Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) been busy. As a protector of the nine realms, the crown-prince of Asgard has his work cut out for him fighting threats and uprisings on various fronts. To make things worse, the one worthy of Mjolnir can’t stop thinking about that one earthling, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who’s been doing everything in her power to let go. When the nine realms begin to align — something that happens every 5,000 years — Foster finds herself the newest vessel of the Aether, a weapon created long ago by Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) of the Dark Elves. As the convergence edges ever closer, opening a portal through all nine worlds, the race is on to secure the Aether or destroy it before the entire universe is shrouded in eternal darkness.
Thor: The Dark World feels about as epic as the Avengers does in scope with a budget that doesn’t have to account for an ensemble cast led by superstar Robert Downey Jr. That means more money for special effects which T:TDW has in spades. A mashup of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones — the movie’s director is GoT showrunner Alan Taylor — The Dark World feels as comfortable showcasing sword battles as it does following sword-like spaceships flying air raids into golden cities. The blend of sci-fi, fantasy, and disaster movies works well together, and there’s plenty of emotional development as several characters make important transitions.
And while the kudos for production are plenty, the movie’s strengths also become its greatest weaknesses. T:TDW suffers from too many characters and too little time. The Dark Elves are compelling, and their leader is introduced and dispatched within the span of a single movie along with the rest of his race. Various plotlines simply disappear — Sif’s (Jaimie Alexander) romantic interest in Thor doesn’t lead to anything important for either character — and Odin, the highly-respected All Father, is once again undermined when his character turns to brash and unreasonable measures for the sake of pushing Thor into being the responsible one. Still, the movie’s a lot of fun with candid humor and a sense of great wonder, and those watching can find themselves on various sides of the spectrum depending on their preferential taste.
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
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Directed by: Alan Taylor
Written by: Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, and Tom Hiddleston