Movie Reviews

'Thor: The Dark World' (2013) Movie Review

Another in a long line of Marvel movies that fits a cookie-cutter mold

Thor 2: The Dark World movie review
Chris Hemsworth in Thor: The Dark World
Photo: Marvel / Disney

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'
Review
Grade: C-

Thor: The Dark World"Thor: The Dark World" is a Walt Disney Pictures release, directed by 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 , , , , , , , , , , , , and .

For more information on this film including pictures, trailers and a detailed synopsis .

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.

GRADE: C-
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  • http://sweetspotcinema.libsyn.com Disco Paco

    I bet a friend that this film will make fewer than $90 million on opening weekend in the domestic box office. In your opinion, who wins the bet?

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Django/ Django

      I think your friend has a high chance of winning although i can't really 'feel' much buzz about the film.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheLastEquivocationofBrist/ TheLastEquivocationofBrist

    This movie sounds like a Power Rangers episode or something. Granted, I loved Power Rangers when I was four, and I'll probably "enjoy" Thor on the same terms you did.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/topyxyz/ topyxyz

    B- for me. And that's the lowest one for me since the first Iron Man.

  • http://cineenuruguay.com/ Driver

    I'm not surprised or disappointed about this, I guess that's the feeling you're talking about Brad.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Deliciousky/ David Delaney

    Tom Hiddleston as Loki and the impressive dimension jumping finale aside, this film was just all kinds of dire. It's not often I encounter a film where on one hand the screenwriters have enough faith in us to follow their complex and convoluted plot but at the same time think so little of us that the dialogue is so predictable and cliche ridden that it borders on patronising. Scratch that, it is patronising. It's a bit of a pity that Joss Whedons Avengers legacy is going imitation of his dialogue without the verve and wit. Also, Kat Dennings .... worse than Hitler.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheLastEquivocationofBrist/ TheLastEquivocationofBrist

      You had me until "worse than Hitler." The combination of convolution and cliche sounds a lot like the second and third Pirates of the Caribbean movies though.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Deliciousky/ David Delaney

        Ha, bit of sensationalism there I suppose. But every word out of her mouth was just irritating. Between this and 2 broke girls, how on earth is she still working ? The other thing that really annoyed me about the film is its constant shift in tone. It has a serious moment but then panics and thinks we can't handle something so somber. What we get then is an aggregious cameo or Stellan Skarsgard in his jocks. It completely releases the pressure but in a bad way. No such thing as weaving levity into the plot naturally. It's just all too forced.

    • Coline Camps

      Agreed.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/maja/ maja

    No surprises here. After watching Iron Man 3 I have finally given up on the Marvel films and will probably never watch any new ones unless they turn up on a flight.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ian/ Ian

      Agreed.

  • adu

    I love how the bad guys continually threaten to destroy the world/universe...what the hell do they plan on doing once that is achieved...play jenga with the building pieces!?

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheLastEquivocationofBrist/ TheLastEquivocationofBrist

      This is another thing The Dark Knight did well. The Joker wanted to cause chaos and misery and oppose Batman...in Gotham. He didn't want to destroy the whole universe (which isn't crazy or believably evil, it's just stupid).

      • adu

        Agreed, the idea there was both different & interesting at least.

      • yrabadi

        Yep - it's why that story work so well... Self-contained and believable. More relatable to the viewer to boot. Makes for a more compelling piece of cineam.

  • Paul Hennen

    While I know I will love this film, it is true, after this one we'll be waiting for "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" followed by "X Men: Days Of Future Past," "Amazing Spider Man 2," etc. Now I now some of these don't fit into the episode line but they are in the same universe, especially since Magneto's kids will be in "Avengers 2: Age Of Ultron" and there is also "Ant-Man." I will never complain though as long as they are good...and if they make an iron man movie with a real Mandarin...stupid Shane Black...

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Django/ Django

    Sounds like a unenthusiastic rental. The first one was pretty forgettable.

    • Coline Camps

      I liked Thor 1! Okay, I mostly liked Loki and everything else was already-seen, already-done; but I thought he was worth it enought to go see it on big screen.

      Thor2, not so much... like, at all.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/JimmyDiamies/ Jimmy Diamies

    I never really appreciated Loki as much as everyone else seemed to until this movie. I liked him in Thor and The Avengers but would have enjoyed those movies for what they were regardless. In The Dark World, he was the reason I left the theatre having enjoyed another installment. I was very disappointed with the movie until he got involved and from there all the dialogue seemed better and I became more interested in where the story was heading. B-

  • http://www.silverscreenriot.com SmartFilm

    Again, I rather enjoyed Thor: The Dark World. I completely agree that it fits the mold but if they're churning out really tasty sugar cookies, I'm not gonna halt the production. I like the flavor, I'm all for the inventive last act showdowns, here I thought the scope of the film to include all the other realms was really spot on and almost all of the action sequences worked really well.

