Thor: The Dark World takes a safe and careless approach to a superhero sequel, hoping that the success built off The Avengers (2012) would carry through and bring the splendors with it. Let me tell you, it does not.
Thor: The Dark World continues the story of the mighty god of thunder Thor (Chris Hemsworth) as he faces the return of the dark elves.
Much like Iron Man 2 (2010) this follow-up provides a rigid and dull story that struggles to move forward in a meaningful way – ultimately this film becomes little more than an infinity stone filler in order to build up the cinematic universe. The hazy plot between the dark elves and the Asgardians quickly becomes confusing, not because of its complexity, but because it was simply so boring it becomes easy to lose focus on why any villain is doing anything. In the end I conceded that the goal of the villain was simply having “dominion of darkness over the universe”, so yeah, about the worst plot for a villain I have seen in a while. While there was a moment or two that tugged an emotional heart-string, the film ultimately fell upon itself with the shaky romantic plot-line that had about as much spark as Mjolnir during the “meh” battle sequences.
Unsurprisingly the best performance comes from Hiddleston as he returns as Loki, providing a delightfully psychotic range with some admirable new levels of emotion. Anthony Hopkins also provides much of the fatherly emotion that was needed when this film took a sad turn. Hemsworth more or less plays the same role as he did in his first film, and while I certainly don’t see his performance degrading in this he did offer a better range of emotion in the first Thor film. Hemsworth has range, but seeing his grouchy face behind every scene becomes tiresome and you almost forget that Thor is Thor, he feels less mighty when his temperamental personality pops up every 2 minutes.
Visually this film had brilliant planet landscapes that reflected the dark tones the films title seems to promise; additionally there are some skillfully designed makeup and costuming work for the Dark Elves. However some of the locations were questionable, the final battle took place in Greenwich College in London, it was grey and dull, ultimately leaving everything feeling a bit underwhelming by the battles close.
No doubt this film had some moments of “oh that was pretty cool” as does most Marvel films, but beyond that this stands as one of the most empty and shallow of the MCU films, not building upon the character and not taking character risks. Thor: The Dark World plummets Marvel into new lows of quality within the MCU; with a dull story, miniscule character progression, and Marvel’s most irritatingly bland and formulaic villain yet.