Before I start this review, I want to fully acknowledge that I’m a huge Thor fangirl. He’s probably my favorite Avenger in the current MCU lineup, and I’ve been reading his comics for years. I knew going into this movie that I wasn’t going to be able to be unbiased. So I will reiterate this right now–while I did give this review a ‘full price’ rating, I did have some serious problems with this movie, but I do not think those issues will detract from the casual viewer’s experience. I will also be attempting to keep this review as spoiler free as possible.
This movie’s opening is much like the first film’s opening–that of Odin telling a story of another planet within the Nine Realms. First movie had us seeing the frost giants attack Midgard, and in this one, we see the army of Asgard fighting the Dark Elves on their homeworld of Svartalfheim (that name is hilariously hard to say–which is why the movie is called Thor: The Dark World, and not Thor: Svartalfheim), as they attempted to harness an energy that would plunge the world into darkness. As with all pesky little things of power, the energy was not destroyed, but tucked away for safe keeping, until someone would find it again and start the battle over again. Which they do, of course, when a certain human comes in contact with the substance.
Chris Hemsworth is back once more as the titular Thor, all brilliant smiles and bravado. While I can’t give away a great deal without spoiling anything, while I did love Thor, as I always do, I felt that his characterization suffered in this movie. While it was brilliant to see him making plans, and showing that Loki is not the only smart one in the family, the writing leaves him to make some singularly selfish and un-Thor like decisions to move the plot forward. From what I understand there were some heavy re-writes to add more Loki into the film and change the course of the film while on set. It’s obvious that some decisions were not well thought out. Loki (Tom Hiddleston), for his part, is again a joy to watch, and some of the best scenes of the film were between Loki and Thor. This Loki, more so than in the other films, is much more like his comics counterpart, and I enjoyed seeing that.
I will say that Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) was a bit of a dud in this, as she had been before. While I understand she cares about Thor, pining for two years over a man she knew for only a week or so, seems silly. Because of a plot device, she spends a great deal of the movie out of commission, half carried through situations, with little control over herself. At the climax she does show her worth, working once more with her partners in crime Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) and Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings). Darcy was a hidden gem in this movie, and I loved every damn scene she was in. Another gem was Frigga (Rene Russo), who was a key part in the emotional hold of the story. There is a true love between her and Loki, that is very reminiscent of the comics, and it was a delight to see on screen. Odin, Heimdall, Sif, and the Warriors Three play their small parts well, with the exception of Hogun, who is left on his planet, and completely cut out of the shenanigans for reasons I don’t understand.
Villain wise, I feel that Christopher Eccleston was very underutilized as Malekith. While he was menacing, and the destruction he wrought had a definite impact, I do not think his reasoning was well explained to the viewers. He served his purpose, though, and gave the plot a solid enough grounding, there.
Please don’t misunderstand my complaints; I did truly enjoy sitting in the theatre, and the action scenes are great–in particular, the ‘portal tag’ that goes in the final battle scene was a blast. This movie had action, humor, and some poignant moments. I just happen to believe that the first Thor movie did emotional scenes better. There is a solid movie there, it just falters more than it needed to.
I still would highly recommend that people see it in theaters. Hell, I’d even see it again! So if you have a chance, definitely catch it, and feel free to come back here and disagree with me on points!