi monkey wrenches that made it that much more fun. As a note, I tend to avoid tiptoeing around spoilers, and there are a couple surprises in this movie that I will be talking about, you have been warned.
While this is widely considered Thor 2, there is no actual “2” in the title, nor is there one on any of the upcoming slate of Marvel movies, and I actually like that idea overall even though many years down the line it might be harder to figure out what is the correct order to view them in if someone’s coming into them fresh if they make it to Thor 5. But this movie feels much like a direct sequel to the original Thor, with the requisite references to the Avengers. Thor is doing his princely duties setting himself up to be the future king, Loki is sent to a life in the dungeons, renouncing his father, but not his mother. But there’s a new villain which is actually an ancient enemy in the dark elves. Now of course, being familiar with fantasy myself, I’m used to the R. A. Salvatore/D&D vision of dark elves, the dark skinned, white haired, scimitar wielding elves. Instead we get pale skinned elves that came from the darkness before the universe existed and were thought to be wiped out by Odin’s father. At first, I thought that actually made more sense, that creatures of darkness wouldn’t need to have any pigment in their skin, until one of the dark elves showed up with dark skin, and of course he’s the one that becomes one of the “Kursed” and gives his soul to the darkness.
These dark elves are led by Malekith who gives a very menacing performance, and yet he never really gets the chance to give much of a show of force. I also didn’t understand one of his earlier decisions. Somehow he manages to sneak his Kursed soldier into the Asgardian dungeons so he is able to make a grand escape and diversion while the rest of the dark elves make their attack. During the attack, the elves are a force to be reckoned with and are able to take down Asgard’s shields, and yet they retreat for some unknown reason. I don’t understand why they didn’t just continue to press the attack until they got what they wanted. I will say that I really liked the concept of what I can only describe as mini black hole grenades, it looked great, it played great, and it was something that to me was unique and new.
On the heroic side, both Thor and Loki have great arcs in this movie. Thor is very different from how he was in the first movie. He is much more of the consummate hero, and has learned from his past mistakes, for the most part. Loki is as mischievous as ever and has a lot of great funny moments, especially when there’s a brief cameo by Chris Evans. But the Shakespearean family drama from the first movie is continued just as strongly in this movie, with the death of their mother, reconciliation of the two brothers amid trickery and betrayal. I will say that I was quite happy with most of it, and shows a natural progression of their characters. And while it was played as a surprise, I was not fooled for a moment during the false betrayal and final redemption of Loki. I am slightly disappointed that they just couldn’t get rid of such a popular character as Loki and revealed his final trickery too soon.
The characters on Earth were a lot of fun, I enjoyed every minute of Kat Dennings as Darcy, and while I did think that the direction they took with Erik Selvig was funny, I didn’t quite see how it helped the story. It was also a bit of an easy excuse to set the scenes on Earth in England to avoid any complaints asking why other heroes didn’t show up to help, combined with the fact that the climactic events on Earth took place over the course of only a half hour or less. I also really liked the converging worlds which added a lot of kinetic energy to the climactic battle when they are warping from place to place and realm to realm. And as with all of these Marvel movies, there are a couple post credits sequences. One is very cryptic unless you’re familiar with the source material involving the Collector and one of the Infinity stones which relates to Thanos who is quite possibly still 6 or more movies down the line. The second is more of a fun scene with Thor, Jane, and a big alien beastie. I had a lot of fun with this movie and enjoyed it more than the first Thor. I’m not sure where it places if I were to rank the Marvel Studios movies, but it was a fun ride and the few complaints I had with the movie were very minor. Very much worth a watch. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.