Now before we get started, as this is a review, there is the chance that you may come across a few spoilers while you’re reading – of course, I’m going to do my best to steer clear of all the big ones so that I don’t ruin the experience for you – but if you don’t want to take any chances, come back and read this after you’ve seen the movie.
Still with me? Okay.
For many of us, the first Thor movie provided a fantastic example of what Marvel lovers could expect from the comic franchise as it ventured onto the big screen – it has great superhero action, S.H.I.E.L.D interaction, and a playful sense of humour when it comes to building and establishing the leading characters within the movie and itself as a genre. The new sequel, Thor: The Dark World, although inclined to provide a serious insight at some points into the Marvel world, the threat of darkness and of course, the ultimate battle between good and evil, is not afraid to take a page from the book of its predecessor and include a little frivolity. Stellan Skarsgård provides levity in his portrayal of Eric Selvig, Kat Dennings functions as the same fun and quirky Darcy she played in the initial movie, and of course Tom Hiddleston as Loki offers plenty of reasons to smile throughout the movie, no doubt providing the internet with more fodder for their ever-increasing love of him. Chris Hemsworth as Thor himself even provided me with a few giggles, and the writers love to play on the humorous results of Thor trying to do mundane human stuff on earth – there’s a part towards the end that will have you chuckling.
One of the aspects I most enjoyed about this sequel was all of the different flavours of action and battles going on throughout. Rather than simply focusing on single main characters for all the fight scene, in The Dark World, many of the less central characters get their chance to shine, with Jane Foster, Darcy and Selvig all helping out in the final event. We get to see some great fighting moments from Sif, and a particularly enjoyable instance from Heimdall, who didn’t really have enough action in his character the first time around. Loki, of course, has some great fighting moments, and all of the action points within the movie happen when you feel that they should. Nothing within Thor 2 feels forced, and this makes quite the difference when you compare it to the moments of awkward S.H.I.E.L.D setup in the first movie.
Interestingly, much of the second instalment in our Thor fandom seems to be influenced by fantasy and sci-fi genres more than the celestial notions you might expect from a superhero story involving characters based largely on Norse Gods. In this movie, the idea of a heavenly Asgard is brought a little more down to earth. Their medical facility has apparatus that isn’t magical in any sense –Jane can pinpoint and describe the equipment that they are using to examine her, Odin’s throne room isn’t shot with all the camera flares and brightness we saw in the first movie, and Odin himself says that Asgardians are not Gods. All of these choices seem to have been made deliberately, and the results are effective, allowing Asgard to become a place a little more relatable to us humans. The Dark Word, regardless of any problems it might have manages to re-establish and maintain a good connection with its audience.
Really, the only problem I had with this movie was its main villain. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Christopher Eccleston and think that he was highly under-rated as Doctor Who, but as Malekith he simply doesn’t seem to have much energy. I’m guessing that the writers intended to make him an incredibly serious and intense bad guy to pull our minds away from the fun, quirky Doctor we might have grown used to, but all this seems to do is paint Eccleston as another generic villain. His plan and motivations remain somewhat unclear throughout the entire movie, and the most you really get is that he’s going to use a Tesseract-like thingy to destroy the world as we know it and get revenge, becoming the big bad power in the universe. Most of the time, his portrayal is filled with yelling, scowling and angry motions, meaning he doesn’t embody the charismatic personality that truly great bad-guys draw you in with. I found myself more interested in what Loki might do throughout the movie – despite the fact he wasn’t the villain in focus – than Malekith’s master plan.
Regardless, the movie is absolutely worth watching, and you are bound to enjoy it if you like what Marvel has had to offer so far. Also, as usual there’s an awesome comic-based clip after the credits that will leave you looking forward to the next instalment – bonus points if you know who it involves without asking for help.