Thor: The Dark World (2013) Movie Review

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Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman in Thor - The Dark World (2014) Movie Image

Thor is back in Alan Taylor’s “Thor: The Dark World”, and saving the nine realms in the aftermath of brother Loki’s shenanigans in the first “Thor” movie and last year’s “The Avengers”. Of course, in-between saving everyone, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) spends his nights dreaming of Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), his human girlfriend from the first movie. His father (Anthony Hopkins) wants him to go ahead and make hunky little children with Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander), but Thor has a hankerin’ that only the spunky Jane can cure, and no one, not even a kick-ass warrior like Sif, will do. Thor gets the reunion he’s wanted when Jane, as she is wont to do, stumbles across a cosmic weapon of mass destruction back on Earth.

It just so happens that that C.W.M.D.™ is exactly what Dark Elf bad guy Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) has been waiting for in like forever (or thereabouts). He and his fellow Dark Elves want to turn the universe dark and such. You know, bad guy stuff. Hey, they’re called the Dark Elves for a reason, I guess. (And just like the Peter Jackson elves, these elves even have their own language, though why it’s subtitled when they’re just speaking to one another is a tad mysterious.) What they want is Jane, who has gotten herself some superpowers. Well, sort of. Bottom line, Thor has to save her from the Dark Elves, and the only way to do that is to team up with his ne’er-do-well brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Can you say, Cosmic Buddy Cop team-up?

Christopher Eccleston in Thor The Dark World (2013) Movie Image

Like Kenneth Branagh’s “Thor” from 2011, there’s a fish-out-of-water element to “The Dark World”, though surprisingly this figures very little into the storyline. I suspect there might have been more left on the cutting room floor. Before Jane even gets a chance to go gaga over Asgard (she does meet the parents, though), Malekith is attacking and people are dying and buildings are exploding. Malekith is your traditional Bond villain — completely one-dimensional, which is a terrible waste of Eccleston’s talents. He’s also covered in make-up for the entire movie, so you wouldn’t even know it was Eccleston if he wasn’t in the credits. Although the end of the universe is at stake here, “The Dark World” has tons of comedy, which, yes, sort of undermines the whole grave nature of the storyline. Then again, watching Thor catch a subway train is probably worth it.

The Warriors Three have about the same amount of screentime they did in Kenneth Branagh’s movie, though Tadanobu Asano must have had a prior commitment because he shows up for what amounts to a glorified cameo. Anthony Hopkins gets more to do as Thor’s dad, and Rene Russo, as Thor’s mother, gets a pretty kick-ass fight scene, as does Idris Elba’s gatekeeper Heimdall. The crew back on Earth provides most of the film’s comic relief, with Jane’s amusingly way-too-covered-up intern Darcy (Kat Denning) running around with her own intern, and Stellan Skarsgård’s scientist baring, er, all in order to save the universe. Chris O’Dowd has a funny cameo as the poor sap trying to date Jane Foster. Sheeyeah. Good luck trying to replace a blond-haired Viking God, dude.

Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth in Thor The Dark World (2013) Movie Image

The sequel’s action quotient has definitely been jacked up, and at times “Thor: The Dark World” looks more like a “Star Wars” prequel than a comic book movie about a superhero patterned after old Norse mythology. The Dark Elves show up in a giant spaceship that launches smaller fighters, and Asgard proves to have equally “Star Wars”-rific defense systems like artillery batteries and the like. The tech in “The Dark World” felt incongruous at times, but it’s a bit silly to complain about having too much crazy laser-blasting action in a comic book movie. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki doesn’t really figure into things until about an hour in, though his Loki’s constant presence does the film good. Hemsworth is his usual handsome and hunky self, but Thor has always been a little plain bread, especially next to the flamboyant Loki.

