Thor: The Dark World (2013)


Guys want to get hammered with him, girls want to get hammered by him. He’s Thor, and he’s a pretty cool guy.

After the whole incident in New York, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is back in his homeland of Asgard, but this time, is being locked away for all eternity, banished from the rest of society. This is when Thor (Chris Hemsworth) finds that it is his time to shine and take over the throne, just as his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins), is getting ready to step down right off of it. However, not so fast there! After years and years of exile, the ruler of the Dark Elves, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), comes back to shake things up and make Asgard his own play-place where things crash and burn on a daily-basis. Thor won’t have this, however, he’s almost too powerless due to the fact that his heart and mind is elsewhere. Or, to be specific, back on Earth, where his old flame, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), is still thinking about him to this day, while also trying to get over him date-by-date. Not going to be so easy now, especially since he’s back and asking for all sorts of help from her and her band of scientific misfits.

Though many people were skeptical about it, myself being included, Thor turned out to be a nice surprise that not many were expecting. For once, we not only had a funny superhero movie that didn’t quite enter the realm of “smug”, but we also had one that was still exciting, light, quick and entertaining, despite practically being a filler so that we have one other character developed for that inevitable Avengers movie that did not disappoint much either. Still, with Marvel Phase Two already have begun with Iron Man 3, one has to wonder: “Now that we’ve seen what was in store for us with the huge team-up, will the stand-alone sequels/prequels be able to measure-up?”

Well, the answer is definitely yes, and definitely no. Here, I’ll explain more.

"HAR! HAR! HAR! THOR LAUGH!"
“HAR! HAR! HAR! THOR LAUGH!”

What I mean by the “definitely yes”, is that while these types of movies where we focus on one superhero’s own adventure, with their own subplots, themes and such, we still get a feel that there is a larger-universe out there just waiting to be explored, but just won’t be. That’s not a problem however, considering that it seems like Marvel is comfortable enough now with actually mentioning that there are other superheros out there, and that the whole NYC debacle actually did in fact HAPPEN. Heck, there’s even a couple of brief mentions of the S.H.I.E.L.D. and how they’re lurking around, which was still cool to hear, even if I don’t watch the show. Just yet, that is.

Anyway, so yeah, it’s definitely cool that Marvel doesn’t shy away from actually making mentions of there being others out there in the world and that they may just be waiting to show up whenever the time is right. Personally, I don’t know how anytime of distress isn’t considered “the right time” to get the band back together, but it’s a big old whatever. Obviously I don’t run things in the movie business and I’m pretty sure we all know why now.

But what about that “definitely no”? Well, the reason why I said that is because the stand-alone sequels will never, ever, not in a million years, be on the same, larger, grand epic-scale that the Avengers movie itself was, which may disappoint some far more demanding-viewers, if that’s the type of movie they want. To be honest, I knew going into this that I wasn’t going to get the whole group of Nick Fury, Steve Rodgers, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, or even Agent Coulson for that matter. All I knew, and wanted, was the same old fun-feel I got from the first Thor movie, and that is exactly what I got, no strings attached or added. Just fun, and for a movie that’s coming out against some Oscar-bait, heavy-hitters this month, I have to give it the huge benefit of the doubt for at least bringing some upbeat vibes to a very chilly atmosphere. That’s if you walk outside and you live in the Northeast. Other than that, I think you don’t you’d be smelling what I’m selling, but so be it!

All that you need to know though about this movie is that it’s as fun and exciting as the first flick was, but with a lot less of the comedy-element thrown in there to round things out. This sort of disappointed me, and it sort of didn’t. It did because I thought that’s what separated the first one from being such a dark, serious take on a superhero who would most likely get that type of treatment; and it didn’t because while the first two-thirds of the movie keep its serious moods and faces afloat, the last-act is where I really felt like things were coming together and firing on all cylinders. Not only was the huge climax as much of a CGI-spectacle as you’d expect, with all sorts of action going on in each-frame-per-second, but the humor just kept on having me laugh. All of that “fish-out-water” comedy that seemed to run so rampant in the first movie, is back here again but used to even better effect, showing us that even though these movies tackle such subjects as Norse gods, demons and angels, there’s a still an under-lining of self-knowing silliness to it all that makes it more than just your standard brain-killer. It has a personality; the same type of personality you’d want to be hanging around at any party or social gathering you go to.