    But I guess more and more I'm realizing that I'm actually kind of a superhero nerd because I consistently like these superhero movies more than other blockbusters. As such, I'd rather watch the next Marvel installment over anything the likes of Pacific Rim, Lone Ranger, Ender's Game, etc, etc. I understand superhero fatigue and I totally have no interest in writing about the next stupid piece of marketing material Marvel churns out, but they're nearly universally loved for a reason.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheLastEquivocationofBrist/ TheLastEquivocationofBrist

      If you say universally liked, I'm with you. Nothing is universally loved. That's the key question for filmmakers: do they set out to be liked by everyone, or to be loved by some?

      • http://www.silverscreenriot.com SmartFilm

        Yeah, you're absolutely right, "loved" is too overzealous. "Liked" or "enjoyed" fits better.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Newbourne/ Newbourne

        Liked by everyone is probably more profitable.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

      I completely agree on your first paragraph.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/CoryS./ Cory S.

    Nolan's trilogy is looking better and better with each installment of the Marvel universe. And I say this as a fan of this film. It's enjoyable but Brad's on the money. Marvel has their template and they will never deviate from it...especially with Disney over their heads.

    I'll gladly take more Man of Steels and X-Men's than what Marvel/Disney keeps dishing out.

    But, if I had to choose one franchise in this universe, it's this one because they have the most interesting characters and the cast has wonderful chemistry even though they have nothing to play with in these films.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      Agree with you entirely on this franchise over the other Marvel films and I hope people don't look at this review as overly negative. I actually enjoy both Thor films, the first probably being my favorite of the entire franchise so far. The characters are far more interesting. The films, however, fit into a mold and all you're left with are those few characters and not much else to really get excited about and even then they are limited in what they can do inside such a confined working space.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/CoryS./ Cory S.

        Absolutely correct. If Feige just loosen the reins, this franchise could be something special because, no matter how cheap that first film looks, Branagh nailed the casting.
        It just feels to me that they're not entirely convinced that the Thor characters are on the same level as the Iron Man franchise, which I think is insane considering the beautiful family dynamic at the heart of this franchise and the fact that it also has the absolute most interesting villain 8 films in.
        It's just frustrating to see the potential squandered. Hemsworth is just fantastic and I just feel they're wasting him. I have no doubt that he'll just be the muscle in Avengers 2 which really sucks.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Newbourne/ Newbourne

        It's no secret I've lambasted The Avengers every chance I got, but it's also no secret that I'm an ardent Thor defender, praising it as the best one of the series. I'm glad you agree with me on that, but you did give Avengers an A while you gave Thor a B-. So what changed your mind??

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/JNFilms/ JN Films

      Batman vs. Superman is (sadly) looking better everyday because of the quantity vs. quality factor from Marvel/Disney. X-Men: Days of Future Past and The Amazing Spiderman 2 gotta get more tickets because of this, right?

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheLastEquivocationofBrist/ TheLastEquivocationofBrist

    I've probably mentioned this before, but it really gets me when I think of my enthusiasm for superhero films ten years ago vs. now. Yes, I was a teenager ten years ago and now I'm older. But I don't think that's the main factor in this case. The movies have just worn out their welcome. All the Marvel movies may be passable ways to spend a couple hours, but I can't get excited for them anymore.

    When Sam Raimi's first Spider-Man came out though? I was lovin' it. This is what sequelization does. Hollywood takes something you love and beats it into the ground so many times it loses all its magic.

  • Zack Sparrow

    I'm excited, but only because I feel obligated to be. They're all starting to blend together.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheLastEquivocationofBrist/ TheLastEquivocationofBrist

      Excited because you feel obligated to be, that's exactly what Marvel is going for.

  • Marie

    Loved it. It is entertainment pure and simple. Nothing deep nor preachy, unlike Man Of Steel and it's boorish tone. No it is fun.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

      I kind of get where your going on the likes of Man Of Steel but I think calling it 'deep' is considerably over-praising the end result.

      Certainly it was possessed of that Nolan sense of self importance which afflicts all his films but which their content increasingly of late cannot match, but for all it's efforts it had no real heft or depth.

      In that sense, Marvel at least do what they say they'll do on the tin. Which is fine. It won't be for everyone and nor should it. But it certainly by now should avoid any confusion about what's on offer.

      • Marie

        I was being sarcastic in the deep comment, now it was very preachy ;) I thought the film a snore fest. The film would have done better to have gotten a better actor for the lead. sorry plastic and wooden was just ridiculous. Now I did like the Batman films very much. It just did not work for many reasons in TMOS. I have liked all of the Marvel films they are as they are advertised, fun.

  • http://timeforafilm.com/ Alex Thomas

    I was dreading watching this one but was pleasantly surprised. Entertained me, humorous, but more importantly I enjoyed the action sequences and how big moments of the film happened quickly rather than being a 5+ minute long build up.

