In any good battle, there are always at least two equally opposing forces. There are Good vs Evil, Light vs Dark, Miley Cyrus vs Clothes, etc. In Thor: The Dark World, we see Thor’s greatest enemies aren’t the dark elves, but the light-hearted charm and humor his co-stars use to accidentally overshadow him.
It’s been over 2 years since Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has seen Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), and while he continues to stalk her with the help of Heimdall (Idris Elba), he can’t go visit her just yet. After the events of Thor and The Avengers, the rest of the worlds are in war and chaos. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is in jail and Thor is fighting battles on different wars, so he doesn’t notice when Jane is abducted and possessed by a dark force, the Aether. The Aether was a weapon of limitless power used by the Dark Elves, and still being sought after by the leader, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), who is awakened after Jane becomes host to the Aether.
Against Odin’s (Anthony Hopkins) wishes, Thor brings Jane to Asgard to protect her against what ever has taken residence inside of her, as well as the threat of Dark Elves believed to be long dead. Meanwhile on Earth, Darcy (Kat Dennings) and a screwy Dr. Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) must figure out why there are portals connecting the worlds appearing everywhere, and how to stop it before the worlds align and the threat of everlasting darkness becomes a reality.
This film is misleading. If you’re expecting something darker and more profound than the first film, you will be disappointed, at least only at first. Thor: The Dark World is much more light than dark, with the stars of this action-film-turned-comedy being Loki and Darcy. These kinds of films always have a certain degree of humor, whether its witty one-liners or the consistent Stan Lee cameos, but this film served up an extra serving. Because of this, you start to REALLY enjoy this film after its first act. Unfortunately, Thor’s performance is eclipsed because everyone else around him has effortless charm and a sharp wit. Compared to Loki, Darcy, and even Dr. Selvig, Thor comes off as a dull, stone-faced hammer.
Asgard has always had a near sci-fi feel, but we know it is truly more magic-based. It is Alan Taylor’s first time directing a major blockbuster film, and it shows. His mistake was crossing the magic/science threshold and trying to turn the Thor universe into one of explainable science fiction, when it’s far more whimsical than that. Once you replace the magical elements with science fiction ones, you turn something spellbinding and quirky into a bland sci-fi with predictable villains and even more predictable plot devices. The action sequences are too few, and at times, too bombastic to enjoy, but that is where the humor comes in. The humor makes this film a great joy to watch, if you can get through the generic first 30 minutes of the film.
Thor: The Dark World may not be what you’re expecting, and sure it might come off as just a filler film until the next Avengers, but if you give it a chance, I guarantee it will win you over with its humor and charm. Also, Chris Hemsworth is shirtless at least once, and we all know that is one of the main reasons most people go to see it.
RATING: ★★★★★★★(7/10 stars)
IN THEATERS NOW