The trailer for Thor: The Dark World was one of the very first articles posted on this site when it was nowt but a fledgling young pup in April this year. So it was with great excitement that I went into Marvel’s latest offering.
The film starts very much in the vain of the first Thor. Anthony Hopkins’ Odin gives us some narrative exposition about the creation of the 9 worlds and the threat of the Dark Elves. Whilst this feels a bit wishy washy in terms of bland introductions it does nevertheless mean we are abreast of the story right from the off.
Thor is very much the kingly god now. Following the events of Avengers Assemble he has taken the noble stance of bringing peace to all worlds, all the while maintaining his focus on being a better leader. But something is missing, and that is Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster. It is plastered all over the norse god’s face that all he wants is to be back with his mortal maiden. As luck would have it the lady in question soon happens upon the very weapon the Dark Elves are looking for, thereby thrusting her right into the fray and making Thor’s return to Earth an essential inevitability.
What is most noticeably different about this Thor film is the look. Director Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones) has given Asgard and the norse characters a much more grounded feel. Gone are the lofty space opera trappings of Kenneth Branagh and in their place are much more lived in aspects of the realm. Whilst not always feeling grandiose this does root the story in a kind of mythical reality (if that’s possible).
It is great to see the interplay of the Thor/Loki relationship again. The trickster is played with predictable aplomb by Tom Hiddleston, whose deceitful eyes mean that working out Loki’s true motives are almost impossible, though here he is given the chance of redemption following the attack on New York; will he take it?
So what of the Dark Elves and the Dark World of the title? Though this villainous race are intimidating and at times genuinely scary they sadly needed more screen time. It felt like the many scenes needed to depict Thor’s journey meant that Christopher Eccleston as Elf leader Malekith was given short shrift, meaning his menace was confined to a fairly 1 dimensional character with virtually no room for nuance.
“Look at you. Still all muscly and everything”
Saying that the action is stunning. The level of action as well as the choreography has been massively upped from the first Thor and the battle sequences that take place in London are as thrilling as anything Marvel has produced thus far. There is also a sequence depicting a traditional ritual in Asgard that is one of the most stunning visual sequences this writer has seen in a very long time.
Oh and in case you are wondering, yes there is a post film stinger which comes in the middle of the credits. There’s also an end credits stinger too, so be sure to stick around to the very end and you’ll get even more for your money.
Definitely worth seeing on the big screen and proof again that the unstoppable Marvel blockbuster machine can consistently pump out one great film after another.