It would be easy to look back at the ten years and over 20 films that make up the Marvel Cinematic Universe and see it as a complete success but Thor: The Dark World is an example of a miss for Marvel, but an entertaining one. Although they had been making superhero movies for around 6 years by this point, it becomes clear by this movie that there is a safe formula to stick to and although that formula clearly works, it makes for a rather generic superhero film now the franchise and series has made greater strides.
This is classic Marvel though and a solid superhero movie. Chris Hemsworth is secure in his role of Thor and the action sequences are very well-staged and exciting, bringing a smile to anyone who likes their superhero action with wit and cool moments. The movie does well to set up a fairly decent plot, with the main hook being that Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster has to travel to Asgard to find a cure for a strange “infection.”
This offers some very good moments, from Jane “meeting the parents” which leads to some awkward but good scenes with returning Anthony Hopkins and Rene Russo, to a teased but under-explored love triangle with Jaimie Alexander’s Sif. Best of all is the returning Tom Hiddlestone as Loki. The movie does a good job of making him more of a anti-hero than an out-an-out villain and the best moments of the movie are when Hiddlestone and Hemsworth get to bounce off each other with chemistry you could easily mistake for being genuinely brotherly.
So far so Marvel and in that respect, the movie has issues with its villain. Marvel struggles with its villains in the early franchise movies and Christopher Ecclestone’s Malekith is no different. There is a slightly explained back-story and some peril introduced, with Malekith getting to strike at the literal heart of Asgard, but compared to Loki in the first Thor movie or the Thanos through the franchise as a whole, Malekith makes no impact. It is a shame because Ecclestone is such a great actor and given some scenery to chew on, he could have been very memorable but he becomes another generic factor in what is a fairly standard Marvel movie.
Even by 2016, after the heroes had come together in The Avengers and Downey Jr had shone in Iron Man 3, this movie feels like a step-down for the series. Compare it to what Marvel are producing now, particularly Thor Ragnarok, and this is wide of the Marvel mark. It is still Marvel though which means it is nevertheless a very good superhero movie, just not by their own standards.
Overall, The Dark World is a fairly generic Marvel superhero movie. Hemsworth steps back into Thor’s shoes with ease and the cast is great but the plot never really excites and the villain is shamelessly wasted. Well worth a watch for the links to Endgame though.
Rating – 3.5
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