Movies: Thor: The Dark World

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston
Directed By: Alan Taylor
Written By: Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely; Story By: Don Payne, Robert Rodat; Comic Book By: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby
Marvel Studios, 2013
PG-13; 112 min
4.25 stars (out of 5)


Like so many fantasy movies, this one begins with exposition, in this case about how Dark Elves once tried to use a weapon called the Aether during a convergence of the Nine Worlds (or Realms; I've had different people tell me different things, but since this is called "The Dark World" . . . ???) to send the universe into, well, darkness. I'm not sure why; all the exposition didn't make that clear. Can they not stand light? If so, seems like it would be easy enough to get rid of them. But since they seem to do fine in light in other parts of the movie . . . I don't know. ::shrug::

Okay, so of course it didn't work out for them, and the Asgardians defeated them and—since apparently it can't be destroyed—buried the Aether. Let me also just note that a lot of fantasy movies are dependent on things being buried. And hopefully staying buried, though of course there wouldn't be a movie if they did stay buried. I'm just saying maybe burying stuff you don't want others to find isn't the way to go.

Anyway, skip ahead to present day and Dr. Jane Foster (Portman) is in London and has been pining for Thor these past couple years, but in the meantime is trying a date with Roy from The I.T. Crowd. Except weird stuff is happening in the world of physics because, as it turns out, we're due for another convergence and that makes gravity and the boundaries between the Worlds all wonky. While off exploring these phenomena, Foster gets pulled into another World and the Aether enters her body to use her as some kind of host.

Meanwhile, in the shiny, happy world of Asgard, Loki (Hiddleston) has been incarcerated and Thor (Hemsworth) has brought relative peace to the Worlds. After beating the tar out of them with his hammer. (Seriously, maybe they'd rebel less if you didn't always come around and break all their stuff.)

His work now done, Thor goes to check on Foster and discovers she has—just a matter of minutes before! talk about timing!—something strange inside her. So he takes her to Asgard to have his doctors look her over. Lo and behold, the Aether runs through her veins!

Which brings the remaining Dark Elves to Asgard in search of her/it.

Then there's some fighting on Asgard, and in another World, and then back on Earth (in Greenwich, conveniently enough, though I guess they'd say that's what Foster & Co were there to study) as the convergence becomes exact . . . Whatever. I won't give the play-by-play except to wonder that Thor, who can fly for the gods' sakes, wastes time going three stops on the Tube. Also, after Thor breaks Loki from the Asgardian dungeons, is Loki really wearing those duds or is he really just in his crappy prison garb and projecting an image of better clothes? I mean, did Thor bring him his good clothes? Or didn't they have time for that?

As ever, Hiddleston steals every scene he's in and pretty much owns the role as Loki. I like that they play up the trickster element of Loki's personality here, that he was a god of fun and games. And while this is what Hiddleston is best known for, he's been smart to show range over a variety of projects; I'm rapidly becoming a fan.

Rene Russo, too, does a fine job here as Frigga, though I wish they'd had more opportunity to explore her relationship with her sons. I guess that's not what people go to a Marvel movie for, though.

On the whole, despite my nitpicking, Thor: The Dark World is a fine and solid entry in the line of Marvel Avengers films. It entertains just as it is meant to, going mostly from one action sequence to the next with little in between. One might consider that "tight" writing, as there is nothing extraneous at all; the film is very plot driven, and character (which is taken for granted here under the assumption the audience already knows them all, and that none of these characters is expected to grow or change in any significant way) need not apply. In the end, I rate Thor: The Dark World as somewhat better than the first Thor, or the Captain America movie.

Just one final question, though: Did the Asgardians clean up after the Dark Elves invaded and yet leave one of the downed Elven ships just sitting in, like, the Throne Room? In case, I guess, someone might need it? Oh, and where is Odin? (I'm seriously looking forward to the Everything Wrong With entry for this movie.)

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