The library of Marvel films features a series of interconnecting storylines. As a result, some films are weaker than others. With the origin films having been made, predecessors must learn to be strong while maintaining the original storyline. Thankfully, Thor: The Dark World secures this balance. The Dark World follows the legendary hero Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in a mission to stop a race of night elves led by Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) from spreading a dark substance throughout the universe. To defeat him, Thor begrudgingly enlists the help of his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who has his own schemes. From strong writing to electric acting, The Dark World adds a strong chapter to the story of Thor. Of the slew of superhero sequels hitting theaters, this film is one of the strongest in the Marvel franchise.
The crux of the film lies in the power of its fanbase. After the cataclysmic success of the Avengers, Marvel started to better tailor their films to the chaotic few who look for one longing glance as evidence behind their Thor and Loki fanfiction. The film caters to this fanbase in two ways: writing and acting. In terms of the writing, The Dark World offers a drastic improvement to its predecessor. The first film showcased a mad dash to the finish line, trying to cram an entire origin story while getting ready for the Avengers. This sequel offers audiences a newfound freedom in the screenwriting, taking the time to flesh out key dynamics, such as between Odin and his sons. In addition, side characters are given more time in the spotlight, in particular the character Heimdall, played by fantastic Idris Elba. By not rushing through these relationships, audiences have more time to immerse themselves into the world of Asgard. Audiences can lose themselves in the technically stunning world of Asgard, complete with starry canvasses and sprawling kingdoms. Understanding the individual dynamics provides a guide for audience through the many twists of the film. Unlike the first film, audiences are not confused as to character motivations. The acting and chemistry between the actors have also improved dramatically since the last film. In terms of acting, Tom Hiddleston completely steals the show as Loki. His snarky commentary throughout the film makes him as charismatic as he is devious. He provides the perfect balance to Thor’s stoic personality, creating a chemistry that is hilarious to watch. By the end, the film transcend above the desires of the fanbase, becoming enjoyable for the general audience as well.
Despite starring Chris Hemsworth, who some would consider a god in his own right, the film is nowhere near perfect. Foreshadowing in the film is painfully ham-handed. Key scenes and bits of dialogue allow audiences to know what will happen fifteen minutes before it does. For a film peppered with plot twists, the pattern of reveal becomes boring quickly. It does not help when the film drags on these plot twists, which end up stunting to overall pacing of the film. However, the character of Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman most undermines the strength of the film. Though she displays incredible intelligence, her character is inextricably tied to Thor as the love interest. Giggling and bumbling overshadow her stubborn and determined nature. The film also exploits her body as a vessel for Aether, the substance requires to spread the darkness. Unlike Sif and Frigga, two strong Asgardian women, the film wants audiences to relate to Jane instead. This portrayal speaks volumes for Marvel’s representation of women throughout the film adaptions, struggling to achieve the balance between the independent woman and the love interest.
Thor: The Dark World is a wonderful film to chase away the dreary November. If anything, Chris Hemsworth taking his shirt off should be a plus.