Thor the Dark World review

By Max Maier | Nov 10, 2013

Thor is back! We haven't seen him since he brought Loki back to Asgard at the end of the Avengers. Now we get to see the follow up of Loki's actions and what Thor has been up to. The big question is whether or not Loki steals this show as well. Let's just say the movie should be renamed Loki: Thinking with Portals.

The movie starts with narration setting up our villains, The Dark Elves. They were born in the darkness of the galaxy before there was light. How? 5000 years ago, their leader, Maliketh, tried to harness an ancient power known as the Aether. With this power, Maliketh would send the 9 realms into darkness. But he can only do this during the Convergence, an event that only happens every 5000 years, when the 9 realms align on an astral-like plane. During this rare occurrence, random portals between realms are created where anything could randomly transport to any other spot in the 9 realms. Maliketh is defeated by the forces of Asgard. Maliketh goes into hiding in space and Odin's father hides the Aether some place where it "cannot be found." Well, while Jane (played by Natalie Portman...ugh) is off with her scientist friend Kat Dennings and a new intern, they discover a building in England that has several portals. One of these portals JUST SO HAPPENS TO TRANSPORT JANE TO THE EXACT SPOT OF THE AETHER! .........OF COURSE! The Aether extracts itself into Jane's body. This occurrence magically awakens Maliketh from a 5000 year slumber, and Maliketh knows Jane has the Aether. Again...how? They never really establish that Maliketh has a connection to the Aether, so we are just led to assume.

Meanwhile, Thor and his Asgardian Power Rangers (roll with it), have been trying to bring peace to the 9 realms. You know, except Earth. And Loki is brought before Odin for sentencing. It's funny because we see Loki before Thor. Loki is sentenced to the dungeons for eternity, and Thor has supposedly brought peace to the other realms. But, Thor cannot celebrate with his fellow companions because he misses Jane, even when Lady Sif drops hints that she wants Thor's hammer a.k.a. romantically interested. Fortunately Jane's recent accident has caused Asgard's gatekeeper, Heimdall to be unable to see her. This upsets Thor and he immediately goes to Earth to see if she is ok. He lands exactly where she is even though Heimdall can't see her. .....but of course. Granted, she was in England before they lost sight of her, but after that, she could've gone anywhere, so good guesstimate. Thor brings her back to Asgard to see if they can remove the Aether. Odin says there is no way they can remove it. But then, Maliketh attacks Asgard! They are thwarted, but at great cost. Thor begrudgingly teams up with Loki and they take Jane to try and fight Maliketh and save the 9 realms. Also, Kat Dennings and the intern find Eric Selvig, the doctor from the first Thor and the Avengers, who has now gone nuts, and they try to invent a gadget to harness the power of these portals. Will they succeed? Will Thor and Loki stop Maliketh?

I did a lot of nitpicking at the story while giving my description, but that is because these little nitpicks are plentiful and are the movie's biggest problem. How convenient that Jane is transported to the Aether. How convenient that Thor knew where Jane was. How convenient Maliketh came with an Aether detector. It is those kinds of nitpicks that add up to really rust up a movie's story. The story isn't bad, it has plenty of great moments, but these little problems add up to a lot of questions that overall can be frustrating if you are paying attention.

The story, is good though. The Thor and Loki dynamic is a lot of fun and lead to some truly great moments, serious and comical. It is these 2 characters that really make this movie work. The final parts of the movie that I didn't describe are good, although little problems plague it as well. Let's just say Selvig and Jane invent a device that creates a ton of portals between the realms, and it just becomes a serious of Portal jokes, even in the final fight. There are 2 big twists in the movie I dare not spoil, but were worth the price of admission alone. These moments really have good payoff. I know I complained about a lot of the story, but it is a good story. Just look past all of the flaws and you do have good stuff.

The action is also pretty good. Maliketh's pet guard, the Cursed, is your typical bruiting body guard, and he has a cool fight with Thor. The final fight with Thor and Maliketh is also satisfying, but it doesn't stack up to fights like Superman vs Zod in Man of Steel. As far as super fights go, it's pretty good. Although it's pretty difficult to take it completely seriously when everybody is teleporting around and there are several portal gags that take away from the action. Good fight though, but Maliketh is no Destroyer from the first movie or Iron Monger from Iron Man. I wish he put up more of a fight.

Maliketh is a decent villain as well. We don't really get a lot of time with him on back story, or personality. I wish we got more of him, because I believe he could've been awesome. But they didn't screw up any part of his mythos from the comics. He is a bit more insane in the books, but it is no flaw by any stretch. I just wish we got more depth from him.
Odin is a jerk in this movie. At least in the first film we got a bit more from him. In this movie, he is just a jerk. That is pretty accurate compared to the books, but that doesn't mean it translates well. Anthony Hopkins gives a good performance though.
Natalie Portman is just bland. She has a couple hahaha moments that are cute, but she doesn't stand out or anything. You see her best line of the film in the commercials on tv with Loki.

Kat Dennings' character has a name, but let's be honest, it's just Kat Dennings. Not that she is a bad actor or anything, but she wasn't really stretching from her traditional character roles. It's like a toned down version of 2 broke girls.

Like I mentioned earlier, the best part of this movie is Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Tom Hiddleston as Loki. Thor is just as good as he has been in the other movies. He is a strong leader, but never a jerk. He has his funny moments, but he knows when to be serious. He is just so darn lovable and awesome. He is a great main character to cheer for, with plenty of great quips and badass moments to enjoy every time he puts the hammer down. I want Avengers 2 to be here just to get more Thor.

The star of this show though, is Loki. Hiddleston nails this roll once again, perfectly nailing the right balance of craziness, smooth composure, heart, emotion and down right nastiness. Not only do we get to see evil Loki here, but like in the first Thor, we see his emotional struggles with dealing with his life. We see what messes with his mind, his turmoil. We also see how manipulating and evil he can be. Loki is a great character in the Marvel movie universe and continues to steal the spotlight in any movie he appears in. Hiddleston has found the perfect balance to make a great and compelling cinematic character who I think Marvel will never let go away. The fanboys love him, the ladies all love him in multiple ways, and the critics love him. Tom Hiddleston's Loki is just amazing.

Also, the 2 after credits scenes should have been switched in order. One of them was great and sets up The Avengers 2  little bit, and the other should've just been in the movie. Good scenes though.

 

Overall, I did enjoy Thor: the Dark World. Yes, the story has a ton on little issues that can be annoying at times, but it is a fun story. I guess that is the best part of this movie, it is fun. Regardless of these problems, they are not enough to taint the fun you will have watching it. Sure, the plot has more holes in it than swiss cheese, but it's still enjoyable thanks to our 2 strong main characters and some great action. Also a great cameo from a fellow Avenger, "technically." If you liked the first Thor or the Avengers or are a fan of super hero movies or action movies in general, I recommend viewing Thor the Dark World.

Overall, I give Thor: the Dark World a thunderous 3 out of 5

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