Film Review: Thor: The Dark World

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Thor and Loki

REVIEW Avery Phillips

“Some believe that before the universe, there was nothing. They’re wrong. There was darkness… and it has survived.”

After the record breaking success of The Avengers and months of anticipation, Thor: The Dark World has a lot to live up to. Thankfully it does not fall to fulfill expectations, even surpassing them in some aspects, and offers up two hours of action, humour and heart break in just the right amounts to keep you satisfied.

Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor is sitting in the director’s chair this time round, bringing with him a darker and grittier atmosphere than was apparent in the previous film (before anyone asks: yes there is nudity, yes it is censored, and no it does not involve Thor, Jane or Loki…sorry). However, the bright humour and clever gags present throughout prevent things from getting too bogged down, providing relief whenever things get too dry or serious and keeping everybody in fits of laughter. The humour is definitely a high point of the film, sure to inspire plenty of Tumblr jokes in the weeks to come.

Another high point of the film is the excellent acting of the main cast. Once again Chris Hemsworth truly embraces his role as Thor, delivering a fantastic performance which reflects the personal growth of the character since his first appearance. Natalie Portman as Jane Foster also puts in a decent (if at times underwhelming) performance, making the most of the expanded role given to her. Nevertheless it is Tom Hiddleston’s Loki who steals the show, with his witty banter, sardonic smirking and flirtatious intonations reaffirming exactly why he is The God of Mischief.

Although I had concerns that Loki’s popularity might have a negative impact on the film, these fears have proved unfounded. The writers have struck a good balance between utilising a popular character and overdoing it, with Loki playing an important but still secondary role to Thor. The scenes shared between the two are the highlights of the film, expanding on their brotherly relationship in a way that is one part funny and two parts heart wrenching.

My greatest criticism of the film is its overreliance on monologue to progress the story and the lack of pacing displayed. Some of this can be attributed to the difficulties of adapting extensive comic book mythos to the big screen, but even taking this into consideration it’s still hard to justify how rushed the film feels in places. It would have benefited from an extra half hour to flesh out certain plot points and expand on some of the more emotionally poignant scenes.

Also disappointing was the lack of development given to Malekith, played by Christopher Eccleston. Rather than play up the talents of an experienced thespian actor, Eccleston’s Malekith is simplistic and lacking the depth that could have made him a truly terrifying force to be reckoned with, something which is particularly noticeable given Loki’s presence in the film. Nevertheless he does the best with what he is given, making Malekith effective enough that you don’t feel like it’s a letdown.

If you were hoping for a continuation of the political themes found in Iron Man 3 and hinted at in the Captain America: The Winter Soldier trailer, you will be disappointed to find that this is a straight up epic sci-fi flick. It does the job incredibly well however, with incredible special effects, strong action scenes and electric dialogue. While certainly not a perfect film,Thor: The Dark World  is an excellent addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a powerful sequel to the original.

Now Loki just needs to get his own movie, god dammit!