Warning: This movie review contains spoilers.
During the weekend of March 7-8, Thor: The Dark World played in Cole Cinema. Although I occasionally found it slow and/or hard to follow, I generally found the movie to be very enjoyable.
The movie begins as the first one did: a battle that looks like it literally jumped off the pages of one of the Thor comic books, during which Odin’s people are fighting a race, the Dark Elves, that is threatening the entire world as they know it (though last time Odin was fighting the threatening people, and this time it is Odin’s father, Bor). The Dark Elves are led by Malekith (played by Christopher Eccleston, for the information of Doctor Who fans everywhere), who is trying to use a force called the Aether to destroy the universe. Bor defeats his army, however, and takes the Aether, hiding it in a place no one is supposed to be able to get to. It is a slow beginning because the movie looks exactly like the one that preceded it – a battle with a threatening race paired with a voice-over narration. In addition, Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth) spends a lot of time pining over Jane Foster (played by Natalie Portman), even though this movie takes place after the Bifrost has been fixed, allowing him to visit her on Earth. Meanwhile, Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston) is sitting in a prison, answering for his crimes against Asgard.
The movie begins to pick up the pace when Jane gets teleported to another world while exploring an abandoned building with Darcy and her new intern, Ian. As would be expected in a superhero movie, the love of the hero’s life finds herself in danger, and it is up to the hero to save her. In this case, Jane gets transported to the world where Bor hid the Aether, gets too close to it, and gets infected by it. In the meantime, the people of Asgard learn that the Convergence, an event where the Nine Realms will all line up, is about to occur. Thor finally travels to Earth when Heimdall (played by Idris Elba) tells him that Jane has disappeared from his sight, not knowing that she has transported to where the Aether is. As soon as Thor learns that Jane is in danger, he takes her to Asgard, though not before she slaps him and yells at him for being in New York and never going to find her while he was on Earth (an allusion to The Avengers). Once they get to Asgard, Odin says he cannot cure Jane and tells her that she is going to die. He also predicts catastrophe because of the Aether’s release.
Shortly after all of this occurs, Malekith, aforementioned leader of the Dark Elves, returns because of the Aether and attacks Asgard, looking for Jane. He does not find her but he does end up killing Thor’s mother, leading Thor to team up with Loki in a last-ditch effort to defeat the Dark Elves on the Elves’ home world, Svartalfheim. Loki tricks Malekith into drawing the Aether out of Jane, and Thor attempts to destroy it. It is a superhero movie, however, so defeat of the enemy is not that easy, and it takes Malekith, after supposedly killing Loki, leaves for Earth, now willingly possessed by the Aether. Thor and Jane then find a portal and are teleported to London, where they meet Dr. Selvig, Darcy, and Ian. There is a very long battle while they are in London, in which Thor gets transported randomly to different worlds using randomly placed portals scattered throughout London, confusing his hammer and therefore losing it several times, but he eventually defeats Malekith.
The movie ends with the twist that everyone who knows Loki should have seen coming: Thor believes he is talking to Odin, and he refuses to be king of Asgard; when he leaves, Odin transforms into a very smug-looking Loki. This is actually something that anyone who has ever seen a superhero movie should have seen coming, because mischievous characters like Loki do not often actually get killed when people think they do. The mid-credits scene depicts Thor’s friends giving the Collector the Aether, because having it so close to the Tesseract is a bad idea, and the post-credits scene depicts Thor coming back to London to see Jane, and something that appears to be a frost monster running around the abandoned building from earlier, probably accidentally transported there by one of the random portals.
Overall, the movie was a typical Marvel superhero movie: hero falls in love with someone he can’t have, said woman is in mortal danger, hero has to save her, they both act like they can be together even though it would never really work, and even though the main problem is fixed and the primary threat is defeated, there is something new the hero has to worry about, whether he knows it or not. Despite all of its stereotypes, it was worth watching for the fast-paced action, the love-hate dynamic between Loki and Thor (which is emphasized by the often very funny dialogue between them), the well-designed race of Dark Elves, and the eye candy (i.e., Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston). For Marvel fans, this is definitely a must-see.