Director: Alan Taylor
Writers: Christopher L. Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (screenplay), Don Payne, Robert Rodat (story)
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston
Thor: The Dark World was the eighth film in the by now well established Marvel Universe along with being the second of the Thor movies. All the key players from the first film return (much like with the other MCU properties) and we pretty much get a similar film to the first, only with a much darker story and bigger and better set designs and scenes.
We start with another Hopkins monologue telling us about the events of the past and a mighty war that pitted the Asgardians (Led by Odin’s father) against the Dark Elves, led by the evil Malekith (an excellent Eccleston). Malekith wished to send the nine realms back into eternal darkness using the destructive force of the Aether, a form of dark matter.
Malekith, realising his loss sacrifices his own people in an attempt to destroy the Asgardian army while running away to lick his wounds and lay dormant, biding his time. After their victory, the Asgardians buried the Aether deep underground where no one should or would ever find it. In the current time, Odin is listening to Loki’s pleas (a wonderful Hiddleston) while Thor and his friends attempt to bring peace back to the realms.
The story and action here are much more quicker paced than in the first film. Much like with Iron Man, the second film, having done away introducing us to the main characters gets us straight into the meat and potato of the action. Action scenes are filmed here and the special effects are mostly excellent along with some beautiful photography.
Alan Taylor, who before this big budget feature mainly directed television episodes (with the odd made for television movie thrown in) certainly upped his game and proved worthy of him being picked. The Dark World is quicker, tighter, faster and more action packed than it’s predecessor by a mile. The screenplay is certainly not to Iron Man’s standards but is acceptable enough.
As for the cast this time round, Hopkins does his best Shakespeare once again, Hemsworth as Thor huffs and puffs adequately while still looking every inch the Norse God. Natalie Portman does her best damsel in distress while Hiddleston once again whines and spits his dummy out (though is much better this time around in my opinion).
I feel full credit should really go to Hiddleston as I literally cannot stand the character of Loki. In part I’m sure is due to Hiddleston’s excellent acting and as said earlier, I feel he is much better in this than he was in the first film or the Avengers. The scene stealing award must go to Rene Russo though. Once again she is thoroughly excellent in a minor role and definitely has the best scene of anyone. Stellan Skarsgård is once again is his usual brilliant self and provides much of the films light relief and comedic moments along with Thor’s one-liners and wit.
There isn’t really much more can be said. Audio is also good and the soundtrack, while impressive is not in your face (ala Iron Man) and seamlessly blends into the background so you barely take any real notice of it. Certainly on a par with the first film and an improvement over Marvel’s previous film in the franchise which was a little bit of a let down.
The Sage’s Rating: