2011’s Thor was certainly a movie that had some people split on it. Generally it feels like some appreciated it for the humor, characterization and Shakesperian way of approaching the Asgardian superhero, while others were kind of turned off by the whole fish-out-of-water plot, Darcy, and wishing the whole movie was mainly on Asgard and not so much on Earth. Still Thor was one of the highlights of The Avengers a year later and once Phase 2 kicked into gear, people were anticipating Thor: The Dark World to see if it could actually deliver on what people want: that being Thor fighting mainly on Asgard, less stuff on Earth, and Loki and Thor teaming up to stop the villain. Well it certainly delivered……………. on some of it at least.
The plot this time is that Thor is back defending the nine realms and is soon in position to become king of Asgard. But a dark elf named Malekith is looking for a new weapon known as The Aether, revealed later to be an Infinity Stone. Back on Earth, Jane Foster comes across the Aether which unfortunately infects her, and will eventually kill her. Thor now has to come in, cure Jane, and stop Malekith from getting the Aether and taking over the world.
To get the positives out of the way first, the movie does have some impressive action scenes. There’s one sequence in particular involving a bunch of portals that was pretty inventive and fun to watch. Chris Hemsworth once again is charismatic as Thor and whenever Loki would come on screen, the movie would really light up. He has such a great presence and his interactions with Thor are some of the best stuff in the movie. Plus you can tell that Tom Hiddleston is having a lot of fun with this role. However, all that isn’t enough to save what is otherwise, to be honest, kind of a boring film.
The film is really kind of standard with nothing much to get invested in and I didn’t really care all that much about what was going on. I wasn’t invested in the villain’s evil plan, I wasn’t invested in what was going on Earth with Eric Selvig or Darcy, and I REALLY wasn’t invested in Thor and Jane’s romance. In fact, this movie practically takes the weaker parts of the first movie and amps them up even more here. Did you not like the romance in the first one? Well too bad, there’s more of it here. Did you find Darcy annoying? Well she’s back, and this time she’s got an intern to make stupid jokes along with her. Just to give you an idea of how forced the humor is here, Selvig spends most of the movie acting completely insane because of what happened to him in The Avengers. So, he spends the beginning of the movie running around naked. Why? Well because mind control means removing all basic clothing of course. If that’s the case, is Hawkeye running around Mount Rushmore just streaking?
I also didn’t feel like Thor went through much of an arc in this movie. In the first one, he went through a clear character growth of learning to be humbler and not being so arrogant. Even in Ragnarok he went through an arc of learning that the hammer doesn’t really define him. Here, the closest he gets is learning to say no to sitting on the throne of Asgard, which he already seemed to learn at the end of the first movie.
As for the villain, there really isn’t much to say about him. He’s just a standard boring ‘I want to destroy the world because I’m evil’ villain who has nothing interesting to say, nothing interesting to do, and even Christopher Eccleston looks like he’s kind of phoning it in. I know the MCU has had a reputation of having non-memorable villains in the past, but Malekith has to be the worst villain they’ve ever had in the movies to date. (Say what you want about Ronan from Guardians of the Galaxy, at least I remembered him.)
If Marvel Studios is like the superhero equivalent of Pixar, then Thor: The Dark World is their Cars 2. In my view, it stands as the worst movie they’ve done thus far and is probably the most disposable film out of the MCU film canon. Really, apart from the Aether being name dropped as an Infinity Stone, if you were to marathon all the movies, by the time you got to this you could get up and get a meal during that time, not miss a thing and still be back in time for Winter Soldier.