I saw Thor: The Dark World at the midnight showing in a double feature with Thor. Overall I’d say I prefer the first one, but I enjoyed Thor: The Dark World a lot and Marvel have been astonishingly consistent with the quality of their movies. This film takes place after Avengers Assemble and a lot of it takes place in Asgard. The Convergence is approaching (an event that only happens every 5,000 years) and Jane Foster has unknowingly unleashed the power of The Aether, a deadly substance that the leader of the Dark Elves, Malekith, seeks to utilise to plunge the universe back into darkness.
That’s the broad stroke of the film, but the main conflict that everyone wants to see is between Thor and Loki. I’m pleased to say that Loki had plenty of screentime, and there was a lot more playful bickering between them than there was in the first film. There were a lot of callbacks to the events of New York, and there were a couple of surprising things that I really didn’t expect. I’m going to say that this film was pretty good; I enjoyed it a lot but there was one major negative which I can’t turn a blind eye to.
One of my wishes from the first film was to see more of the Warriors Three and Sif, and while they had slightly more to do I would still like to see them join Thor in a final battle one of these days, much like the first battle in Thor. I liked how the romance developed between Thor and Jane and it was good to see her venture into Asgard. The bits in Asgard were cool too, I thought Heimdell was used less than in the first film, but he still had an imposing presence. Thor’s mother had a bigger role as well her performance really impressed me, and it made me wish she had been a bigger presence in the first film.
The main two things that I really loved were the visuals and the action. I thought the director used a good colour palette, and the dark crimson that soaked the screen whenever the Aether was present was an excellent stylistic choice. The battles were awesome too, especially the way the director used the Convergence for some inventive fight scenes in the climax. That worked really well and fixed one of my criticisms of the first film; that the fight with The Destroyer felt a little anti-climactic.
So, overall it was very good and I don’t really want to go on about it too much because if you like Marvel and you like Thor you’ll like this movie. There were a couple of negative things, one is that I thought the process by which they learned of Malekith’s target was a bit sketchy, and the scenes of the Dark Elves walking through London reminded me of an 80s Doctor Who episode. I think costumes like that look more threatening when cloaked in darkness.
Speaking of the Dark Elves, this is my main complaint, the villains were criminally underdeveloped. I was quite excited when I heard that Christopher Eccleston was playing Malekith because I like him as an actor, but in truth anybody could have played that part. He was simply a cardboard villain with a clichéd motive that doesn’t really fly nowadays. Because of that the film lost a bit of dramatic weight but it’s not something that ruined the film for me.
I also want to mention that Thor: The Dark World works well at setting up Guardians of the Galaxy. The Dark Elves used spaceships and laser weapons, and it bridged the gap between the mystical setting of Asgard and the sci-fi setting that GotG will be using, but it didn’t feel like T:TDW had to compromise its own identity in order to do so.
Now bring on Captain America: The Winter Soldier!