“Thor: The Dark World” has very little excess to bog things down, so expect a fast-paced, slam-bang comic book action movie. The budget is reportedly around $200 million, about $50 million more than the first movie. Long-time TV director Alan Taylor makes pretty good use of those extra millions, and there is a big, massive action set piece about once every 15 minutes or so. The film moves very well, dwelling just long enough on some character moments to drive the narrative forward. I found it to be massively more entertaining than the first movie, even if the villains were lacking. A lot about the Dark Elves were just not very well handled, I’m afraid. But hey, I guess not everyone can be Tom Hiddleston.

Finally, for those of you who don’t mind sitting through the credits, “Thor: The Dark World” features two — one mid-credit, and one at the end. Only the first one is really worth sitting around for.

Alan Taylor (director) / Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Don Payne, Robert Rodat (screenplay)
CAST: Chris Hemsworth … Thor
Natalie Portman … Jane Foster
Tom Hiddleston … Loki
Anthony Hopkins … Odin
Christopher Eccleston … Malekith
Jaimie Alexander … Sif
Zachary Levi … Fandral
Ray Stevenson … Volstagg
Tadanobu Asano … Hogun
Idris Elba … Heimdall
Rene Russo … Frigga
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje … Algrim / Kurse
Kat Dennings … Darcy Lewis
Stellan Skarsgård … Erik Selvig

Buy Thor: The Dark World on DVD or Blu-ray

Author: Nix

Editor/Writer at BeyondHollywood.com. Likes: long walks on the beach and Kevin Costner post-apocalyptic movies. Dislikes: 3D, shaky cam, and shaky cam in 3D. Got a site issue? Wanna submit Movie/TV news? Or to email me in regards to anything on the site, you can do so at nix (at) beyondhollywood.com.
  • Juggernaut

    I personally loved this movie. I thought that it took all of the good aspects of the first film and made them great! My biggest complaint would be not using some of the characters as much as they could (Heimdall, Odin, the warriors three and Sif were all glossed over. Fandral and heimdall were both given a moment to shine. I do agree that Malekith was one dimensional however, he was completely bad ass and very cool. I especially liked how they addressed the character of Algrim. I was expecting a half assed inclusion of the Kurse alter ego but what we got was handled very well. All in all I was extremely entertained and cannot wait for more adventures of the god of thunder in a future film because as we were told after the credits “THOR WILL RETURN”

    • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Nix

      All the side characters got basically the same screentime as in the first movie, no?

      • Juggernaut

        The Fandral scene in TDW was more a solo showing as opposed to his melee with the other members of the warriors three. Same for Heimdal. His scene in this one was more about him. But you’re right there was not a whole lot given to the supporting cast to do.

  • Lexavi80

    You know, I though the Star Wars thing was going to bug me because, definably it doesn’t seem to fit in Thor’s world, but I ended up loving it!

    It was good and exciting. I really liked this film a lot. I might even say I loved it. It was really damn good!

    • ErickKwon

      I noticed the “Star Wars” prequel vibe, too, but now it’s even more obvious that George Lucas dropped the ball with the trilogy.

  • Aegon the Conqueror

    I shall of course sit until the very end tomorrow afternoon.

  • Aegon the Conqueror

    Ok I enjoyed this a lot more that the previous marvel outting this year. Was a lot of fun, very funny and immensely insightful.

    Spoiler!!!!!

    I wonder where on earth Odin is, if he is even still alive.

    • ErickKwon

      I thought I saw it coming, but I thought it was going to be like the reveal in the stinger for the first movie where Loki is seen in a reflection as a possessing/controlling force

  • Boomer

    Here’s my spoiler-free summary: some great sequences and really important scenes in an otherwise rushed and formulaic movie.

  • Aegon the Conqueror

    Ok can someone with a bit more Marvel Cosmic knowledge please explain to me what I saw in the mid credits? Looked like Star Wars met hunger games

    • Juggernaut

      That was The Collector, an ally of Thanos. He was play a larger part in Guardians Of The Galaxy.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collector_(comics)

      • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

        I really can’t wait for GotG

        • Juggernaut

          It is definitely going to be cool! That one may have the least notoriety but the most buzz of the Phase 2 films.
          My most anticipated is Cap2. That extended look before Thor: TDW was amazing!