My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Director: Alan Taylor
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston, Jaimie Alexander, Zachary Levi, Ray Stevenson, Idris Elba, Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgård, Rene Russo and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.
Plot: Thor (Chris Hemsworth) returns to Asgard in his second solo outing after the events of The Avengers. When Asgard is attacked by Malekith, (Christopher Eccleston) a Dark Elf from another realm, Thor promises to protect his planet… and the one that he loves on Earth, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). As the threat develops Thor is forced to ask his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) for help, despite being locked in a cell for his crimes…
When he’s not getting beaten up by the Hulk or teaming up with Captain America to defend the Earth, Thor has quickly won over our hearts with his slick ways. Thor is a god – quite literally - and Chris Hemsworth plays a huge role in that. (Uhm) The suit of armour, fake English accent and hammer all shape Chris’ Thor look, which he plays oh-so-convincingly.
The film picks up where The Avengers had left off; Thor has dragged Loki and the tesseract back to Asgard after he used it to destroy most of New York. Loki is now paying for his crimes after being imprisoned on orders from his father, King Odin. While Loki spends his time in a prison cell, Thor is off being the hero and is doing what he does best - defending innocent people.
The Dark World draws back to the nature of the first film as we are taken back to Asgard, where we’re reintroduced to its CGI- heavy setting. Family is the most important thing to Thor and an ageing King Odin means that the battle for the throne still goes on; despite the fact that Thor doesn’t want it, while Loki craves for the power.
While Thor is off being all macho and god-like defending his planet; on boring old Earth, Jane Foster has been worrying about him. It’s been two years since they first met and he hasn’t visited. She knows that her superhero returned to Earth to help S.H.I.E.L.D, meaning that she is annoyed that he didn’t pop by. As we know from The Avengers, S.H.I.L.E.D had relocated Jane to London for her own safety and we see her trying to move on with her life. However, when her intern Darcy (Kat Dennings) discovers something unusual, Jane recognises the signs. Although the odds play against the two being together, Thor comes down to Earth to whisk Jane off to Asgard for the first time.
Jane plays a pivotal role in the story and she is so much better than the first film. Kudos to Natalie Portman for that. Jane isn’t a flimsy damsel; she’s an astrophysicist who wants to save the Earth and Asgard, as much as Thor and she uses science with the help of Darcy and Dr Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) because that what she knows best.
Jane’s unexplained absence in The Avengers meant that she missed out on all the fun. So, naturally, she couldn’t help but slap Loki right in the face upon seeing him for the first time. “That is for New York” she says as she throws one across his face to which the God of Mischief smugly replies, “I like her”.
As she has been taken to Asgard for her protection, we relive the planet in the same way that she experiences it for the first time. Asgard plays a huge role and while most of the action takes place here, a dreary London is equally important for the story. The CGI brings to life the planet and we see truly see its awe as a magical world, that we didn’t see in the first film.
When we first see Loki, he’s handcuffed, miserable and about to be imprisoned. He’s suffering the consequences of New York, despite not seeing destroying it as any wrong doing and he is still chasing the Asgardian throne. While the former villain (he’s more of an anti-hero now…) spends most of his time in a cell, sometimes reading a book, Thor ends up asking him for a favour and he naturally doesn’t trust him. When he reluctantly agrees to help Thor, we see more of our favourite villain - and Tom Hiddleston’s performance doesn’t disappoint. Loki is still his witty and charming self, and we see him squabble with Thor over the smallest things.
The villain of the film is far worse than anyone expected. Christopher Eccleston puts on elaborate make-up to transform himself into the leader of the Dark Elves, Malekith. The elves have an ancient feud with Asgardians and Malekith vows to take control of all the realms, the first being Earth. His dark ways trace back to 5000 years ago when he found a way to be reborn after Thor’s grandfather had destroyed The Dark World. He decides to attack Asgard, all guns blazing, purely for revenge and Thor promises to do all he can to stop him. Wouldn’t want to mess with that.
The Dark World is much darker than Thor’s first solo outing. There’s so much more at stake and the Norse God finds himself gambling a lot for the ones he loves, mainly with Jane on his mind. Thor is so much more brilliant in this film and Chris Hemsworth is the reason why. He embodies everything we love about superheroes and he proves once again that Thor is one kick-ass dude. The film is definitely better than the first one and all of the actors have stepped up their game. The characters are on one hell of a roller coaster ride - and its final destination isn’t pretty.
Could this be one of the best Marvel films yet?
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Image credit: Marvel