Thor struggles to defeat an enemy neither Asgard nor Odin can overcome while attempting to balance his reunion with Jane Foster and impending rise to the throne in Thor: The Dark World.
To go more in depth to the synopsis:
A long-standing war is brought to Asgard as Malekith, the leader of the "extinct" dark elves, seeks to try and reclaim the Aether, a powerful weapon kept in Asgard's weapons vault. Malekith attacks Asgard as Jane Foster wanders into an alternate dimension in the UK and obtains an unknown source of Aether. During this event, Heimdall notifies Thor that Jane has disappeared from his watch, so Thor returns to Earth and swoops her to Asgard with him. They soon learn that Malekith is after the Aether and will follow no matter where they attempt to keep or hide Jane. Thor winds up turning to his warrior friends and his untrustworthy brother, Loki, to defeat Malekith and the dark elves once and for all.
Now... I want to start by saying this movie was very, very well done. It has a very different theme than Thor did and was a lot more eventful. Thor fully embraces his birthright and is much more aware of his responsibilities as the future King of Asgard as well as the downsides to the throne. I also thought despite the darkness to the overall plot, it balanced humor very well. It was serious, it was funny, and it was very well balanced. And yes, there was a Stan Lee cameo.
As far as acting goes, I think a lot of the roles were switched in comparison to the first movie. Thor was far less arrogant and seemed to embrace his responsibilities more. Chris Hemsworth handled that very well and it shows how in control of the character he is. Tom Hiddleston was great, as always, and Natalie Portman also showed her control of Jane Foster as she had a bit of a different tone in this one as well. Instead of being awestruck over Thor she was a bit defensive but still longing. Her character was definitely left open for at least one more movie. I do have to say that I think the one who dominated this movie was Christopher Eccleston as Malekith. He was just fantastic to watch and very menacing. Definitely a great villain actor.
The shift in directors probably was for the better now that I have seen both movies. Initially when it was announced that Kenneth Branagh wasn't going to return for The Dark World a lot of people had mixed reactions. Some loved that and some hated it. I think Alan Taylor did a fantastic job and brought a new evolution to the characters that was very necessary. It is important to establish these characters outside of The Avengers, and Taylor was very successful.
One more thing to mention here before I get into spoilers is the visual effects. I think this one had some of the best visual effects in a Marvel movie thus far, obviously excluding The Avengers. Asgard is beautifully rendered and the attack for the Aether was handled well, too. I also didn't think the Aether was too cartoonish either. It maintained fantasy but was a pretty good reality borderline.
As the Marvel Cinematic Universe currently stands, here is my list:
1. The Avengers
2. Iron Man
4. Thor: The Dark World
5. Captain America: The First Avenger
6. Iron Man 3
7. The Incredible Hulk
8. Iron Man 2
And now it is time for spoilers, boys and girls. If you haven't seen Thor: The Dark World I would encourage you to not spoil it for yourself and come back after you have seen it.
You were warned.
And we're back.
First off, I want to say that I don't think Loki is completely done just yet. Basically what Joss Whedon and Tom Hiddleston have said so far is that Loki would not return as a main villain again. That doesn't necessarily mean he won't pop back up. The way this one ended left a lot open. What happened to Odin? Is he being held somewhere or did Loki kill him? How did Loki reveal himself to Odin while back on Asgard? How will the gifts of Asgardians such as Heimdall play in Loki's constant need, at this point, to stay hidden? Like I said, there are a lot of questions that will need to be answered eventually and I highly doubt they will be answered without Loki's presence.
Another question regarding Loki would be, is he manipulating Asgard to scatter the items in the weapons vault? The after credits scene shows Sif and Volstagg bringing the Aether to The Collector (Benicio del Toro) stating that it isn't a smart move to keep both The Tesseract and the Aether in the same place. This is odd as that has never stopped Asgard before. They wouldn't have a weapons vault containing some of the nine realms' most dangerous weapons if they couldn't all be in the same place. Something is fishy and I am betting Loki is behind it to aid in setting up the Infinity Gauntlet for Thanos. The Collector states after the two leave that it is "one down, five to go."
Theories are going around, and I agree, that The Tesseract and the Aether are means to set up the Infinity Gems; the blue gem of mind being The Tesseract and the red gem of power being the Aether (it did turn into a solid after Thor tried to destroy it). Aside from the gems for power and mind, the Infinity Gauntlet contains the following gems: the soul gem (green), the time gem (orange), the space gem (purple), and the reality gem (yellow). Could it be possible that powers regarding the rest of the gems will be touched on later? Yes. My guess is that the other properties will be touched on in Guardians of the Galaxy to start and then spread well into Phase Three. Either that or they will stop with the two we already have and just introduce the others when Thanos shows up.
And in case you missed it, the credits scene was a lead into Guardians of the Galaxy.And let me say that I thought The Collector was a bit... eccentric. Quite ridiculous actually.
But enough about Loki. Here are some of my other favorite bits from The Dark World:
1. The brief Captain America cameo
2. Darcy. I can't help myself in thinking she is plain hilarious.
3. Erik Selvig being crazy
5. Heimdall. Enough said.
6. Explanation that Frigga introduced Loki to the powers of mischief and magic and possessed it herself. Not to mention the fact she almost took down Malekith herself.
There wasn't much to dislike about Thor: The Dark World. I found it much more put together than Iron Man 3 was. Definitely the strongest so far when it comes to Phase Two. We will see how Captain America: The Winter Soldier fits into the mix next year.
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