Marvel pulls out all the stops on this sequel to the first Thor (2011). The Dark World is a spectacular continuation to the Thor saga, as well as to the last film the God of Thunder appears in, Avengers (2012).
Dark World starts out with a history lesson. Odin’s father, Bor fights a battle against the Dark Elf Malekith, who was intent on using a weapon called the Aether to bring darkness to the universe. Bor defeats Maleketh and contains the Aether in a monolith. With his weapon incapacitated, Maleketh, his most powerful warrior, Algrim, and several of the Dark Elves escape into suspended animation.
In modern day Asgard, Loki is imprisoned for his part in the events of the Avengers film. At the same time, Thor leads a battle on Vanahiem to end a two year conflict and bring peace to the Nine Realms. Meanwhile, Jane Foster has moved to London where she is investigating some strange phenomena that allows objects to disappear when dropped and the reappear repeatedly. Jane is then teleported to another realm where she becomes infected by the Aether.
The phenomena that Jane was investigating turns out to be a rare convergence between the nine Realms that randomly opens portals allowing people and objects to pass between them.
Hemidal, the guardian of the main entrance to Asgard, alerts Thor that Jane has gone missing. Thor finds Jane and brings her to Asgard where the Asgardian healers attempt to remove the Aether from her with no success due to powerful energy discharges from Jane whenever she is threatened. With the return of the Aether, Malekith and his minions are reawakened and attack Asgard. A battle ensues and Thor’s mother, Frigga is murdered. Odin orders that no one is to enter or leave Asgard preventing Thor from going to seek revenge against Malekith.
Thor learns from Loki that there are other ways to get out of Asgard but only he knows them. Reluctantly, Thor teams up with his brother and with the help of the Warriors Three, Thor, loki and Jane leave Asgard on a Dark Elf ship and arrive on Svartalfheim. Loki tricks Malekith into removing the Aether from Jane, but is apparently killed in doing so. Thor and Jane return to Earth to continue the battle with Malekith who intends to release the Aether at the center of the convergence between the Nine Realms in Grenwich.
While Thor and Malekith fight a battle that moves between the Nine realms, Jane and her team use their scientific equipment to destroy Malekith saving the universe from darkness.
There is more to the story, but you’ll have to see the film to get the big reveals that take place in the last few minutes of the movie. Also, one should note that it is important when seeing The Dark World, one should stay through all of the closing credits as there are two “Easter eggs.”
Dark World is a slugfest of action from start to finish. The two hours of the film went by like nothing. One of the most endearing parts of this film as that one gets a sense, at least for most of the film, that Loki isn’t as evil as one might think. He comes into his own as a character, and is someone that I came to care about. Loki is also the source much of the humor in this film. At one point, while leaving Asgard, Loki and Thor have a lengthy exchange in which Loki uses his powers of illusion to change himself and Thor into other characters. This scene culminates with Loki changing himself into Captain America which had the audience in stitches (the house was packed, as one might expect). It was a great cameo appearance from Chris Evans and added much to the movie because it was completely unexpected and totally off the wall.
Regular readers of this blog might recall that my main complaint for a previous Marvel film, Iron Man 3, was that it seemed like a running stand-up act for the main character. In that film, the humor seemed forced and after a while I felt that the writers were beating me over the head with it. Not so with Dark World; the humor in this movie is natural, fits in the story well, and is very reminiscent of how I remember it appearing in the comics I read as a young man. Tom Hiddleston almost steals the show with his performance and is worth the price of the ticket alone.
The battle scenes are epic in proportion and are fast paced, but one can get a real sense of and appreciate how again, they are very much like what one would get if reading a comic.
I would also like to point out that there were two death scenes that I found very moving. The first was the murder of Frigga. While she acquitted herself well in battle, she was eventually overcome in front of her son. Along with that was a traditional Viking funeral scene that would be worthy of a goddess and she went out with class. I will miss her character in future films, even though she was not a major character. Renee Russo was brilliant in this role.
Loki’s “death” scene was also quite poignant and was quite heroic for a character that has dangerous ambitions. Hiddleston and Hemsworth played this scene perfectly. I was also moved by this scene despite the fact that I knew that Loki cannot die because there is still so much of his story to be told. And afterall, Loki is a trickster and wouldn’t do anything unless he benefits in some way, up to an including losing his life. The last few minutes of the film will reveal what Loki’s real future might be as well as the future of Thor films.
Marvel Studios did this one right. It is absolutely spectacular in every way a film should be. Great acting, perfect casting, lots of action with a smattering of humor, and not a whole lot of mushy stuff (but there is a little of that too) all wrapped up in a great story. Highest recommendations for Thor: The Dark World.
As a Star Trek fan, I would be remiss at not pointing out that along with Chris Hemsworth (Commander George Kirk of the USS Kelvin), another member of Trek alumni Alice Krige (Borg Queen, Star Trek: First Contact) appears briefly in two scenes as an Asgardian doctor. It was good to see Krige back on the big screen.
Well, there it is…