In Thor: The Dark World, the god of thunder takes on ancient foes thought to be long extinct.
The Dark Elves of Svartalfheim, led by their ruler Malekith (played by Christopher Eccleston of Doctor Who), have been awakened from a long slumber and have returned to see the Nine Realms fall into darkness.
To make things more problematic, astrophysicist Dr. Jane Foster, Thor’s human love interest, has become infected with a deadly substance known as the Aether and may not survive much longer without Asgardian help.
With enemies at the gate and a damsel in distress, Thor must fight to bring balance back to the Nine Realms before Malekith uses the imminent approach of the Convergence (a rare alignment of the Nine Realms) to wreak havoc on the entire universe.
From the very beginning, this movie is big. The landscapes are huge, the cities (including a larger, revamped Asgard) are magnificent, and the battles have an epic feel to them; the movie as a whole is noticeably bigger in scale than the first Thor.
However, while it may provide some great eye-candy and make for a few solid battle sequences, the frequent Lord-of-the-Rings-esque tones cause TTDW to feel as though it lacks an identity.
The film switches between superhero, action, and epic fantasy feels and never quite gets them to synchronize perfectly.
The other main issue of the movie is that it seems to contradict the first film concerning the character of Odin, who, after standing firm for peace in the first film, seems overly anxious to ride into war this time around.
The inconsistencies aren’t glaring, but they do create a small gap in the usually steady storyline of the Marvel universe.
On the plus side, the film features plenty of what viewers have come to love about Marvel films.
The humor, a good portion of which is contributed by Dr. Foster’s intern, Darcy, is far and above that of most other action films, and Darcy’s interaction with her own intern, Ian (yes, the intern has an intern) provides laughs that range from needed comic relief to rolling in the aisles.
The storyline features just enough surprises to keep the viewer intrigued (don’t worry, no spoilers here) and the battles, as CGI-heavy as they are, are ultimately enjoyable; the final battle, in particular, is especially thrilling.
The best part of the film comes once Thor recruits Loki to help him complete his task.
While this part of the movie, unfortunately, doesn’t come around as early as it should, watching the brothers’ witty banter and god-sized quarreling is endlessly entertaining, and Tom Hiddleston’s performance as Loki is nothing short of fantastic.
While it may not be a favorite of the critics and probably won’t be included on many lists of Marvel’s greatest films, Thor: The Dark World takes a color-by-numbers approach and executes it well enough to provide a solid combination of action, humor and at the very least, Loki.
Is it as good as the first one? Maybe not, but it’s still worth checking out.