Keep that in mind, especially before that painful ten year, high-school reunion.

A lot of that comedy works mainly through the fact that Chris Hemsworth himself is such a lovable goof, that it’s easy to see past his terribly good-looks, rockin’ bod and ability to charm any gal he pleases to with his Australian accent, and realize that he’s actually talented. Now, of course we all knew that after seeing the first Thor, Cabin in the Woods and especially, Rush two months ago, but to see that he still has it continues to make this blandly-written character somewhat interesting, really charmed the hell out of me. But seriously, on a real, standard-business note, somebody’s got to pitch the idea of getting Thor his own sitcom. Every line, every piece of comedy that comes out of this dude’s mouth or occurs around him, is just pure hilarity and had me, as well as plenty others, howling whenever necessary. Just saying, we’d all benefit from it. Even you Stan Lee, you old bastard.

Just look at the promise he holds for all sorts of situational comedies in the future!
Just look at the promise he holds for all sorts of situational comedies in the future! Take notice, NBC!

And like usual, Tom Hiddleston steals the show as Loki, giving us a character that’s easy to love, but also, even easier to hate by how evil and despicable his actions can be. Still though, there is signs of humanity with this character that goes further than just, “he loves his bro,” which is either a testament to Hiddleston’s talents, or the writing for Loki itself. I think it’s a little mixture of both, but more so of Hiddleston just because he seems so damn charming, on and off the screen. While Loki’s character still prevails as being the most interesting and worth-watching villain we get with these movies, that leaves little to no room for Chistopher Eccleston’s Malekith to do anything even remotely menacing or memorable. Instead, he just comes off like a bad extra from Lord of the Rings that showed up a bit too late to filming after he heard that he got the role of a lifetime, and partied too hard the night before.

The rest of the ensemble does pretty fine as well, with everybody contributing in anyway that they possibly can. Idris Elba is awesome and still bad-ass as Heimdall; Anthony Hopkins and Rene Russo do nice jobs as the rulers of Asgard, proving that seniority rules, even in Marvel movies; Natalie Portman gets plenty of screen-time to be all sorts of fun, sassy and fiery when she’s called on to do so, and it’s nice to see her back on the big screen and doing what she does best; and of course, Kat Dennings and Stellan Skarsgård are around to be goofy and zany in their scientic, nerdy-like way, and they’re fun to watch, especially Skarsgård who’s constantly running around like a loon, to much of the audience’s pleasure. Glad to see him put his pants back on though. Only in a Lars von Trier movie should we have to be victim to a sight like that, not a Marvel movie, THE SAME ONES THAT KIDS GO TO SEE.

Consensus: The first movie’s surprise-factor still works well against Thor: The Dark World, but still shouldn’t be held fully against it because it as fun, as exciting, as witty and as much of a spectacle as you’re going to get with a movie released at the beginning of November, right before the army of drop-dead serious, Oscar-bait projects begin to swarm in. Enjoy this while it lasts, because it’s the closest thing we’re going to get to “fun” in the longest time.

8 / 10 = Matinee!!

Are people still pissed about this guy being in it?
Are people still pissed about this guy being in it?

