Last Level Press

Film Review: Thor: The Dark World

Reviewer: Olen Bjorgo

Of all the Avengers themed films that Marvel has churned out, I’m probably partial to Thor: The Dark World for three reasons: 1) it’s the most fantasy inspired of the big four, 2) it combines fantasy and mythology with super-advanced science fiction, so it’s really more like science-fantasy, and 3) my ancestors were probably Vikings if you never noticed my name. The third is mostly superficial, and I like to think maybe one of them helped discover Iceland or something. Look, my point is that you should go watch Thor: The Dark World.

Or, for the ladies out there, 50 Shades of Loki.

Thousands of years ago there existed a race called the Dark Elves and they had a super powerful relic from before the dawn of time called the Aether, and with it they wanted to destroy the nine realms, our realm being Midgard, and bring darkness to the universe since they saw the nine realms and light as a bad thing, but were defeated by Thor’s grandpa and were presumed extinct. Jump to the present, and you’ve got Thor and the warriors of Asgard trying to bring order to the nine realms, since they were also in chaos after the Battle of New York in The Avengers while Loki is imprisoned for his actions on Earth, and Jane Foster trying to move on when she discovers a reading she hasn’t seen since New Mexico, which was when she met Thor in the first film. Jane accidentally rediscovers the Aether, the Dark Elves wake from their hibernation, and the entire universe could be destroyed. And it would be a real shame too, since that means the next Captain America film will be almost two hours of darkness.

Or another Frank Miller movie.  Same thing, really.

The film, as you can pretty much expect from any film made by Marvel Studios at this point, is a glorious spectacle to behold. The first views of Asgard are as big and imposing as you might expect, with glistening buildings of stone and iron, the main road into the city being a translucent material that shimmers with all colors of the rainbow while you see turrets and flying ships just blends together to create this mixture of the archaic, the futuristic, and the fantastic. Since the nine realms are about to be aligned in a rare event called the Convergence, there are random portals open to the various realms, so we get to see many of them, albeit Asgard and London are the two locations which get the most attention and serves as a real contrast not only to each other but also to the desolate Dark World, Svartalfheim (pronounce with caution). Of course the film isn’t just eye candy: the fights are great too. As could be expected of such monumental figures like Odin and Thor there are battles to match as well and, without giving too much away, let me just say that my personal favorite is the last battle when Thor is in Greenwich.

The audio is bombastic and fantastic, but isn’t outrageous. What do I mean? Well it’s what you might expect from a movie featuring a superhero based on the Son of Odin and God of Thunder: lots of beats, very Middle-Earth sounding in its vastness and epicness. However, I never felt overwhelmed by it. The visuals for sure because they’re just so damn pretty, but the music? The music worked for me. It presented the mood and worked with the visuals and narrative rather than overpowered or worked against them. The only exception would be Jane Foster’s cell phone ring tone, but when has a ring tone ever been a compliment to something going on in a scene?

“Whose phone is ringing during my movie?”

The narrative is, for all intents and purposes, decent. While you never get much motivation for why the Dark Elves want to do anything except for they’re evil and want revenge, we get plenty of motivation for why our heroes fight: they want to protect their home, they want to stop the utter destruction of the universe, they want their revenge for their loved ones, it’s the usual you would expect from the good guys. I will say that I did enjoy the jokes that were thrown around. Some might not like that, but I do. Sure there’s the quip here and there, but it feels like fun and it’s nice to see characters playing off each other as well as poking at each other like they’ve, y’know, fought countless battles and have an uncertainty of surviving.

Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston, who played Thor and Loki respectively, were great to see with each other and have at this point made the characters their own in a way similar to how Robert Downey Jr. has become synonymous with Iron Man or Samuel L. Jackson with Nick Fury. Seeing Thor and Loki in their natural surroundings certainly helped with their chemistry with other characters, especially other Asgardians. Natalie Portman reprised her role as Jane Foster, and while she has most of her role relegated to being either a damsel in distress or the being sought after by the Dark Elves after she took in the Aether, she still had her moments of being proactive and even being of essential importance in the final battle rather than simply being an onlooker to the ordeal. And then there’s Christopher Eccleston who played Malekith, the ruler of the Dark Elves, and wow did I not recognize him at all. While much of his dialogue was in another language with subtitles, the one time he finally did speak English it sounded nothing like him. As far as being a dark and intimidating ruler who sought to destroy everything and return the universe to darkness, it would give the Daleks a real run for their money. (It was either Doctor Who or G.I. Joe, so I’m making reference to something actually worth watching)

Like this movie, for instance.  Hint hint.

         And so I have sung the praises of this film, a song worthy of any mead hall! Well, maybe the one when you want to go slumming if you just want cheap booze. But yeah, I definitely recommend this film, especially if you were left unimpressed by the first Thor film. If you enjoy the comics I honestly couldn’t tell you if they’re faithful or not, but I can say that despite knowing very little of the comics I liked what it presented. If you’ve liked the prior films that Marvel Studios has made, then definitely have a go at this one. And if you’re just gonna see it because you like Chris Hemsworth or Tom Hiddleston, well who am I to judge?

Rating: 7.8

Visuals: 9
Audio: 7
Narrative: 7
Acting: 7
Atmosphere & Experience: 9

  Director: Alan Taylor

  Producer: Kevin Feige

  Studio: Marvel Studios

  Release Date (U.S.):  Nov 8, 2013

  Release Date (U.K.):  Oct 22, 2013

  Release Date (JP):  Feb 1, 2014

Final Verdict:


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Last Level Press © Copyright Cliff Davenport  Est. 2013.   | Legal Notices

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