I want to go see this film again tomorrow. And maybe again next Wednesday. When the DVD comes out, I know I'll watch it twice in a row.
Dark Elves from Norse mythology absolutely hated the introduction of light and other creatures to the Nine Worlds. They waged war against the other worlds, and killed most of their own kind in their hatred and desire to destroy all others. Yet they were defeated, and their invincible weapon was hidden from them. Only a few remained, sent off to sleep in darkness.
Two years after Jane Foster met and fell in love with Thor of Asgard (and he subsequently was trapped by the ruin of the Rainbow Bridge and could not return to her), she's trying to get on with her life and her scientific investigations into gravitational and electromagnetic anomalies. During a search for the source of an anomaly, Jane falls through a portal, and finds the Dark Elves' weapon -- the Aether -- and is infected by it.
Heimdall, the Watcher of Worlds, sees Jane disappear from his omniscient view, and alerts Thor, who travels again to Earth (Midgard) to find and save her. Unfortunately, her infection by the Aether is palpable to the Dark Elves, and Malekith the Accursed leads his forces to Asgard and Earth to find her, kill her, and use the weapon himself.
Sounds like a lot of names and places and things, and kind of a simple story. But wait, there's more.
Loki, Thor's adopted and contentious (not to mention deceptive) brother, is in Asgard's dungeon for his role in trying to subjugate Earth (see both Thor and The Avengers). Malekith is proving all too successful in razing Asgard, which forces Thor to ask for his tricky brother's help. You know Loki is going to cause trouble, he can't help it. You know there will be betrayal. You know that there will be fights and odd weaponry and lots of stuff getting wrecked. You will not be disappointed.
Naturally, Tom Hiddleston once again steals the show as Loki, and Kat Dennings as Darcy and Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig are hot on his heels. Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman make some nice chemistry as the re-united lovers, and of course Anthony Hopkins is Odin. Christopher Eccleston as Malekith is so creepy and evil that I didn't even recognize him, even though I was about half in love with him as Doctor Who.
Just as satisfying, if not more so, was the humorous element. Marvel's heroes and characters take their situations seriously -- but not sententiously. They can still lose their car keys, still make one joke too many and invite a thrashing. I laughed out loud unexpectedly a delightful number of times.
If you liked the first movie Thor even a little, if you enjoyed The Avengers, you'll be like me, and want to see this film again and again.
Oh, and just another note: there is a short clip after the first credits ... and another at the very end. Don't miss them -- most of our theater missed out on the last one, and you don't want to have that happen to you.
Before we begin, I would just like to vent off subject a bit. You have probably heard me complain about how our local movie house, even though it is a sixteen-screen megaplex, often avoids showing movies that are really good. Films like The King's Speech and Silver Linings Playbook were shown only as afterthoughts, and some movies just never come around. Case in point: opening this past Friday was the film The Book Thief. Even though they had tantalized us with the previews in this theater, we won't get to see it any time soon. We could, any day this week, however, choose from six different performances of Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa.
What twelve-year-old decides what movies to show, and why aren't they in reform school?
Now to the task at hand ... Thor: The Dark World.
We all know that I am a pretty easy mark with this kind of movie, but it has to be admitted that Marvel Studios is doing a bang-up job of rolling out one good movie after another. They're doing as good a job with the films as they used to do with the comic books. Maybe they still do do a good job with the comic books, but I haven't looked at the comic book racks for a long, long time. And maybe that's a shame. But I remember way back to high school, and Marvel comics were the cool comics. The DC characters were already a bit dated, and Marvel was introducing a raft of new characters that were fresh and appealing. The Marvel characters were more real, if that makes sense. They were more human, thus Peter Parker was an angsty kid, Bruce Banner struggled with anger management, and Tony Stark was an obnoxious rich kid, but the Marvel universe was addicting. The guys I hung around with would often be late for school on days when the latest issue of one of the comics debuted, because they would first go to the local drug store to get their hands on the new Spidey.
Now Marvel is churning out the movies, and to their credit, they are carefully maintaining the quality of the films. Thor: The Dark World does not disappoint. This movie is a rollicking good time. It is visually compelling, it blows up lots and lots of stuff, it has good performances by all the main actors, it is funny, and there is not a dull moment.
I have to admit that one of the delights of this movie was seeing how the characters have developed over time. This is most especially true with Tom Hiddleston's character Loki. First seen in the first Thor movie, Loki returned as the main villain in The Avengers, and once again figures prominently in this story. Hiddleston seems to be simply delighted to play such a vile character. and while the bad guys aren't supposed to the stars, I'd be first in line for any upcoming "Loki movies." Because of my enjoyment of these characters and of the previous movies, it is a little difficult for me to be entirely objective. I don't know how a viewer might react to this movie without having first seen both Thor (2011) and The Avengers (2012), and indeed even Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). Then again, I am pretty sure that your life would be much fuller if indeed you had seen all of these films, and if you haven't, it must be just an oversight and that you are now headed off to the video store to get a copy of them to watch tonight.
Good movie, lots of fun, and worth every bit of the price of admission.