After Marvels’ immensely successful Phase 1, which culminated in 2012’s The Avengers, Phase 2 began this last summer with Iron Man 3 and continued with Thor 2: The Dark World.
What is most impressive about Marvel’s success with their movies other than the world building is that each movie feels different then the last while still building on what came before and setting up what is yet to come.
The first Thor was a movie that many believe shouldn’t have worked, but Kenneth Branagh brought a Shakespearean gravitas to the film with its themes of redemption, learning to be a hero, and the sibling rivalry over the affections of a parent. Thor 2: The Dark World does what any good sequel should, in that instead of delivering the same old; it ups the stakes while remaining an immense pleasure to watch.
Chris Hemsworth returns as titular hero and makes what could have been a bland character very likable. In fact, the whole cast is uniformly excellent and every character gets their moment to shine, but it’s Tom Hiddleston’s Loki that steals each every scene, whether confined in prison or giddily steering a ship through a narrow gap. Someone give him his own movie already.
If the film has a flaw it’s that the villains are completely forgettable. Christopher Eccleston is wasted under a ton of make-up as Malekith, a dark elf hell bent on acquiring the dangerous Aether, which has found its way inside Thor’s girlfriend Jane Foster. This unforeseen complication prompts Thor to bring Jane to Asgard for safekeeping and to meet his parents.
Alan Taylor, a TV director who gained recognition from his work on Game of Thrones keeps things moving at a brisk place, and a Viking style funeral mid-movie is as beautiful as it is touching. At times, I thought I was watching a Sci-Fi epic, in that the action scenes involving the Asgardian and Dark Elves ships had me thinking they would not be out of place in the Star Trek reboot.
Thor 2: The Dark World was a worthy successor of the original and sets up promising events to come.