Any film set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after the record breaking Avengers (Assemble) was always going to have it’s work cut out for it, but following on from this Summer’s smash hit Iron Man 3 made the task even more daunting… thankfully Thor The Dark World more than holds it’s own and delivers a truly enjoyable science fiction fantasy adventure.
Aesthetically Thor The Dark World is spot on, taking what looked great in the first outing and expanding it to the spectacular in the sequel, think Star Wars meets Lord of the Rings, simply put Marvel’s sci-fi Viking world would have Jack Kirby drooling. For the most part the CGI is seamlessly tied to practical effects, making for a truly immersive venture into the 9 realms.
Chris Hemsworth delivers another fine performance as the God of Thunder and will have you speaking in Ye Olde English to the bemusement of your buddies afterwards (Just me? Really?). The supporting cast all deliver great portrayals of their Asgardian characters, with everybody’s favourite gatekeeper, Idris Elba’s Heimdell, getting a particularly badass scene…. And even Kat Dennings manages to be less annoying and more humorous this time round as Jane Foster’s assistant Darcy (seriously, we’re not even joking!). However, once again, it is Tom Hiddleston’s reprisal of the God of Mischief, Loki, that really steals the show. Despite two feature films being the villain, Hiddleston manages to get the audience to root for him, and the film is at it’s best when the two brothers are side by side bantering back and forth. The only (slightly) disappointing portrayal was from Christopher Eccleston’s Malekith, although this can be mainly attributed to an abundance of prosthetics masking his usually emotive expressions, and a lack of time spent with the character, a pretty one dimensional villain who is simply hell bent on plunging the 9 realms into darkness (I wonder where they got the film’s title from?).
Which brings us to the plot, despite the exciting battles, breathtaking visuals, and solid performances (as well as a rousing score) Thor The Dark World at times just feels a bit slow to get into it’s stride. However once we (finally) see the two princes reunited again the films takes a turn, and doesn’t slow down. As the title suggests Thor The Dark World is notably darker in tone than it’s predecessor, but still manages humour aplenty, and had the audience laughing in all the right places. Like Iron Man 3 there are Avengers (Assemble) references scattered throughout, resulting in the greatest Marvel cameo to date (yes, even better than Tony Stark’s “therapist” in Iron Man 3). As a Londoner it is also great to see the fine city in another 2013 blockbuster, and as much as I can suspend my disbelief of God’s battling Dark Elves on the “mean streets” of East London, getting on such an empty Northern Line train is too far fetched for my liking, let alone then getting to Greenwich from Charing Cross in 3 stops.
Overall Thor The Dark World provides another fine romp in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with some formidable science fiction fantasy action scenes even bigger in scope than the first Thor film (although still not on the same epic levels seen in Lord of the Rings), fantastic visual effects, and strong three dimensional characters (with the exception of the aforementioned Malekith). If you liked the first Thor film then this is a must see. If you liked Avengers (Assemble) then this is a must see. If you loved 27 dresses, well maybe you might want to give this a miss.