Marvel has been nothing but a movie making machine. Their film output has been nothing short of incredible. From their first film “Iron Man” (2008) to this one, “Thor: The Dark World” (2013), they have made a total of 8 films. To put that in perspective, that’s already one-third of the amount of the James Bond films, in only 5 years. The first James Bond film came out in 1962, so do the math there. This is the second entry in the series for “phase 2”, which for those of you that don’t know, is basically all of the proceeding film after the first “Avengers” leading up the 2nd “Avengers”. Then after the 2nd “Avengers” we will be in “phase 3” leading up to “Avengers 3”.
Earlier this year, Marvel gave us “Iron Man 3” (2013), which met with critical success, even with the controversy behind many aspects of the story, “Iron Man 3” it was a hit with fans and general audiences everywhere. Coming off “The Avengers” (2012), it’s hard to meet your audience’s expectations after a movie like that so Marvel certainly had their work cut out for themselves. “Iron Man 3” didn’t quite reach my expectations, while still a good film; it had many flaws but did a good job of expending Tony Stark’s character and was an overall fun film. Now we arrive to the next entry in “phase 2”, “Thor: The Dark World” (2013), the 2nd film movie after “Avengers” and 2nd “Thor” film. I’ll be honest I didn’t have high expectations of this entry, but this is easily one of the best Marvel offerings in the series.
This continuation of the series, shows an ancient evil coming back from a long forgotten past that threatens the entire universe, Thor must reunite with Jane Foster back on Earth for she might be the key to this evil’s plan and must pair up with someone he never thought he could in order to stop the threat and bring the universe back to peace.
What makes this offering even more impressive of a film is there is quite a bit going on in the story and for the most part, it’s pretty well balanced. There is the main drive of the story and that’s the threat of the villain named Malekith as he threatens the entire universe and Thor’s drive to stop him. There is also the subplots going on Earth with Jane Foster and her companions, then the even further development of Loki and Thor’s relationship, that in here is absolutely irresistible, and Thor’s relationship with his father, and throw all of the action sequences in there on top of that, well you’ve got one jam packed offering and like I said before, pretty well written. The dialogue is well written, the pacing is excellent, and story arcs are well developed, Marvel makes another smart movie hiring writers Christopher Yost and Christopher Markus to pen the screenplay.
One of the main draws here is the deepening of Thor’s and Loki’s relationship, coming of the events of “The Avengers” it played off realistically with bitterness and uneasiness. The script allows Tom Hiddleson to really have fun with the character and gives his best performance yet as Loki. He brings all the charm, fun, unpredictability and under lying pain that lies behind of Loki’s eyes that we have all come to expect with his character. In many ways he is a more interesting character than the title character, and there even more layers added to his character with many interesting twists throughout the film that many fans will enjoy.
However with so much material and with a running time just under 2 hours, there are a few things that will be lost in the shuffle. Christopher Eccleston gives a fine performance as the antagonist Malekith. He serves the purposes of driving the plot forward and giving the heroes something to fight against however as a character he is severely underdeveloped, all he really is, the big bad guy who wants to create massive destruction, much like the villain in J.J. Abrams’s 2009 “Star Trek” film (which I loved by the way). One other thing that is once again underwritten is the relationship between Thor and Jane Foster. To be fair the first film did not set up this relationship very well and this film does improve the relationship but the writers still didn’t make it interesting at all and is currently one of the worst couples in current superhero films, in both Marvel and DC. Also the script seemed to be pushing humor for the sake of humor and most of it didn’t work and the majority of it being Jane Foster’s colleague’s lines, characters who in general aren’t interesting at all and anytime they are on screen you wish you were somewhere else.
At first going into the film, I was a little disappointed that Kenneth Branagh didn’t come back to direct the sequel. The first Thor was a fun superhero film with a good focus on the title character and sure there were flaws and problems but I blame that more of the script than Branagh. That being said any disappointment I felt at the time was washed away when they announced Alan Taylor was going to helm the project. I am a huge “Game of Thrones” fan whom he is a frequent director on that show, and really was excited to see him take a shot at his first venture onto the big screen (and a big one at that!). Tayor does an absolute fantastic job at directing this film. He blends a wide range of different genres into one movie seamlessly, such as fantasy, sc-fi, drama, and a superhero flick. Certain moments will make you feel like you’re watching a “Star Wars” or “Star Trek” adventure, others will give off a “Game of Thrones” or “Lord of the Rings” vibe, then put all of that together and put it into a superhero adventure, you should get a mess of an identity crisis, instead you get a clever, and unique film that stands out from other Marvel adventures.
By the time the credits role you’ll be wholly satisfied with Thor’s latest venture onto the big screen. One that brings a smart and jam packed script, that may have been underwritten at parts but the goods outweighs the grips, gripping action, some twists and turns, another fantastic Tom Hiddleson performance, great directing and cross genre tones, and one of Marvel’s best adventures yet in their cinematic universe.