I was never raised on comic books and comic book characters (though I was aware of characters like Batman, Superman, and Spider-man). However, that hasn't stopped me from enjoying the Marvel Avengers series that started several years ago. After seeing Iron Man 3, however, I grew a bit worried that perhaps the franchise was showing signs of dying in terms of quality, which made me a bit worried about Thor: The Dark World. Nonetheless, last night I went and saw it.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
"Thor: The Dark World" picks up about a year or so after Thor has returned from Earth with Loki in chains and the Tesseract. Since the Bifrost is now repaired, Thor and his warriors have been busy putting an end to wars in the Nine Realms, but he still misses Jane. Jane, in the meantime, still misses Thor but is trying to move on. While in London, she accidentally finds herself transported to a mysterious place and possessed by an ancient evil weapon known as the Aether. Thor finds her and brings her to Asgard, where the Dark Elf leader Malekith (who had previously possessed the Aether and plans to use it to unleash darkness on the entire universe) attacks the world, looking for the Aether. When tragedy strikes, Thor reluctantly turns to his imprisoned foster brother Loki to help him destroy the Aether and save the universe from being destroyed.
The story was fairly easy to follow, but some of the scientific aspects were a bit off, which left holes in the overlying plot. Like where exactly Odin's father Bor buried the Aether and how Jane managed to find it. The idea of the Nine Realms converging every five thousand years was a cool one, but it didn't make sense in that how Earth managed to survive the last time the convergence happened. Despite a few issues, the writing was pretty good. Even though the story has a fairly dark tone, there was plenty of humor to balance it out; much like "Avengers" and quite unlike "Iron Man 3," the humor was well-placed, in-character, and memorable (I absolutely love the scene where Loki imitates Captain America).
The characters were generally well-done. Hemsworth did good as Thor, and Hiddleston was excellent as Loki; I liked their interaction in this film, as we never got to see a lot of direct interaction in their previous films together. I also liked the briefly expanded roles for Frigga (whose strong, motherly personality comes out more) and for Heimdall. Erik Selvig (who has gone crazy because of the events of "The Avengers") and Darcy (whose humor is still there) also have somewhat bigger roles. The only character I wasn't happy with was Jane Foster. I know Portman can act, but her role as Jane is not one of her better ones, and I don't think there's much chemistry between her and Hemsworth either.
Visually, this film is stunning. I loved the new look for Asgard and a more detailed look into its people and its Viking-esque culture; that and watching it get destroyed by Malekith made Asgard feel more real and less like a shiny, untouchable city on the other side of the universe. I enjoyed seeing parts of the other Nine Realms, which were beautifully done. The makeup and effects for the Dark Elves (not your Tolkien-esque elves) and other creatures were also impressive. And, not to mention, that it was nice to see another city other than New York get destroyed in the last battle of the film.
Oh, and a brief shout-out to Brian Tyler, who did the soundtrack for this film. It was amazing, and I am looking forward to listening to it again.
In conclusion, I really enjoyed "Thor: The Dark World," way more than "Iron Man 3." Even though its different from its predecessor, I found it memorable and believe it is a worthy addition to the "Avenger" movie series canon.
I give it four out of five stars.
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