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

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71 comments

  1. Seeing this film Saturday and I’m SO excited for it! Love that I’m seeing all these positive reviews. I skimmed your review for now (I want to go in knowing the bare minimum), but once I see it I’m gonna have to come back later and compare opinions. 🙂

  2. Good to see the positive word. I am looking forward to this one when it releases here this weekend! Thor and Captain America are my favourites, even as most would go for Iron Man & Hulk 😀

  3. Nice review, Dan, though I personally liked this a helluva lot more than the first Thor. In fact, I’m really finding myself digging the hell out of these Phase 2 movies quite a bit so far, and look forward to the rest of the batch. Still, either way, certainly another fun outing here. 🙂

  4. Nice review, I wasn’t blown away by the original but I enjoyed it enough to eventually go check this out. Sounds like there’s a lot of fun to be had here, which is the most important thing. 🙂

  5. Really glad you liked it. It was a lot of fun! Alan Taylor’s input really shines here, bringing his Game of Throne’s style with him. The action sequences and sets are remarkable, especially the film’s last act between Thor and Malekith. It’s a shame how underdeveloped Malekith was.

    Nice review!

  6. Awesome, Dan! A few reviews were getting me down but you have renewed by spirits, Sir! I’m catching this tonight and we’ll have a review up on LTBM tomorrow. Looking very forward to it. Oh, and yours is about the 4th reference to LoTR I’ve read, lol.

  7. Great review! I really liked the film, even though the first one is still my favorite. I love Thor movies because they are not too serious and there is a plenty of humour in them.

  8. I had a lot of fun with this and I’m glad they went that route because all of the fantasy Asgard stuff is just too silly to be serious. A little heavy with exposition in the first act but it pays off by the end, and Alan Taylor impressed me with his feature film debut.

  9. While I liked Thor, I really enjoyed the sequel. I thought it was better in all areas, especially the humor. I agree that Hiddleston steals every scene he is in. And I liked that even with the large cast of characters they all got a chance to do something to shine. That was one of the things that made The Avengers so great.

    • I get why some would think it’s better, but for me, the ending did take a little bit too much time to get going. Unlike the first one that kept the speed and fun throughout.

  10. Haha! I totally forgot that people were actually pissed that Idris Elba was cast as Heimdall. That is funny. Nice review, and I totally agree with you about Maelkith.

  11. Good review, I scrolled down yesterday just to see how you rated it, and now just read this after seeing it. I enjoyed it last night and your review is bang on.

  12. Very good review Dan. I agree with you that the cast is good and they all do a good job with their roles. I just wanted the story to expand on their characters more instead of giving us the same ones as before. The main villain in this was very forgettable in my opinion. He would have fit in perfectly for the animated series of this.

  13. Agree with your review dude. I loved the fun feel of Thor. And you’re right… Here comes the Oscar baiting films, so we can kiss goodbye to true popcorn fodder for a while!

  14. This is a pretty glowing review compared to what I’ve seen. I liked the 2nd half, but the beginning was so needlessly complicated with exposition and special effects. Tom Hiddleston saved it after they broke him out of jail.

  15. Great review on your end as well. So true that Loki steals the show (and after seeing the video on YouTube of his spot-on Owen Wilson impression, you might be right about Tom Hiddleston as well 😛 ). Not just the fact it was one of the previews, Lord of the Rings did come to mind a couple times with the scenery. Looked like something out of New Zealand.
    I’m in the minority, enjoying “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” which should be cool next week because the storyline takes over where this movie left off.

  16. 8/10 is much higher than I’d rate this Thor sequel. I thought it was entertaining enough, but mostly just plain average, more along the lines of 5 or 6/10. From a visual and special effects perspective it was kind of like Game of Thrones-lite meets Star Wars prequel. I didn’t think the film was nearly as funny as it thought it was. The whole romance between Thor and Jane didn’t have much spark for me and I agree that Eccleston was overshadowed by Hiddleston. Loki was definitely the best part, especially when he was goofing around with all his shape shifting and there was that cameo from another member of the Avengers team. Hiddleston can get away with delivering silly lines like “Trust my rage.” The end credits sequence was a nice reveal for upcoming Marvel projects at least.

  17. It’s funny and action-packed, so I like those type of lightly entertaining flicks. I think I’m still more of a Batman type-of superhero myself, as far as the superhero niche genre goes, but these are still awesome to kill nearly two hours with. I really do hope I like the second Avengers movie more… Maybe I’ll put that on my Christmas list for when the release is a bit closer… Haha. Nice review, Dan.

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