Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Directed by: Alan Taylor Runtime: 1 hr 52 mins Rated: PG-13
Screenwriter: Stephen McFeely, Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus
Studio: Marvel Studios
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins, Rene Russo, Christopher Eccleston, Jamie Alexander, Kat Dennings, Zachary Levi, Stellan Skarsgård, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano
Thor: The Dark World dives deeper into Asgard’s history and shows off more of what a stunning place it is. Full of detail and scope.
The plot introduces The Dark Elves, led by Malekith (Eccleston). An ancient race of beings that ruled and thrived before Asgard came to lead the nine realms. Thought to be long gone, they reemerge as a vehicle for the aether’s introduction into the MCU. The substance is the Dark Elves’ most prized possession, one they will destroy worlds to reclaim. Alongside that, they want revenge for practically being exterminated eons prior. As reasons for retribution go, that’s a fair one.
Malekith and the Dark Elves’ story is believable, but the premise is cut off at the legs by Marvel’s MCU goals. It could have been so much grander instead of petty. Christopher Eccleston’s performance as Malekith was as outstanding as the script allowed for. The fault isn’t with Eccleston’s depiction. He’s a talented actor who could have taken the character in any direction if he had been allowed.
In Thor: The Dark World, anger, fear, guilt, pride, and sorrow are all passengers on the emotional roller coaster ride various characters must manage. All while the nine realms line up in a ‘convergence’ creating dangerous pockets of time and space. Wreaking havoc upon all.
To help stop the Dark Elves, Thor (Hemsworth) requires Loki’s (Hiddleston) help. Even after Thor arrested him for the attack on New York. Hiddleston’s performance is strong, comical at times, and a nice distraction from all the otherwise serious themes running their course.
While Heimdall (Elba) doesn’t have a more important place in this film, the character’s contributions are still significant. He mentions how he can see things few others do, and it gives a sense of how powerful he is as gatekeeper. If a viewer hadn’t figured that already. His conversations with Thor are not a subject with a leader; you can tell there’s a kinship there. A real friendship.
While her role in the Thor films is the smallest, she makes an impressive impact with her screen time—Thor’s mom. Frigga (Russo), Queen of Asgard. Russo is adept at handling herself in action films, and Thor: The Dark World is no exception. Frigga’s use with a blade makes me wonder if she taught Loki more than just magic…
Some well-placed lines and scenes with Darcy (Dennings) are like low-hanging fruit in the way she always says what she’s thinking. Or what everyone else is but won’t actually utter out loud. I like the character as a natural break between tension and humor. Mixing Darcy with Dr. Erik Selvig (Skarsgård) is vital to the plot, their tone vs. the rest of the movie is like peanut butter and jelly.
The pace of the overall movie and the scene transitions are all fine. There is character development here, but the purpose of this film really wasn’t about Thor and company. Marvel needed to use certain aspects to further propel the gigantic story arc that is the first few phases of the MCU.
Costume design for the characters, again, perfectly accentuates each one distinctly and fittingly. To Frigga and Jane’s (Portman) Asgardian attire, to Loki’s classic black and green leather ensemble, Darcy’s hats, or Dr. Selvig’s lack of pants. Um…
The story itself isn’t terrible. It’s like any sequel that needs to slow down to build up more material to work with later. Once you understand it’s not meant to be a fast-paced, sci-fi action film, you’re less likely to be disappointed. It certainly pumps the breaks after Avengers, but it is watchable.
Thor: The Dark World gets knocked around because of how its tone stacks up against the other ‘Thor’ and MCU films. Take it with a grain of salt. This film is eighth in viewing order and is absolutely worth a place on your watchlist if you’re just in it for Thor’s story or the MCU as a whole.
Be advised there are two end scene credits for this movie. Enjoy!
—a pen lady