Friday, November 8, 2013

Fandom Fridays: Thor: The Dark World

In 2011, the world was introduced on the big screen to one of the most interesting and recognizable comic book characters ever created.  Spawned from Norse mythology, Thor, the God of Thunder, brought us to a world only seen in films like Lord of the Rings, a world where everybody is a "superhero".  Thor helped lead us to what is considered by many to be the greatest superhero film of all time, The Avengers.  And here he is again, with his hammer, Mjolnir, in hand, helping to lead the charge into Phase 2 of Marvel's Cinematic Universe with Thor: The Dark World.

Picking up two years after the events of the first film, Thor: The Dark World takes us on a journey back to Asgard, where Thor, and all of his people, are faced with an enemy unlike any other, the Dark Elf Lord, Malekith the Accursed.  Forced to rely on the help of his power-hungry brother, Loki, Thor must embark on a journey to defeat Malekith and save the Nine Realms.

In Norse mythology, Thor is the hammer-wielding god of thunder, lightning, and the protection of mankind.  Sound familiar?  Well, it should, because in 1962, Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby came up with the idea to turn a god into a superhero, and Thor was born.  First appearing in Journey Into Mystery #83, we see Thor sent to Earth by Odin, stripped of his memories of being a god, and put into the body of Dr. Donald Blake, a human host created by Odin specifically for Thor.  While taking a vacation to Norway, Blake witnesses the arrival of the Stone-Men from Saturn, here to take over Earth.  As he flees, he discovers Thor's hammer, Mjolnir (disguised as a walking stick), and when struck upon a rock it transforms him into the God of Thunder.

Directed by Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones, The Sopranos) and written by Christopher Markus (Captain America 1&2) and Christopher Yost (writer for several Marvel animated series'), Thor: The Dark World gives the audience a more vibrant feel for the world in which Thor lives, taking us to different realms and seeing much more of Asgard.  Packed with beautiful effects, outstanding action, and wonderful humor, this film stands out as one of the best that Marvel has put out so far, dialing down some of the humor to make way for more serious fare.

With a great cast reprising their roles from the original film (other than Josh Dallas being replaced by Zachary Levi as Fandral), we get to, once again, hang out with these amazing characters.  Chris Hemsworth as Thor is amazing as always.  He brings such life to the character, especially while interacting with his brother, Loki, played by the very talented Tom Hiddleston.  Any time Loki is on screen, he steals the scene, whether he's cracking a joke or just sitting in his jail cell.  But he's not the only scene stealer in this film.  Kat Dennings (2 Broke Girls), who plays Jane Foster's intern, Darcy, lights up the screen with her wit and comedic timing in a way we didn't get to see in the first film.  I even enjoyed Natalie Portman as Jane Foster more in this film.  Other than her being a little whiny at the beginning, she seemed like a stronger character than in the original movie and the chemistry between her and Hemsworth was strong as usual.

Also returning was fan-favorites Heimdall (Idris Elba), Odin (Anthony Hopkins), and Frigga (Rene Russo) who, thankfully, all received more prominent roles this time around.  Christopher Eccleston (Dr. Who, Heroes) played the villainous leader of the dark elves, Malekith, though his portrayal was a little bland for my taste, with very little of the surprisingly short 112 minute run-time devoted to his villainy.  Similarly, we barely got a chance to see the Warriors Three, Sif, Fandral, and Volstagg.

This film is definitely my second favorite Marvel film (behind The Avengers).  It has everything, humor, action, romance, drama, fantasy, sci-fi, you even get some unexpected deaths and a fun little cameo by a fellow Avenger (guess you'll have to watch the movie to find out who).  The ending was fantastic and makes me excited to see what they do next.  And stick around after the movie, because there are TWO post-credit scenes, a teaser for Guardians of the Galaxy which pops up mid way through the end credits, and a fun extra scene all the way at the end.  So head on out to your local theater and check out Thor: The Dark World.  You won't be disappointed.

Josh's Rating:  8.5/10

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