Alan Taylor‘s Thor: The Dark World is the single greatest Marvel Avengers movie yet. Up until now, the first Thor held that crown high above the rest, but The Dark World manages to take everything that worked in the first installment and add to it, truly allowing the Marvel universe to grow and expand to new heights that have never been reached before. Chris Hemsworth completely embodies the character of Thor, while Tom Hiddleston continues to impress and surprise as Loki. Thor: The Dark World is a massive achievement for Marvel, proving to be a not only worthy sequel, but a great film on its own that feels new and fresh, despite Marvel clogging the cinemas with multiple films a year. Bring on the rest of Phase Two and Three.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has returned to his home world of Asgard after the tragic events of The Avengers. His brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been imprisoned for his crimes committed on Earth, while Thor continues to battle and defend Asgard and the rest of the universe. His father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) remains king as Thor strives to bring peace to the galaxy, while discovering his exact purpose among the cosmos.
He misses Jane (Natalie Portman) and can’t seem to keep her out of his mind. While she misses him back on Earth and is constantly searching for another link to bridge her world and his. She finds that link and much more when a rip in space and time awakens one of the universes most age-old and dangerous enemies, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), an Elf from the dark times, before the universe was formed.
Now, Thor must not only protect Jane and Earth from danger, but the entire universe from complete darkness.
Thor: The Dark World is Marvel’s best Avengers film yet. It’s also the biggest and weirdest, completely accepting the comic book roots of the character. Thor did a nice job balancing out the space and sci-fi stuff with lots of sprinkled on humor and scaled back Earth action. The Dark World functions on another level entirely, fully embracing the weirdness and craziness of Asgard and all of the creative characters that inhabit it or one of the many surrounding galaxies.
The Dark World does such a great job expanding the universe and known worlds. It effortlessly introduces us to so many new characters and locations, without ever losing its focus on Thor, Loki, Odin, Jane and the dangers that they are up against.
TV director Alan Taylor transitions well to the big screen, fully utilizing his budget and talents to help make The Dark World look and feel even larger than it is. This is a film that doesn’t have any problems bouncing back and forth between worlds during a third act battle that is exciting and incredibly creative and fun to digest.
The Dark World is loaded to the hills with action. Action that looks and feels large, yet never flashy or overdone. The Dark World explores many regions of space and the end result is a product that’s rarely afraid to show its true colors, while also pleasing the new-found fans of Marvel’s big screen efforts. This is a dark (I know, I know) film, but not like The Dark Knight or any other modern and gritty takes on these bright and fun comic book characters.
This is still a Marvel film and a comic book adaptation, which means the light and fun stuff is still there and only backed up by many comedic moments. I love that Taylor and the entire cast understands how important comedy is to the character, because without it Thor just wouldn’t be the same. He’ll always be the hammer-swinging bad ass God, but he’s also one hilarious person to laugh at and with. Taylor gets this more than most, properly dropping comedy throughout, without ever appearing as corny or forced.
Chris Hemsworth is at the top of his game in this one, playing Thor. The first film allowed him to flex his muscles (quite literally) and find his footing, while The Avengers mostly held him back, but The Dark World allows him to truly explore the character. Here, he faces inner and outer struggles with his brute physical force and changing mentality. It’s great to finally see Thor fully understand his situations, without just resorting to fighting his way out of everything. Thor faces many battles in The Dark World and Hemsworth shows that he’s more than capable of dealing with them.
The biggest surprise of the film rests in Tom Hiddleston‘s performance as Thor’s brother Loki. Many thought there wasn’t much left to explore, given that Loki was the primary villain in Thor and The Avengers, yet Hiddleston impresses and surprises yet again, giving us another side of Loki that we haven’t exactly seen before. This is a much more personal Loki, one that expresses himself with that same trickery that we’ve grown cautious of, while also showing much more focused rage and hate. I can’t believe Hiddleston has managed to take the character this far without making him come off as stale or boring. I’d definitely love to see more.
The film’s weakest links are Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman. It’s not that they’re particularly awful or unwatchable, but it’s clear that Hopkins and Portman just aren’t as invested as guys like Hemsworth and Hiddleston. Hopkins isn’t given a whole lot to do, which translates to a performance that comes off as tired and uninterested, while Portman fares slightly better, but doesn’t feel nearly as strong as her performance in the previous film. Her chemistry with Thor is still good, but feels overshadowed by Thor and Loki’s relationship, which does come with much more history. The connection between Thor and Jane just doesn’t feel as strong or as relevant in this one.
Thor: The Dark World is the film that is really going to sell you on Marvel and their whole Phase Two/Phase Three planning. This is the one that’s going to keep you interested in every single film between now and The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Alan Taylor does such a great job expanding the universe and making it truly feel endless, while also creating many large and exciting action sequences. Chris Hemsworth yet again shows that he was born to play Thor, while Tom Hiddleston‘s return as Loki surprises with even more depth and character exploring than previous outings. If you liked Thor, then prepare to be blown away. This is one of those rare sequels that manages to top everything before it.
Thor: The Dark World – 8.5/10
*Don’t bother with the 3D*