Review of Marvel's Thor: The Dark World
4 out of 5 stars
Let’s face it, Thor (thanks to Chris Hemsworth) is the best looking hero of the Marvel film franchises, and the studio could just rest on that. We girls would be happy.
However, not content to rest on a pretty face, they’ve taken the time to bring in the right crew to work on number two, Thor The Dark World. Christopher Yost (screenplay) has been head writer on many “Marvel” animations and contributed to the original Thor. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (screenplay) together wrote Captain America: The First Avenger and have just completed Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and have also penned all three of The Narnia Chronicles. Then you have Emmy®-winning director, Alan Taylor, who has worked on highly acclaimed shows like Sopranos, West Wing, Six Feet Under, Mad Men and, most recently, Game of Thrones. Together, they’ve pulled off a worthy sequel, something very difficult to do in a franchise which has created such high expectations; achieving this by ensuring all the key ingredients from the origin story- humor, action, and realism while progressing the story line and character development.
We follow on from The Avengers’ “New York” conclusion where Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has returned to Asgard and his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), with Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in tow, to imprison his adopted brother for his misbehavior on Earth. But, dealing with his wayward son is the least of Odin’s problems. An alignment of the Nine Realms (occurring once every 5,000 years) is imminent, and it will open a portal between the worlds- Earth being one of them. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is attempting to forget Thor, whom she hasn’t seen for two years. While investigating an anomaly, created by the impending alignment, she is dragged into the dark world where she inadvertently reignites a war, waged thousands of years previously, between one of Asgard’s greatest adversaries, Malekith.
As leader of the dark elves, Malekith was defeated by Odin’s Father, but he returns to take advantage of the realm’s alignment to take over Asgard and cause havoc throughout the universe. Thor must create unlikely alliances and defy his father to defeat Malekith and restore peace to the Realms and, of course, once again save Earth.
The worlds are beautifully imagined and created, heightening the realism. The director, Taylor, and filmmakers created this authenticity while filming scenes as much as possible on location and creating enormous, realistic sets; some taking months at a time to build. Natalie Portman felt the scale of the sets harkened back to a different filmmaking era and commented, “It’s really like the old days of cinema. You walk on to the set and you think ‘Wow, we’re making a movie’.”
True to previous “Marvel” films, the story line is again interwoven between one franchise and another, following on from The Avengers and leaving the door open for the next. There are guest cameos from the first film's characters and other Marvel characters, including an extremely amusing spot from Dr Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård)—remember he the only one who understood the Tesseract weapon in The Avengers? Of course, fans of Loki will not be disappointed with his role. He may not be quite as princely and beautiful as Thor (pretty close, though), but he delivers all the best lines.
It's an extremely entertaining blockbuster movie which serves, also, to whet the appetite for the next installment, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. If the “notorious” Marvel credits scene inserts (two: one in the middle and one at the very end, so make sure you stay) are anything to go by, there are many more films to come. The Gods and the fans will be pleased.
Who is planning to visit Asgard in the near future and who agrees with those that Thor is the least liked of the Avengers?
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