What I wanted to do here was put down my thoughts about Thor: The Dark World. It's a little late as the movie has been out for over a week now, but having just watched it for the second time, I feel as though I've been able to digest the experience a little more. My synopsis won't deal with faithfulness to the source material, because honestly, I am not well informed as to Thor's story in the comics. I will simply give my thoughts about the movie.
Thor: The Dark World stays within the timeline with the rest of Marvel's Phase 2 movies - that is, after the Avengers. One great characteristic that this movie has, is its relatively strong ties to the Avengers. Marvel mastermind, Kevin Feige, stated in an interview that the new movie was to be a sequel to both the first Thor movie as well as The Avengers, which it does very well (more, at least than Iron Man 3 had done) - the major ties being the characters of Dr. Erik Selvig and Loki (and of course Thor, but that should be a given). The movie does a very good job of not forgetting what happened with these characters during the story of The Avengers and the presence of these characters gives it the ability to incorporate those happenings into the core of its own story as opposed to throwing out occasional references. The only problem I had was that when the story opens, we find out that Thor has been travelling across the nine realms settling the chaos that has broken out due to Loki's actions. Unless I missed something, I understood that Loki had only attacked Midgard, so I'm not sure exactly how his actions affected the other worlds. Of course, one can always rely on speculation and just because we're not given information doesn't mean it isn't there, so I wasn't too hung up on the issue.
Let me mention, for a moment, the acting. The acting in this movie was superb. In general, when I go to a movie, especially a movie that is expected to be action driven, the best that I hope for is a lack of poor acting. If an actor/actress can spit his/her lines without detaching me from the character, then I consider it a success. I feel extremely satisfied, then, when I come away from a movie feeling as though I have just witnessed a great performance. And this sequel has multiple great performances.
Firstly, Anthony Hopkins as Odin is spectacular. While watching him on screen I was completely convinced that he was in fact the All Father. He was authoritative. He was confident. He had subtle nuances, such as the way he emphasized certain words when speaking or the way he laughed when arguing, that made the character feel more real.
Next, let's discuss Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth. Now, I wouldn't consider Hemsworth's performance breathtaking by any means, but does the job and he does it well. I grew to love Thor as a character more than I had in the first one; whether that can be attributed to acting, directing, writing or a combination of multiple things can be debated, but I feel as though I connected to Thor on a deeper level this time around. As a side note, I don't think I'll ever get tired of seeing Thor jumping towards to his opponents and swinging his hammer in mid-air.
Finally, let's talk Loki. Tom Hiddleston is Loki. Loki is Tom Hiddleston. I could stop right there, but I also can't say enough good things about this partnership. Hiddleston captures the majesty that Loki was raised with along with the anger he feels towards having no throne. Every word spoken shows why Loki earned the reputation of having the silver tongue. With each movie Loki has appeared in, I have come to appreciate him as a character more and more and Hiddleston's performance is the reason why. I don't know the criteria that exists for giving out award nominations (and sadly I think these types of movies historically don't have much success in the awards arena) but I think Hiddleston needs to seriously be considered. The dynamics between Hemsworth's Thor and Hiddleston's Loki is currently among the best Hollywood offer's (and still a better love story than Twilight).
Before I wrap up, I would just like to mention other elements that stuck out in the movie. Thor: The Dark World has much more of a science fiction/fantasy feel to it than its predecessor. We get to see more of Asgard and the magic that accompanies the nine realms. The story of the dark elves is an interesting one and Malekith made for a good antagonist. The story also serves to open up the MCU more in preparation for some of Marvel's near future projects. The humor is there. I appreciated the humor. Darcy's character is a little much at times as every line that comes out of her mouth is meant to provide some comic relief, but other than that, the humor kept things light. One other thing to mention, the title is a little deceiving. The movie is called Thor: The Dark World, and though it concerns itself with the dark elves, there's not much to do with the dark world itself. There's probably only ten-fifteen minutes worth of screen time for the dark world so a more appropriate title should have been chosen.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I have heard some say they think it's the best Marvel has come out with besides The Avengers. I don't know if I would go that far, but it is definitely up there. I would give it a 8-8.5. Let me know what you guys thought about it. Trash it, praise it, but be respectful of other people's comments.