Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman in “Thor: The Dark World”
It’s been two years since Marvel released Thor as an episode of Phase one in its cinematic universe and at lot has happened for better and for worse. Iron man 3 set up what looked like a troubled phase 2 and Agents of Shield aired on ABC. Agents captivated fans and Iron man 3, although a phenomenal box office success, managed to piss of anyone to ever pick up a comic book new to the medium or a seasoned reader. Although everyone would like to forget that Iron Man 3 was even green lit in the first place, Thor: The Dark World is evidence that Marvel is still a good form of entertainment that doesn’t like to disappoint.
Tasked with ensuring peace is heard throughout the nine realms of the Galaxy by Odin (Anthony Hopkins), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) seems to be dealing with the aftermath of the Chitauri attack better than his fellow Avengers. However, this task is easier said than done as Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), a dark elf whom shares a history with Odin’s father Boar, threatens to destroy the Galaxy in search of an entity called the Aesther (pronounced “Ether”). Malekith is a supervillian truly to be feared through looks alone, but he is also able to toss Thor around as if he were a play toy.
Although she wasn’t in The Avengers, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) Thor’s “Mortal” and possible lover suddenly becomes directly involved with the Aesther. This reunites the couple, but all is not well on the home front as can be expected with any long distance relationship. Portman’s Foster isn’t nearly as neurotic as she was in Thor’s first outing and for the better. It allows the character to develop while still progressing the story forward. Meanwhile Kat Denning’s Darcy Lewis, a cut and paste Max Black from her regular gig on 2 Broke Girls, is still following in Jane’s footsteps this time with a new intern (Jonathan Boothby). Darcy is clearly meant for comic relief, but ultimately some of the more important scenes in the film come off as humorous without aid. It’s a problem that seems to have transfixed its way over from the first film, but it is relatively minor compared to the way it seemed to have engrossed Kenneth Branagh’s world that established the Marvel character in the first place. The Dark World directed, by Game of Thrones alum Alan Taylor, is far better and far more entertaining as well. Not that Branagh’s take on the world was invalid; it just lacked proper pacing.
Thor is full of rich characters like Sif (Jaime Alexander), Volstagg (Ray Stevenson), Fandral (Zachary Levi), and Hogun (Tadanobu Asano). Each of the actors turns in yet another fantastic performance, despite having minor yet very important roles. The Lady Sif however, appears to be taking on a slightly bigger role in future Thor films to come, Unlike Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgaard), whose third appearance in the marvel universe also appears to be for comedic relief rather than for actual storytelling.
The Dark World is without question a major improvement over its first film and will certainly break records, as superhero movies tend to do these days. The question is can Marvel continue to pump out fantastic content? We’ve already seen a major hiccup with the Iron man films, and its now questionable if we’ll get another and it’s the flagship of the franchise. Not to mention how Marvel also revealed their plans for Netflix exclusive content earlier this week. Marvel Can’t afford another misstep, it could be fatal.