Thor: The Dark World is the sequel to both the 2011 Thor and the 2012 crossover film, The Avengers. I really enjoyed this movie. It was not perfect, but it was mighty darn good.
The plot was straightforward—nothing too in-depth or complex—but, in this case, that’s not a bad thing. A simple-yet-workable plot let other facets of the film shine. There are a couple of plot twists, but they don’t overwhelm the rest of the film, and they’re very skillfully done.
A couple of plot points could have used more development, especially the developing relationship between Thor and Jane. The actors have odd but surprisingly good chemistry. They’re completely charming in the couple of scenes where their characters can just interact…but they only had a couple of scenes, out of the whole movie. That storyline felt very rushed. The alignment of the worlds also felt rushed, though that’s more forgivable.
I loved the costumes, and I admired how each character’s garb added to the character. Thor’s makes him look very much the shiny-armored hero. Loki’s asymmetrical garb keeps viewers visually off balance, just like the character wearing it. Odin and Frigga look very regal. Sif’s two outfits capture the two facets of her personality that we see in this film. The garb for the Earth folks is boring, which is completely realistic. You wouldn’t expect to see phenomena-chasing scientists running around in spandex suits or high heels. The clothing suits the roles and adds a visual element to the characterizations.
Character development in this movie really shone. Script, direction, and actors combined to give the main characters solid, credible, multifaceted motivation. We get that Odin is a strong ruler, but we also get that he’s tired and aging, that the long security of Asgard has rendered him blind to its present threats, that he truly loves his wife. We get that Frigga is a gentle counterpoint to Odin, and a beloved mother to Thor and Loki, but we also get to see her as an Asgardian warrior and queen. Thor himself has to grow quite a bit as a character over the course of the movie (stay until the very end of the credits for the payoff of that growth), and it’s a lot of fun to watch.
And Loki…wow. They had so much fun with his character. In the past, he’s just been a villain—arrogant, clever, a pretty foil for Thor. This time…in a very good movie full of very strong characters, Loki steals the show. We get much more of the trickster that Loki plays in Norse mythology, all updated and polished for the Marvel universe. The scene where he’s imitating Captain America is howlingly funny. I was trying to guess and double-guess what Loki was really up to, right up to the final scene. His motivations and methods are marvelously diverse.
As for what he really is up to…it’s brilliant and does a fantastic job of setting up the presumable sequel, while still giving viewers a solid, satisfying ending for this film. Thor: The Dark World is worth seeing on the big screen, more than once.
Release Date: November 8, 2013 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (social, celebratory drinking)
Language: 1 (one character uses “the S word” on a few occasions)
Nudity: 1 (brief, pixelated news clip of character wandering Stonehenge au natural)
Sexuality: 0 (are you kidding? they didn’t leave time for anything like that)
Violence: 3 (very little blood and gore, but lots of fight scenes, including character deaths)