Thousands of years ago when the universe was covered in darkness, a race known as Dark Elves led by Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) fought to keep the universe in darkness by using a weapon called the Aether. Warriors from Asgard, led by Odin’s father, defeated them and hid the Aether where they believed it would never be found.
Jumping forward to present day, it’s the lovely Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) who discovers an anomaly similar to the one which brought Thor to Earth. She then gets sucked into a wormhole and becomes exposed to the Aether. Meanwhile, Thor becomes worried about Jane because she has disappeared from the sight of Asgard’s realm watcher Heimdall (Idris Elba) and decides to return to Earth to search for her. When Thor and Jane are reunited he realizes she has some sort of energy source inside of her, so he takes Jane up to Asgard to see if the ancients can help her. Upon examination, Thor and his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) realize the Aether is inside Jane which means the Dark Elves and their leader Malekith will be attacking Asgard to obtain their weapon and cover the entire universe in darkness. The only chance Thor has in stopping the Elves is to team up with his half-brother Loki and for them to work together to finish Malekith off once and for all.
Thor: The Dark World reunites an A-list cast with some impressive action but has an incredibly slow start. Chris Hemsworth returns once again as Asgard’s mighty champion and both looks and sounds the part, as does Sir Anthony Hopkins who’s back again as his father who is a little too anxious to turn over his throne to his son and take on retirement. Natalie Portman is back as Jane, Thor’s love interest on Earth, and delivers what just might be her worst performance since Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. But without a doubt the best role and performance in the film is by Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Thor’s half-brother who still yearns to rule Asgard and dethrone his surrogate father. The best scenes are with Hiddleston and Hemsworth arguing as two siblings yet still having an underlying brotherly feeling for each other. It’s their chemistry which prevents the film from becoming a boring and forgettable sequel.
The biggest problems with the movie are it takes way too long for this rather simple story to get started, with the annoying and useless scene of Jane on a date trying hopelessly to get over Thor as well as the overlong prologue opening about the Elves and Odin’s father’s battle over eternal darkness…yawn! The second major problem is waiting until the film is half over to finally free Loki from his dungeon and have him team up with Thor against Malekith and his Dark Elves. It’s the strong chemistry between Hiddleston and Hemsworth and the wonderful performance of Hiddleston as Loki (the now anti-hero of the story) which is the film’s most entertaining element.
The action and fight scenes are well choreographed and fun but not overly impressive, and the 3D is almost non-existent.
With a sluggish start but a memorable performance by Tom Hiddleston, Thor: The Dark World is an entertaining sequel but comes up far short of surpassing the original film.
Thor: The Dark World is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content.
– By Kevin Finnerty
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