Director: Alan Taylor Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman & Tom Hiddleston Synopsis: “Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.” Runtime: 120 minutes
“Some believe that before the universe, there was nothing. They’re wrong. There was darkness… and it has survived.”
Marvel are making a habit of picking exactly the right people for their film properties right now. Whether it be in the directors chair, or the stars in front of the camera, every perceived gamble they take, pays off. I was particularly sceptical about this sequel to 2011’s Thor, with a change of director, and possible burn out already in place with many of the main cast of characters, I had perhaps set myself up to be let down. Thankfully, Marvel proved me wrong, and new director Alan Taylor, has provided us with another hugely fun romp that will surely satisfy audiences of all ages.
We begin with an ominous sounding voice over from Anthony Hopkins as Odin, telling us how his father before him, Bor, disposed of the villainous creatures known as the Dark Elves, who are led by Christopher Eccleston’s Malekith. Malekith wished to return the universe to a dark state using a Macguffin known as the Aether. Bor believes all of the Dark Elves to have been slain in battle, but unbeknownst to him, Malekith managed to escape with a small crew aboard a ship that would house the last of his civilisation.
All the principal characters return for this sequel, and they are all still as enjoyable as they were the first time around. Hemsworth has grown into the role of Thor, and his character has clearly matured over the course of three movies, Thor, Avengers: Assemble & Thor: The Dark World. He remains poised and calm, and while he rarely rushes headlong into situations these days, he still shows a distinct eagerness to get involved in a fight when the chance presents itself. Meanwhile Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is a pure delight, every time he is on-screen he devours each scene as if it were his last. Whether he is bickering with his brother or having a stern telling off from his father, Loki seems to get all the best lines. Hiddleston simply is Loki, and it is incredibly hard to see anyone else playing the role now.
With a cast as large as this one, it can be difficult to find the time to fit everyone in. Luckily, director Taylor has somehow managed it, with each character seeming to get at least one memorable moment. A particular favourite of mine, is when Idris Elba’s Heimdall brings down a Dark Elf warship singlehandedly.
Unfortunately for Natalie Portman, her role as love interest Jane Foster, is largely reduced to nothing more than playing the damsel in distress, which I feel Marvel may have to address if they wish to keep her onboard for any further adventures. It also regrettable, that while Christopher Eccleston’s big bad is indeed a nasty character, he doesn’t get to do much beyond snarl at our hero and utter words in a made up language. This is no discredit to either Portman or Eccleston mind, it is just simply that their roles don’t seem to have been truly fleshed out.
Despite being titled, The Dark World, Thor and Asgard itself are as bright and fun as they were the first time around. It’s quite spectacular to look at, and the work done to bring Asgard to life is truly exceptional. Not once do the effects waver, and the suitably bonkers final showdown between Thor & Malekith is a sight to behold. This ending will also apparently tie into a future episode of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. for those of you who are keeping up to date with Marvels TV show.
In Summary: At times bizarre, but never anything less than hugely entertaining. Thor: The Dark World is superior blockbuster entertainment, showcasing a studio truly on top of its game.