Thor: The Dark World (2013)

thor the dark world poster 2013 movie chris hemsworth natalie portman
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Tom Hiddleston, big ending

Slow start, so-so acting

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Thor:  The Dark World

Studio:  Marvel Studios

Genre(s):  Comic Book/Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Romance

Release Date(s):  October 22, 2013 (London Premiere)/November 8, 2013 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

thor the dark world mjolnir hammer chris hemsworth

I like to make an entrance

Odin’s father Bor stopped Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) and his army of Dark Elves in their attempt to return the universe to darkness through an unstoppable energy called the Ether.  Now, his son Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and grandson Thor (Chris Hemsworth) find themselves facing the danger again.  While searching for Thor, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) accidentally uncovered the hidden Ether as the worlds begins to converge once again.  Jane is now fighting for her life, and Malekith has returned with his agent Kurse (Adewale Akinnuoye) doing his bidding.  Malekith could mean the death of the universe, and Thor must betray his father to team with Loki (Tom Hiddleston) if Malekith and the Ether can be stopped.

Directed by Alan Taylor, Thor:  The Dark World is a Marvel Comics action adventure fantasy.  Following Iron Man 3 in 2013, the film serves as a sequel to Thor (2011) and a follow-up to The Avengers (2012) and is the second entry in the MCU Phase 2 films.  The film was met with moderate reviews and big box office opening numbers.

thor the dark world malekith christopher eccleston

Dark Elves of Malekith seems like a pretty metal band name

Of the Marvel “Phase 1” films, Thor was probably my least favorite film.  I loved the Thor-Loki-Odin triangle, but found most of the Earth stuff quite weak, both in acting and script.  Here, there is more Asgard (a plus), but much of the Thor-Loki-Odin dynamic has been forgotten in exchanged for a slow paced action movie.

The story of Thor:  The Dark World is where Thor really fails to strike.  At the end of the first film, Thor was tragically stuck in Asgard and possibly never returning to Earth.  In Avengers, he just showed up apparently pretty easily and never even contacted his love Jane Foster.  Thor:  The Dark World seeks to rectify this with a rather sappy love story (which tried to reintroduce tension between Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and Jane…which failed), and the real plot with Malekith never really gets going until the end of the story which does have some rather good action scenes.

thor the dark world jane foster natalie portman chris hemsworth

Jane, are you buying this “I was too busy to contact you during the events of The Avengers because I was trying to protect you” line?

The story (like the original film) has some really misguided humor peppering the movie.  I know that you can’t do a fish-out-of-water story like Thor without some humor, but I find the humor very jarring.  Kat Denning’s role is fortunately toned down a bit, and the Warriors Three and Sif are almost non-existent…but when they show up along with Stellan Skarsgård, I feel like the movie just hits the breaks.  Most of the jokes don’t come off as funny, but rather annoying.

It is unfortunate that the script isn’t better because most of the cast is great.  Chris Hemsworth plays the broody Thor a bit heavy (I wish he was more like Marvel’s Hercules who enjoys adventure), but is still a good match.  Despite c0-starring, I didn’t feel that Portman had much to do in the film and much of the stuff involving her just seemed like deus ex machina and forced.  Hopkins is good and less over-the-top like in the first film, and I did like Rene Russo as Frigga (Odin’s wife).  The Warriors Three surprisingly mostly lost Tadanobu Asano who is merely a cameo, but I do like Zachary Levi as Fandrall (who replaced Joshua Dallas)…less so the still miscast Ray Stevenson as Volstagg.  Like the Warriors Three, Jaimie Alexander doesn’t get much screen time, but the all-seeing Heimdall role is expanded with Idris Elba (that’s a good thing).  As mentioned above, I think Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), her “intern” Ian (Jonathan Howard), and Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) really hurt the movie.  I like Christopher Eccleston’s Malekith, but the role does not have much meat.  There are also appearances by Guardians of the Galaxy character the Collector (Benicio del Toro) and Tyr (Clive Russell) in a post credit scene…plus there is fun cameo by Captain America (Chris Evans).

thor the dark world tom hiddleston loki

Let the games begin?

The star of this film however is Tom Hiddleston as Loki who feels like the most rounded and “real” character.  His scenes are just fun and his allegiance is always in question.  I really enjoy the comics where Thor and Loki are forced to work together, and that section of this film is also the best part of the movie.

Visually, Thor:  The Dark World also is sometimes questionable.  I love the mix of technology and swords.  The odd thing is that sometimes the effects are great, but other times they could be the level of Doctor Who…I love Doctor Who but that necessarily isn’t a great thing for a film (I think the Dark Elves remind me of Cybermen in appearance).  It was nice to see that now the Marvel Universe has torn up New York and London…though I highly doubt Thor could make it from Charing Cross to Greenwich on the Tube in an emergency situation with any speed.

Thor:  The Dark World continues to be the weakest of Marvel’s Phase 2 line-up.  I really, really want to like it, but find that it just suffers from so-so plots filled with humor that misses the mark (see Iron Man for a film where the humor hits).  Despite this, Thor:  The Dark World is probably a must for any fan of Marvel Comics or their Avengers line-up.  Thor:  The Dark World was followed by Captain America:  The Winter Soldier in 2014.  Thor returned in Avengers:  Age of Ultron in 2015, and Thor has his own sequel in Thor:  Ragnarok in 2017.

Related Links:

Thor (2011)

Thor:  Ragnarok (2017)

Thor:  Love and Thunder (2022)

The Avengers (2012)

Avengers:  Age of Ultron (2015)

Thor:  Tales of Asgard  (2011)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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