Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve reached a low point in our cinematic revision. Considered one of the lesser of the MCU’s collection, Thor: The Dark World may have Thor in it, but it’s a slog to get through.
After the destruction of the Bifrost after the events of the first movie, Thor (Hemsworth) has been travelling from realm to realm trying to bring peace to the galaxy once more. After Jane (Portman) becomes infected with an entity known as The Aether, Dark Elf Malekith (Eccleston) returns to claim it back and wreak havoc on the universe.
2011’s Thor is an incredibly positive movie. Despite the fact that the titular hero starts as an arrogant, spoilt man-child, he learns important life lessons on Earth, in a sun-drenched New Mexico, and eventually falls for an astrophysicist attempting to learn as much about the various universes as possible. It is light-hearted, funny, enjoyable…everything this movie is not.
The Dark World is not a movie from the MCU that I play on the regular, nor should it be. Grey, lifeless and dull, it is a painful watch after seeing the beloved character take names and kick ass in both Thor and The Avengers, and whilst watching those movies, one gets the sense that Marvel is slowly getting to grips with this otherworldly character.
Unfortunately, now you can say goodbye to much of the charm that Hemsworth gave the character in the first place. He does his absolute best with what he’s given, but good grief, it’s not a lot. Dour and serious, there is nothing tongue-in-cheek about him in this movie, a lack of self-awareness peddling back the work done to make the character fun instead of po-faced. You can almost feel the frustration emanating from Hemsworth, as his comedic side is buried under the darkness.
And the darkness is all-encompassing, the subtitle perhaps taken a little too literally. Transported from beautiful, gold, sunshine-filled Asgard, a lot of the film takes place in visually grey areas, first London (all grey, all the time) and then The Dark World, from which Malekith hails. The look of the film is completely different to that of the first, providing an inconsistency in the franchise’s tone, and, quite frankly, it’s hard to see anything at all, the CGI murkier than the Thames featured in this film.
There’s a story in here somewhere, I believe, containing a MacGuffin, the Aether, but to be frank, none of it matters. It’s one of the weakest plots in a superhero movie, and something we’ve seen a million time before, even in this cinematic universe, the villain wanting absolute power to control the galaxy etc. So unmemorable, not even I can recall some of the events of the film mere days after re-watching it, and I’m not sure I could even if I’d literally watched it just now.
Perhaps the biggest issue with this movie is its villain. Marvel is not known for its strong antagonists, but this might take the cake. The most boring and useless baddie a superhero has ever had to face, poor Christopher Eccleston must don the face of Malekith through extensive prosthetics, only to wander set-piece after set-piece without much driving him. Why does he need The Aether, despite the fact that he created it? Why does he want to wage war on all the realms? We are never told, and never will be.
There are some positives to be gathered from this film, but they are few and far between. Hemsworth does still keep a few little ticks of Thor’s for example, hanging his hammer up on a coat rack, and Hiddleston is still great as Loki. However, these moments of relief are few and far between an overly serious movie.
And by the way, that’s not how you get to Greenwhich.