Continuing where last year’s multi-million-pound blockbuster Marvel’s Avengers Assemble left off, Thor: The Dark World is a rollicking superhero adventure packed with special effects and heaps of action. Much like its predecessor, 2011’s Thor, it borrows heavily from Marvel’s expansive source material to tell a story that is accessible not only to fans of the genre but to casual filmgoers as well.
But whilst it is impressive in many aspects of its creation, in others it is certainly lacking. Helmed by Alan Taylor, director on several episodes of the popular TV show Game of Thrones, the film struggles in many of the same areas that the previous did.
One of the key problems is that they have not yet managed to perfect the shifts in tone needed between the two worlds; this was also problematic within the first film. At times Thor: The Dark World feels almost sitcom-esque in its presentation before changing swiftly to a more grandiose style, for the scenes set within Asgard. This shift in tone is incredibly noticeable throughout, and also very distracting.
Another flaw with the film is that several members of the characters are criminally underused. These include Idris Elba’s Heimdell and Anthony Hopkins’ Odin. Both take a back seat for the majority of the film, sacrificing their onscreen time to the far inferior character of Darcy (Kat Dennings). She serves as comic relief throughout the film, though she often strays into the annoying sidekick category.
The villain Malekith, played by Christopher Eccleston, is also underdeveloped within the film. He lacks the characterization of other Marvel villains, appearing generic in comparison to the likes of the Mandarin and Obadiah Stane.
The film does have some features to celebrate. One of these is the magnificent onscreen chemistry between Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth). This helps the film to remain interesting for the viewer, as both actors appear unbelievably comfortable in their roles. Hiddleston, in particular, is spectacular this time around; Loki continues to be one of the most fascinating characters the Marvel film universe has to offer.
The film excels in other areas as well, most notably its fight scenes. The final fight is a magnificent affair, which is unusually inventive considering the often-formulaic nature of superhero third acts.
Thor: The Dark World is an enjoyable superhero romp from Marvel and Disney, but suffers under scrutiny. If you can get past the film’s many flaws, it is a great piece of popcorn cinema, accessible for families and fans alike.
Written by: Jack Yarwood