    Did help that I saw it in IMAX, man, IMAX is great. Gave it a B.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Hrtn4Sqrtn/ Hrtn4Sqrtn

    Okay after seeing this movie tonight I have just a few things to say:::

    FIRST: IS BRAD AN IDIOT?!

    2nD: did he even read the comics? if you don't read the source material how the ASSgardian are you supposed to understand the plot?! Why don't you take break from sittin on yo ass and READ for once. Blogger.....

    H. We clearly didn't watch the same movie....one of US(A) had our eyes open and just wasn't a SHEEPLE CRITIC. Marvel KNOWS whats right! Thats why Stan Lee was in the movie. He's a sing thats a good movie.

    THREE THUMBS DOWN. FOR BRADley B. CRITIC. (a$$hole_)

    11/10

    • Mitch

      Oh god... Go be a troll somewhere else.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Hrtn4Sqrtn/ Hrtn4Sqrtn

        I think by trooll you mean FROST GIANT.

        /I love you Mitch.

    • yrabadi

      Duuuuddeeeee. Easy. It's just the guys opinion. You have yours, he has his. He's managed to be coherent about it, you've managed to come off as a total dick about it.

      Go to your corner. Go on, now. Go.

      • Mitch

        Geez, I wanna get mad at both of you but you're both being funny in your comments.

        I called hrtn4sqrtn a troll because of the way he left his review, calling brad an idiot and an asshole. and saying he didn't read the source material, a discussion Brad and Laremy clearly had on a recent podcast about people saying that exact thing about the Enders game book.

        I was actually trying to be funny with my comment by the way, and just point out the obvious and I get called a dick? I understand it was his opinion, I was just commenting on the trolling nature he left it.

        • yrabadi

          Hi Mitch,

          My message was in reply to hrtn4sqrtn... Not you. When I mention 'the guy', I mean Brad. My comment is not addressing you at all. Sorry for the confusion.

          :)

          • Mitch

            That makes a lot more sense

            • Jake17

              You guys realize he was being sarcastic, right?

  • Dana Bradshaw

    So it is ANOTHER film with BRILLIANT ACTING BY TOM...AWESOME

  • Rohan Michael Morbey

    Top 10 worst of the year from me, hated it from start to end.

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  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

    I would go lower than a C- for this film, i wasn't expecting The Seventh Seal, just to be entertained for a couple hours, what i got was a complete waste of time, talent and money(mine in this case as i expect the film to make a profit).

    What i disliked about this film was they didnt even try to make anything of worth, the script was just awful that even Loki became irritating when he "banters" with Thor about his piloting, the comedy elements were poor and the only time i chuckled was when Thor hangs his hammer up on the coat rack(spoiler) It became quite apparent there wasn't gonna be any peril or suspense and i kinda just sat it out as i heard the post credit scene was good(im a sucker for those)

    Performance wise, Portman was ok but it frustrates me when she can do great stuff like Black Swan she chooses roles that she can sleepwalk through like Thor and Star Wars. Hemsworth as Thor isn't working for me, there is no sparkle there, he is a little wooden and lacks charisma(not seen Rush yet btw) Hopkins does Hopkins and he is highly watchable as per and finally Hiddleston is great as Loki and easily the most engaging character in the film. The minor characters are mostly irritating especially Selvig who they seemed to have turned into a buffoon.

    As for the cinema experience, a man two rows to my right slept through most of it(honestly) and three ten year olds were wrestling with each other at the front and crawling up and down the aisles as the staff looked on and did nothing. What a miserable night.

    • Coline Camps

      "What i disliked about this film was they didnt even try to make anything
      of worth, the script was just awful that even Loki became irritating
      when he "banters" with Thor about his piloting, the comedy elements were
      poor and the only time i chuckled was when Thor hangs his hammer up on
      the coat rack"

      EXACTLY! It was exactly the same for me. That was the ONLY moment I laughed in the whole movie, and even that was somewhat tarnished by the 'We decided to go find the bad guys'-> 1.raise arm 2.slammed-in-hammer. Pre-di-cta-ble. Doesn't look coll or impressive, jfyi.

      As for Loki, even ' I ' wanted him to shut up, his lines were so bad. And he let himself be led along: no wits, no initiatives, no surprise at the last moment.

      Jane was reduced to a love interest and come out as a right bi...

      You don't see the Warrior 3.

      The villain is no one and makes no sense.

      I was so excited that, even if I was a bit wary after Star Trek into Darkness, it was still a total let down.

  • Coline Camps

    In short: Thor 2 sucks and people still ask for more.

    Well, if bland repetitive crap is what you like... I'm sure you'll enjoy Star Trek 2.

    Another pearl of the kind. I'm already disappointed with X-men first class without having seen it, because it seems like originality has been sucked out off hollywood's studios.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

      We are as one sister, i hears ya.