Review by J.T. Johnson
ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: October 22, 2013
DIRECTOR: Alan Taylor
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Kramer Morgenthau
WRITERS: Christopher Yost, Stephen McFeely, Christopher Markus
MUSIC: Brian Tyler
Thanks to the movie “Thor” in 2011, I had finally become a fan of Marvel’s God of Thunder. When “Thor: The Dark World” was released in 2013, I was not disappointed and really enjoyed the bigger scope that the film had when compared to the original film. Watching the film this time, its impact has dulled somewhat due to the fact that so many other exciting films have since been released.
Like “Iron Man 3”, the biggest problem that plagues “The Dark World” is just how long it takes for the action to get started. Seriously, beyond a brief opening sequence where Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is trying to restore peace to the nine realms, we don’t get to the real meat of the action until about 40 minutes into the film. Before that, it’s just setting up Jane Foster’s (Natalie Portman) discovery of the Aether, a mysterious substance that can bring darkness to everything it touches.
We also get a setup for Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), the leader of the Dark Elves that is trying to attain the Aether for his own twisted purposes. The big problem with Malekith? He is absolutely the most worthless villain in all of the MCU. Granted, there have been other cutout villains in the MCU but at least those such as the Red Skull had something resembling a personality. I’m willing to bet that anyone else out there that saw this film can’t remember much about Malekith as he is only in the flick to give Thor someone to fight in the third act.
Aside from lagging narrative at the top of the film and a forgettable villain, though, I found that I still enjoyed “The Dark World”. The action, when it finally starts, is top-notch as we see the Dark Elves infiltrating Asgard and Thor and Loki setting off to go after Malekith. This all leads to a brilliant climactic action sequence in Greenwich where our heroes manipulate time and space to avoid the convergence that will allow Malekith to take over the universe.
The performances are also solid for the most part. Hemsworth had played Thor twice before in the original film and in “The Avengers”. Therefore, he is completely comfortable in the part and gives us the perfect big screen Thor once again. Portman is also great as Jane, a character that is a fish out of water as she finds herself in Asgard this time out. Thankfully, we also see the return of Darcy Lewis (Kat Denning) and Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) to provide comedic relief to an otherwise serious film.
That’s my only other gripe with this movie. It can take itself a little too seriously at times and is a gloomier entry into the MCU. This was thankfully corrected in “Thor: Ragnarok”, so it was quite shocking to remember how dark this film was, but no one should really be surprised by that. After all, “Dark” is in the title.
This is far away from being the best film in the MCU and I probably wouldn’t even include it in the top half of the films that have been released up to this point. Still, the entertainment value is still good, the action is clean and the performances are solid.