Another Marvel movie jump starts my inner nerd. As much as I loved the first Thor, this one doesn't hit the same peak, but still gives audiences the charisma and thrill that its predecessor had.
Thor: The Dark World revolves around Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and his attempt to save the life of Jane (Natalie Portman) against the Dark Elves.
This film took me by surprise by how Marvel went about with the story. After The Avengers, I always thought that there would be no way Marvel could make a stand alone superhero film in the Avengers franchise. As I watched Iron Man 3 I thought to myself, "Where are the Avengers?" Thor: The Dark World did not give me a chance to say that. The film literally went to different worlds. Sure, the film came back to Earth, but it was not long enough for the Avengers to assemble. Thor was by himself in a fight for the worlds. It also helped to expand the Marvel Universe and set up what Guardians of the Galaxy might look like.
As the first Thor established the characters, this film was to expand on them. Outside of Thor and Loki, other characters fell apart. Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth play off each other well, but their characters, especially Jane's, become one dimensional during any emotional scene the two have with each other. Let's get to the fact that Jane and Thor met for three days (in Thor) then separated. They had nothing in common except for their good looks. Fast forward roughly three years into the future and they still have nothing in common except for their good looks. Even with the two hour running time, Jane and Thor do not develop a plausible relationship. Bella and Edward from Twilight and a better relationship than these two did.
Besides Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Frigga (Rene Russo), and Thor, it seemed the rest of the cast was there to fill space. All other characters established the plot and were used for comic relief. Christopher Eccleston's villain, Malekith, was one dimensional and only served as a plot point to get Loki and Thor to work together. Malekith's motives for turning the worlds dark were never explained. I just decided that he wanted to make the worlds dark so he could finally sleep. Sadly, it was a waste to see Eccleston's character wasted on. Eccleston is an amazing actor who brings depth to every one of his characters. Instead, the filmmakers focus on Loki's relationship arc with Thor. By far, Hiddleston's Loki is the greatest character in this film. They could have called this film Loki: The Dark World and it wouldn't matter. Hiddleston brings a different depth to his character for his third outing. Not a whiny or power hungry character, but a character who is stricken with regret. Then comes Russo's, Frigga, who we see a lot more of and establish affection for. More the character than the actor, Frigga is a bad-ass who can take down a villain or two.
A fault with the film that was my main concern was the pacing. The first half of the film felt slow, with what tried to be character and plot development. It focused on Thor trying to keep all the worlds at peace, while Jane tried dating other guys. Even when Jane arrived on Asgaard, there was more unnecessary plot development, i.e. a Sif, Thor, Jane love triangle that never came to be. No character really thrived until the second half of the film when Loki and Thor teamed up. Even then, it was mostly action sprinkled with character development. It seemed that the second half had better set up and everything flowed together well. The climactic action sequence was also one of the best action sequences in the Avengers Universe so far. It wasn't about the characters involved or the intensity of the action. It was how the battle was created with Thor and Malekith battling through different worlds and Mjolnir trying to catch up to Thor. The last 25 minutes of this film is worth sitting through the rest of the film for.
The film suffers from pacing issues and one dimensional characters, but Hiddleston's Loki shines and the final climactic battle is well done and epic. Plus, there is a twist at the end of the film that cannot be ignored.
Good Qualities: Hiddleston's Loki, great climactic action sequence.
Bad Qualities: Pacing issues, one dimensional characters.