The Ninjabot

THOR: THE DARK WORLD Review

Posted on November 7, 2013 at 6:47 am by David "Snackbar" Edmundson

titleFull disclosure here. I was not looking forward to Thor: The Dark World. I loved the original, but the trailers and clips I had seen showcased a lot of guns and spaceships, and little of the whimsy and humor that made me so enamored with the original. So boy was I elated and thrilled when I left the theater 2 hours later. Not only did director Alan Taylor introduce the aforementioned science fiction tropes, but he maintained the magic that made the original so memorable. Minor Spoilers below, if you’ve seen the trailers then you are safe, but if you’re a spoiler-free type stop reading now.

Nine-RealmsThor: The Dark World follows the events of The Avengers. Thor is mopping up the chaos that his brother Loki sowed throughout the nine realms. You remember the nine realms right? Those unpronounceable places from Norse mythology. If your knowledge of ancient Norse geography is spotty don’t fret, just check out our handy dandy cheat sheet on the right because this film visits several of the locales, and while not required reading, it’s always fun to go into something with a little knowledge. The bulk of the film takes place on Asgard, Midgard (Earth), and Svartalfheim with several others receiving screen time.

I was surprised what a big part technology played in the film. There was a lot of gun/laser fighting and the Dark Elves fly around in ships that have the ability to cloak and wreak havok on the Asgardians who still use swords and other melee weapons. The main villain is Malekith, played by Christopher Eccleston. Malekith is the leader of the Dark Elves and wants to unleash the Aether (pronounced Ether) on the nine realms, blanketing them in an eternal darkness that will destroy all life. He’s aided on his quest by his minion Kurse, played by the always entertaining Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. Both do a great job, but Eccleston is almost unrecognizable and speaks most of his dialog in an alien tongue, so don’t expect any sweet Raymond Calitri action this time around.

dark elves

We learn that every 5,000 years the nine realms are in alignment and that during that time Malekith can unleash the Aether. Enter Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), far from over Thor whom she hasn’t seen in the two years that separate this film from it’s predecessor. Foster stumbles upon the Aether it is up to Thor to keep her safe. She is upset at Thor for not coming back like he promised at the end of the first film, but quickly gets over it when she realizes that Thor is her only chance to stay alive. She meets his parents, once again played by Anthony Hopkins and Rene Russo, and gets to explore Asgard with us. Hopkins’ Odin still portrays all the gravitas it did the first time, but Russo gets to add another layer to her character, ass kicker. Not since Lethal Weapon 3 have we seen Russo kicking ass and taking names as well.

Thor-Loki

Everyone is on their game this time around.  Newcomer Zachary Levi provides some swashbuckling jokes, but the rest of the cast is the same from our last go around. Chris Hemsworth does his best to look amazing without a shirt while conveying the power that he wields, but let’s be honest, we all know who the real star in the Thor universe is, Loki. Tom Hiddleston is quickly becoming the second most popular actor in Marvel’s stable behind Robert Downey Jr., and this film is his time to shine. His tricks and conniving are all top notch here. His ability to shape shift leads to my favorite moment in the film, don’t worry I wouldn’t dare spoil it for you. For his part, Thor seems conflicted when he is forced to pair up with his mischievous sibling, and their dynamic is both incredibly entertaining and emotionally charged. You really want to believe that Loki would want to reconnect with his brother, but you never quite know if he is using the big lug or genuinely wants to make amends. Their interplay is one of the main things that makes Thor: The Dark World work. You will be left guessing the entire time, one moment you’re sure he’s trying to prove himself to Thor and the next you’re the crazy person in the theater yelling at the screen for Thor not to trust him.

loki-book

As far as the puny Earthlings are concerned. Kat Denning returns as Jane’s partner/intern/friend, and gets the perfect amount of screen time. Enough that she is fun and engaging, but not enough to where you want to jab two ice picks in your ear to stop the sound of her shrills. Stellan Skarsgård returns as brilliant doctor Eric Selvig, but the effects of Loki’s possession of him during The Avengers has left him “eccentric.” He is quick to remind us that you’d be crazy too if you had a god in your head. It was also great to see people’s reactions to Thor. He is famous as a hero of New York and it’s funny to see people wanting to take his picture instead of running for cover.

baddies

The story is easy to follow and enjoyable. Taylor, who is predominately a TV director working on shows like Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire really sets a great pace for the film. It never feels slow, and always keeps you ready for action. All of the realms feel completely different, and their inhabitants portray a world unlike our own. A lot of people are making a big deal that this film is too technologically advanced and that it loses it’s whimsy. I cannot disagree with that statement more. The film is incredibly funny, it’s just not in your face funny. It’s subtle things like Thor riding a subway, or hanging his hammer on a coat hook when he enters an apartment. I promise you that if you liked the humor in the first Thor, you’ll love it in this one.

thor the dark world

Bottom line, if you liked the original, then you will like this one. The film is paced perfectly, funny when it can, and serious when it has to be. If you love the lore of Thor than you will get a kick out of all the realms we visit, and if you just like fun action you will not be disappointed.

Snackbar’s Grade: A-

I would love to hear what you thought of the film. Please leave your comments below. It makes our day when we get to read them; good or bad.

Follow all of Snackbar’s mutterings on Twitter @Snackie_Cakes. And don’t forget to check out our Kickstarter for the Feature Film Non-Stop to Comic-Con.

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