The film opens similarly to the first Thor with a flashback to an ancient time when Odin's father fought Malekith, narrated epically by Anthony Hopkins, and the main conflict of the plot is setup in a very Lord of the Rings style opening battle.
My expectations for the film were relatively high, but at the same time I had no idea what to expect because the trailer fortunately gave away very little of the actual plot. Thor: The Dark World surprised me on so many levels. The humor was spot on, the action was the best since The Avengers, and the film had a surprising amount of emotional weight. Alan Taylor's direction was absolutely perfect, and his Game of Thrones background is clearly visible. Asgard looks immaculate, less animated than the first Thor and more realistic fantasy like The Lord of the Rings. In general, the setting and the tone of The Dark World was a unique blend of fantasy with a heavy sci-fi angle, particularly with the Dark Elves, who were more alien than fantasy, which was cool.
Now let's move on to possibly the best part of the entire movie, Tom Hiddleston's Loki. Yes, Hiddleston is back and better than ever. As expected, he killed it in the film and his scenes are among the most fun and memorable. The bickering and witty comments between him and Thor were absolutely perfect. The whole brother conflict is one of the best and most relatable aspects of the Thor films and The Dark World really capitalizes on it. That aspect of the film is very compelling and added the seriousness needed.
Of Marvel's films to date, Thor: The Dark World is the most like The Avengers in terms of both tone and overall style. While The Dark World is not on the same level of The Avengers' virtual cinematic perfection, it contains many aspects which made The Avengers amazing. The humor, action, and emotional weight really took The Dark World to the next level.
My only minor complaints are that Kat Dennings as Darcy was overused. While some of her humorous scenes made me laugh (a lot), her character was not entirely unnecessary and her scenes later in the film were particularly superfluous. The other minor flaw is that Christopher Eccleston as Malekith was not the most compelling villain. His motives were convincing, although his character was mostly there to deliver the conflict and character drama between the main cast, which he did well. However, his giant henchman, Kurse, was very imposing and menacing.
Directed by: Alan Taylor
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Comic Book, Action Adventure,
Release Date: November 8, 2013
Running Time: 111 minutes
MMPA rating: PG-13
The Good: Tom Hiddleston is freaking awesome, Unexpected plot twists, Tons of action, Impressive special effects, Hilarious cameo, Brotherly conflict, Intriguing after credit scenes, Hilarious jokes throughout, Cool villain, Surprising emotional weight, Character development, Inventive action scenes, Natalie Portman is actually useful in the plot, Several unexpected twists, Reminded me of The Avengers, Alan Taylor's perfect direction, Mostly well executed humor, Brian Tyler's epic score, Improved romantic element, Effective Avengers tie-in, Epic scale, Excellent mix of sci-fi and fantasy, Asgard is stunning,
Plot: The following plot summary is copied from Wikipedia.com.
Eons ago, Bor, the father of Odin, clashes with the Dark Elf Malekith, who seeks to destroy the universe using a weapon known as the Aether. After conquering Malekith's forces, including enhanced warriors called the Kursed, on their home world of Svartalfheim, Bor safeguards the Aether within a stone column. Unbeknownst to him, Malekith, his lieutenant Algrim, and a handful of Dark Elves escape into suspended animation.
In present-day Asgard, Loki stands imprisoned for his war crimes on Earth. Meanwhile, Thor, alongside warriors Fandral, Volstagg and Sif repel marauders on Vanaheim, home of their comrade Hogun; it is the final battle in a war to pacify the Nine Realms following the reconstruction of Bifröst, the "Rainbow Bridge" between realms, which had been destroyed two years earlier. In London, astrophysicist Dr. Jane Foster's intern, Darcy Lewis, now with her own intern, Ian, takes Jane to an abandoned factory where objects have begun to disobey the laws of physics and disappear into thin air. Separating from the group, Jane is teleported to another world, where she is infected by the Aether.
Watch the movie to see what happens next.
Plot: 9.8/10- Every plot point made sense void of any major logical flaws and the character development of Thor and Loki was handled excellently. Thor: The Dark World is a very character driven story, which is exactly why the film works so well. The plot makes good use of Portman's character, Jane Foster, and actually provides a reason why she needs to be in the film other than being a romantic interest, and that brings me to the romance, which is much improved over the previous Thor film with a more believable story and chemistry. Thor's character is much more of a bada** warrior this time around as he smashes guys, breaking necks, and generally killing any enemy combatant that stands in his way. The dialogue is clever and well written with occasional witty and humorous lines along with the great Asgardian dialect. Somehow, the pacing manages to throw a ton of action into the mix, yet never allowing the action to overpower the story, like another superhero flick earlier this year. There was never a dull moment at any point of the film. Also, I liked how the movie did not question the audience's intelligence add unnecessary exposition and explanation, which reminded me of the original Star Wars films.
Action: 10/10- Wow, the action in Thor: The Dark World is incredible. Alan Taylor apparently knows how to direct an epic battle scene because there were so many throughout the film. Not since The Avengers have I seen action scenes this well directed and filmed. From spaceship like chases to epic fantasy battles, The Dark World has it all. The final fight in particular was extremely inventive and actually showed me something that I have never seen before, which is quite an accomplishment. Every shot was framed with skill and the choreography is well executed.
Acting: 9.9/10- Chris Hemsworth owns the role of Thor. He really embodies everything that Thor needs to be with his charisma and wit. Tom Hiddleston returns as fan-favorite Loki and of course steals the show. His performance is so amazing and compelling; he has made Loki into such a great character. While Hiddleston is in the film quite a bit, he never overshadows Thor. Natalie Portman as Dr. Jane Foster does a much better job in the movie than she does in the previous film and her chemistry with Hemsworth is much more believable than before. Anthony Hopkins as Odin again brings the theatrical gravitas that compliments the Asgardian setting. Christopher Eccleston gives a "Fantastic!" performance as Malekith and his performance speaking the Dark Elven language was surprisingly believable. Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis was fun, but a little overused, and Stellan Skarsgård as Dr. Erik Selvig was hilarious in his role. Rene Russo as Frigga is surprisingly fantastic in her role. The rest of the cast does an admirable job in their roles, particularly Idris Elba.
Special effects: 10/10- As with any Marvel film, the special effects are absolutely stunning. Asgard's visuals are amazing and more realistic than our last endeavor to the realm. At least from what it would appear, a surprising amount of practical effects were used, which added more realism to the film.
Soundtrack: 9.8/10- Brian Tyler does it again with another epic score. While Patrick Doyle's score from the first Thor is magnificent, Tyler's score better suited The Dark World's darker fantasy/science-fiction setting.
Comedy: 9.9/10- Thor: The Dark World had me laughing so hard during some scenes, it was absurd. Aside from the overuse of Kat Denning's humor, basically all of the humor was well placed and worked. The humor was well balanced with the serious scenes. One cameo in particular (not Stan Lee) nearly killed me; never before have I laughed so hard or loud in a theater.
Would I Watch This Again: Thor: The Dark World is a film that I will surely watch and rewatch multiple times just like The Avengers. This is a must own on Blu-Ray and one that I will be pre-ordering.
Overall: 9.9/10- Overall, Thor: The Dark World is everything that a great film should be with a great sense of fun along with surprising character moments and compelling storytelling.
Closing comments: While I may be a little bias, The Dark World is an absolute must see in the theaters, you will not regret it. Also check back tomorrow for an explanation of the Mid-Credits Scene.
Recommended for: Everyone, Action fans, Fantasy fans, Sci-Fi fans, Comic Book fans, Action Adventure fans,
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