Did you know that there are still people who leave Marvel movies just as the credits start to roll? Do these individuals not have social media? Have they never read a single review of Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America et al.? How can people still be unaware of the fact that there is a post-credits teaser in every single Marvel movie?
It boggles the mind.
You know what else boggles the mind? The fact that almost everyone in Thor: The Dark World was more badass than Thor. Don’t get me wrong, Chris Hemsworth is still good as Thor, bashing brains and hitting all his problems in the face; but he’s no longer the brash, arrogant character that he was in the original Thor or even the angry, frustrated person he was in The Avengers.
No, now Thor has love on his mind even as he comes to accept the responsibility his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) lays on his shoulders. Because of this, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Frigga (Rene Russo), Jane (Natalie Portman), Heimdall (Idris Elba) and even Darcy (Kat Dennings) all have moments where their characters do something more badass than Thor does. It’s very, very weird.
Thor has been absent from Earth for two years, excepting the events of The Avengers. He’s been busy stopping revolts and bringing peace back to the worlds under Odin’s control. Back on Earth, Jane is still pining away, waiting for him to visit her. Despite a feeble attempt at dating, she’s done nothing but…whine? It’s sort of unclear, but whatever she’s been doing, it’s not the actions of a healthy adult.
Darcy finally snaps her out of it, taking her to an area in London that seems to be ignoring the rules of physics. It’s at this point that the plot takes off. Jane is sucked into another dimension/planet/plane of existence and encounters something that should have stayed buried. This in turn makes her the target of Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), the most powerful member of a race called Dark Elves, long thought extinct.
This finally gets Thor’s attention and he travels to Earth, swoops up Jane and takes her back to Asgard in an attempt to help and protect her. Of course Odin’s not a fan of humans being around, but once he learns the true level of danger the entire universe is in, the fight is on.
The plot isn’t as simple as I make it sound, honestly. There’s an important side-plot on Earth the entire time, led by the now-slightly-mostly-insane Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard). There’s a big to-do family dynamic going on between Frigga, Odin, Thor and Loki. Plus Malekith and his brethren take a lot of screen time to set things up for later.
While the entire film seems to want to show how Thor has matured as a person it seems hollow too much of the time. No amount of special effects and violence can change that. Don’t get me wrong, the special effects are fantastic, and the battle sequences are always entertaining. The individual fights are all well choreographed, and there are a few really good twists and turns.
Yet something just didn’t click for me. It felt as if Thor: The Dark World existed only to continue the Thor story out of obligation. They needed a few plot points to set things up for later, and rather than fold them in somewhere else, they made an entire film.
It’s not a bad movie by any means, and Marvel fans probably won’t be disappointed. But I think this is one of the weaker movies in the Marvel Universe, and I’d much rather see The Adventures of Loki next time.
Thor: The Dark World: B-