Alex Yarde makes a return trip to Asgard and he likes what he sees.
Thor: The Dark World begins with Thor, God of Thunder and estranged heir to the Throne of Asgard (Chris Hemsworth), doing his duty quelling riots throughout the Nine Realms. Thor’s earthly paramour, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), has moved to London to start a new life. Dark Elf Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), defeated millennia ago, by Odin’s Father is now hell bent on revenge against Thor’s dad, Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Malekith’s weapon is an omnipotent substance called Aether, another ancient God Killing Maguffin. This is yet another cosmic entity angered by the actions of Odin’s family. The powerful Dark Elves overwhelm the Asgardians prompting Thor to do the unthinkable – free the newly-imprisoned Loki.
The excellent script (written by Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely) adds much needed complexity to the motivations of these characters. Odin is securely positioned as the Don Corleone of the Nine Realms. But loss and war have clearly taken its toll on this leader. Hopkins owns the “heavy head who wears the crown” look. Thor becomes the square shooting, reluctant heir—the Michael of the group—while Loki, complete with a power hungry, treacherous backstabbing id-fueled rage, becomes the Fredo. Queen Frigga (Janet Russo) finally gets a sword in her hand and she’s magnificent in a vital role this time around. The film doesn’t even feature Thor and Loki together for the first hour, but once that show gets on the road, their exchanges are some of the most fun I’ve had in a Marvel movie. One cameo in particular is a showstopper. The brothers Odinson are great and Loki’s devil gets his due.
Thor: The Dark World is not content to tell a small story of a New Mexico town that gets flattened by an empty suit of armor (2011 Thor in a nutshell). This movie is a geek’s smorgasbord of the properties now being put to good use by Marvel Studios and gives hints to plans for their expanding universe. The lavish sets and costumes are also fantastic. From the awesomely designed dark elves with their Borg like alcoves to the impressive space crafts and their weapons (black hole grenades), no detail is left out. Game of Thrones director, Alan Taylor, combines a dark tone, full characterizations and some amazing CGI effects to create a fun filled adventure that is worth the price of admission.
The Warriors three, Lady Sif (Jamie Alexander) and the all-seeing guardian, Hemdall (Idris Elba,) are part of a slick Ocean’s Eleven type caper and all get their moments to shine. Kat Dennings and Stellan Skarsgard minus S.H.I.E.L.D. are around to help lighten up proceedings just enough without being an annoyance. Malekith (Eccelson), who isn’t as compelling as was as his major domo Alagrim the Strong (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje from Lost) plays an important part, he sacrifices himself to become the all-powerful Kurse. In the Marvel Comics, Algim is the most powerful of the Dark Elves and is augmented by the Beyonder by magical armor. In the movie, Kurse is a living weapon that is twice as strong as The God of Thunder. The finale is brilliantly staged. Truly funny sequences are interspersed with tense scenes of the destiny of the Nine Worlds hanging in the balance. It is an epic comic book culmination that would make Walter Simonson proud with protagonists punching each other through spatial anomalies. But as good as the last fight is to watch, the ending in Asgard is one that totally satisfies and will make traditional Thor fans, like me, break out in a schoolgirl giggle.
Stick around for the two scenes at the end of the credits, one of which will clue you in to exactly where we are headed within the Marvel Universe and is not to be missed. Trust me. Word on the street is that the next episode of Marvel Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D airing on the 19th is directly related to the events of Thor: The Dark World. So keep your eyes peeled true believers!