With each new installment in the Marvel movie franchise I increasingly find myself walking out saying, "Yup, that was another Marvel movie." Thor: The Dark World is no different. I don't say this with any negativity, I'm merely saying if you've seen one you've seen them all and if you want to see another just wait a few months and one will come knocking.
Certainly Joss Whedon's The Avengers was far more grandiose in size and scope, bringing all the heroes together in one massive picture, but in terms of story and execution, once again the sky is opening up and a portal to another dimension poses a threat. Granted, in Thor 2 it's not only the Earth that faces annihilation, but the entire universe. Nevertheless, global destruction is global destruction, and our puny human brains can only comprehend so much destruction at once.
"Thor: The Dark World" is a Walt Disney Pictures release, directed by Alan Taylor and is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content. The running time is .
The cast includes Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Zachary Levi, Stellan Skarsgård, Christopher Eccleston, Alice Krige, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Anthony Hopkins, Rene Russo, Idris Elba, Jaimie Alexander, Richard Brake and Chris O'Dowd.
The Dark World begins with some back-story that will later be repeated, introducing us to the villainous Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) and his Dark Elves. Malekith, for whatever reason, wants to plunge the universe into darkness and he's got some intergalactic element referred to as the Aether to help him along the way. He failed on his first attempt, stopped by Thor's grandfather, and the Aether was discarded onto a planet... somewhere... rather than guarded for reasons I'm not entirely sure I understand. Something about how this film would have then been exactly like the last one if that had been the case.
So, several years later, the Aether is back in play, Malekith is back on the prowl, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is in captivity in the Asgard dungeon following his attempt to rule Earth in The Avengers, Jane (Natalie Portman) is thrust back into the storyline and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) must find out a way to save the day.
This is Thor 2 in a nutshell with a variety of supporting characters included to liven things up from Stellan Skarsgård running around in his underwear, Idris Elba taking down spaceships with a knife (quite spectacularly I must say), Anthony Hopkins as Odin being all "No Thor!" and Rene Russo really getting in on the action this time around in impressive fashion.
"Game of Thrones" director Alan Taylor takes over helming duties from Kenneth Branagh and I really can't say I can tell much of a difference. The Marvel films fit a cookie-cutter mold where action beats and witty one-liners come as part of a rhythmic formula, keeping the audience's needs sated until the credits roll, the mid-credits stinger plays and, if they've done their job, everyone walks away satisfied and ready to plunk down money for the next episode. It works and I admit to enjoying myself even though I don't know what the remote control thingy Natalie Portman was using at the end of the film even did and have no idea why a villain would want to return the universe to its pre-creation state. Not a lot makes sense in this movie and yet, it's entertaining enough as long as you're willing to forgive gaping plot holes in a story that seems like it was rushed into production.
I do have to wonder just how good it would have been without Hiddleston as Loki. The first half of the film drags quite mercilessly until the midway point where Thor must recruit Loki, despite his better judgment, to help him in stopping Malekith. Hiddleston's involvement to that point was slim, but every minute he's on the screen is a minute worth another.
The effects are big, the one-liners amusing and non-discerning audiences should be satisfied as Marvel has clearly found the recipe for cinematic success, mimicking the feeling of watching a television series, only now it's on the big screen and only includes two episodes a year. Granted, they now have the "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." to continue their theatrical marketing efforts on the small screen and who can blame them? If the people are willing to watch, give 'em what they want.