So I previously wrote a review saying what I thought of the other Avengers movies, and the first Thor. In the first Thor, director Kenneth Branagh was able to introduce this concept to non comic book readers like myself, and gave it a great Shakespearean feel, and the father/son, and two brothers relationship between Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Loki (Tom Hiddleston), and Odin (Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins). The film lost its magic whenever on Earth, but it never bothered me, mostly due to my love of Natalie Portman as Jane Foster. The first movie, had good effects, and good humor, and decent action, but could've used more especially in the climax.
Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor gives a brand new feel to this movie that blows the first movie out of the park, something that wasn't done as well in Iron Man 2 (2010), when Jon Favreau returned after the first one.
Thor: The Dark World has great action, good humor, the actors are great as their characters, good effects, it's its own thing without rehashing the first, and is even better for it.
The plot revolves around an evil race known as the dark elves led by Malekith the Accursed (Christopher Eccleston, "Doctor Who") who try to destroy the universe with a weapon called the Aether, they are soon conquered by Asgard who hide the weapon in a stone column.
In present day Asgard, Loki is imprisoned for his crimes in The Avengers. All the while Thor, and the warriors of Asgard, fight a battle to pacify the Nine Realms, which is great to finally see more of in this movie.
We discover a rare alignment of the Nine Realms called the Convergence is said to be on the way, where portals to other worlds appear.
On Earth we join with Jane Foster and her intern Darcy (Kat Dennings, Two Broke Girls), and her own intern Ian. While in London, Jane and Darcy see an abandoned factory, and see objects disappearing into thin air. Jane gets sucked in and teleports to another world, where she is infected by the Aether, which awakens Malekith.
Heimdall (Idris Elba, The Wire) alerts Thor of Jane's disappearance, which has Thor bring her to Asgard. They are unable to get the Aether out of Jane, and the Dark Elves come for her, and hold Asgard hostage. So in order to stop him Thor reluctantly teams up with Loki in hopes to find a secret passage to Malekith's world using Jane to lure Malekith away from Asgard.
Everything in this sequel has improved from the first, we get see more of the Nine Realms, and more of Asgard. Bo Welch's production design in the first looks incredible and exaggerated and huge, the production design here is also great very detailed and actually matches better with the Visual Effects than the first one did. The technology has been expanded, the circular Bi-Frost room has all the circles rotate instead of just the entire room spinning. Also the weapons, instead of just ordinary swords, spears and shields, we have them show energy shots whenever they clash, and even gun turrets flawlessly mixing the fantasy with sci-fi.
The fight scenes are bigger and better. I loved the fight scenes in the first movie, but a lot of them were shot really dark and close, not allowing you to see the incredible make up designs of the Frost Giants. In the first fight scene, we saw in the trailer, I half expected to see the stone giant reform itself, and have a longer battle. But that didn't happen, meaning a bigger climax in the end, which we really didn't get in the first movie.
We get a space ship chase through Asgard, and there's a brilliant fakeout at one point, which I dare not give away.
And it pays off, Thor and Malekith have a battle flying and clashing in different areas and it's great, there's a weird random cameo from the frost creature we saw for less than five minutes in the first movie, gets even less here, but it's still awesome. I hear it comes back at the end, which I unfortunately didn't stay for, since I was with my dad and we saw it late at night.
Without giving away too much, there was a spoiler all over the internet, that almost ruined the movie for me, the way people on the internet ruined the Iron Man 3 reveal. But it turns out to be a fake out, and that legitimately surprised me. The movie felt it went long, but I didn't care, I didn't want it to.
The actors are great as usual, Chris Hemsworth is likable and heroic as Thor; Tom Hiddleston is a great, delightful villain as Loki; Anthony Hopkins surprisingly has a little less to do in this than the first movie, but not criminally less, he's still great.
The stuff on Earth, is weaker than the stuff on Asgard, for example Jane dates a guy who ultimately amounts to nothing, except for one scene at the end, and we never see him again). The Earth bits for me it redeems itself thanks to my love of Natalie Portman, who is still sacred to me ever since I was nine and saw Attack of the Clones, and I would gut anyone who thinks she's 'meh', (Not really but I'm surprised by the people who are.) Stellan Skarsgard (Good Will Hunting, Pirates of the Caribbean), is in the movie going crazy since what happened to him in The Avengers which provides for a corny but funny scene of him streaking in Iceland. In fact I recently read an article talking about aspects of the Marvel universe, regarding the humor "you won't see Stellan Skarsgard butt humor in a Christopher Nolan movie."
Then there's Darcy and her intern Ian; and I'm just going to say I don't find them as annoying as people say they are. Yes I agree not all the humor of theirs works, but I don't find it anywhere near the badness of the human characters in Transformers. When you get down to it, they're not the main focus, they're not shoved down your throat, and I personally thought they gave some legitimately funny scenes. My mom got a few good laughs from Dennings in the first movie, the audience in my theater laughed, and I laughed a bit with some of her scenes too. I wouldn't protest to her not being in the movie, but bottom line, she didn't annoy me.
A few problems I did have is some of the characters from the first movie get less screen time here. Idris Elba as Heimdall doesn't do as much, except for a badass scene where he takes down a ship at the bridge. The Warriors Three contribute at certain points, but then kind of disappear; Hogun only gets two scenes, Zachary Levi as Fandral (Chuck) isn't worth comparing to Josh Dallas from the first film, since he only gets about five, Ray Stevenson (King Arthur) gets about five, Lady Sif (Jamie Alexander) is around for awhile to provide jealousy toward Thor and his relationship with Jane, they don't go too much into that, since we've had more than enough love triangles, but I think we get less of her here. I thought we were going to get more of these characters, and I wanted to see more of them, after the first one. I did hear they have an end credits scene, but I unfortunately didn't see it. But they keep a good focus on the main characters who are still great.
Also, we could've had a stronger villain, though as pointed out that's the problem with most of these villains, with the exception of Loki. The most memorable thing about Malekith is his design, the fact that he's played by Doctor Who, and he wants the Aether. The closest thing we had to a good villain (besides Loki) is Jeff Bridges in Iron Man who just wants control of Stark Industries, but is so charming and likable, and has known Tony his whole life, you don't what to expect of him. The other villains are just "oh they're played by Tim Roth, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce, and Ben Kingsley", a few of them have great designs, and they want some sort of power. I think with this rising of great complex, developed villains who have motivations like the Joker, Loki, John Harrison 'Khan', Zod to an extent we've all grown tired of the villains who just want something. I think Malekith's right hand man was more intimidating, changing from an elf to a monstrous Kurse.
Well, those are my thoughts on Thor: The Dark World", overall the more I think about it, I did like the movie, I had a lot of fun,I think it's even better than the first one and I will definitely add it to my Marvel movie collection when it comes out on Blu-ray.