Marvel made “Thor: the Dark World” into the movie the first “Thor” should have been. “The Dark World” takes place mainly on Asgard, Thor’s homeworld, while the first “Thor” took place mainly on Earth. In the first movie, Thor ticks off his father, Odin, who strips Thor’s power and banishes him to Earth. The whole movie is Thor trying to get his powers back, and attempting to prove that he is worthy of his hammer, which gives him his powers. In comparison, “The Dark World” did not have all of that intermediate stuff; it got right into the action.
People go to superhero movies for spectacle and entertainment. There are thousands of other movies that deal with serious problems. “Thor: the Dark World” is a must see because it is fun for all ages. This movie finally gives Thor the platform that the first movie did not. Since Thor was already established as a character in the first movie, director Alan Taylor could just have fun with the characters.
“Thor: the Dark World” takes place shortly after “The Avengers.” Thor is up to become the rightful heir of the throne of Asgard, a part of the nine realms, connected by the tree of life, Yggdrasil. Asgard governs the nine realms. Thor’s deceitful brother Loki is left in prison for his crimes against Earth (Midgard). Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman and portrayed as the astrophysicist/love interest, is left trying to have a normal life while missing Thor. In the meantime, an ancient evil arises, the Dark Elves, that wants to rule the universe. The bad guy, Malekith, is effective as a plot device but sadly, Christopher Eccleston is forget- table in the end while Tom Hiddleston as Loki steals the show.
In “Thor,” and “The Avengers,” Loki is depicted as someone whose only motivation is to rule. You really do not sympathize with him all that much. Thor and Loki grow up together as brothers, but Loki is jealous of Thor. In the first movie, Loki was just a guy with daddy issues. In this movie, Loki becomes a more compelling character. We do not know whether he has turned a new leaf, or if he is still morally dubious. I found myself more drawn to Loki in this movie than Thor. Unlike Thor, Loki was unpredictable.
One of the strengths of “Thor: the Dark World” is that it uses the settings to its advantage. The visual effects are stunning. Even though we saw Asgard in the previous movie, in “Thor: the Dark World,” we now get to see it through Jane’s eyes. The world of Vanaheim uses primary colors. It is visually stimulating and full of eye candy. The contrast of that is Svartalfheim, which is a dark apocalyptic wasteland. Svartalfheim personifies Malekith, who is the epitome of evil with no redeem- ing qualities.
“Thor” was definitely a drama, with a heavier dark subject matter than the previous movie. But just like all the other Marvel movies, it has a little bit of well-placed comic relief to lighten up the mood. Erik Selvig was the astrophysicist working on the Tesseract who was taken over by Loki in “The Avengers.” This shattered his personality, and he is seen in “The Dark World” arrested and naked at Stonehenge, trying to test his device. Research assistant Darcy Lewis has expert comedic timing. The things she said weren’t exactly funny, but she said them at the right places and times, and her scenes with Portman were inexplicably hilarious. The comic relief was balanced well with more serious moments in the movie.
The movie was not perfect, though. One of my pet peeves was the cheesy one-liners. Lately, Marvel in general has been referring to the Avengers movie too much, and Thor was no exception. When Jane first sees Loki, she slaps him on the cheek and says “This is for New York.” This was too obvious of a reference to “The Avengers” which took place in New York. While phrases like this are useful for people who have not seen the franchise, Marvel needs to market to a mass audience. People that follow the franchise are probably getting tired of this.
Besides that, “Thor” was a great movie. The plot was original. The visual effects were out of this world. The character development was much improved. Thor has something in it for everybody, whether a superfan, an avid watcher, or just a novice. “Thor” has everything someone could want in a movie. And if you have not seen it yet, make sure to keep an eye out toward the end of the credits for extra content.
-Daniel Barnhart, Staff Writer
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