Mania Grade: B+
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- Rated: PG-13
- Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Renee Russo, Christopher Eccleston
- Written By: Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
- Directed By: Alan Taylor
- Format: Blu-ray
- Distributor: Walt Disney Home Video
- Original Year of Release: 2013
- Special Features: See Below
Thor: The Dark World Blu-Ray Review
Entertaining Sequel Hammers Home the Action
By Tim Janson
March 05, 2014
Of all of the recent Marvel Comics based films Thor: The Dark World is the one that is the least…uhh…comic bookish. In fact the film is as much Science Fantasy as anything else. Much of the action takes place off Earth and doesn’t involve a threat to Earth as much as it does to the entire universe. A prologue tells how Odin’s father Bor defeated the forces of the Dark Elf, Malekith (Eccleston), who sought to use the Aether (think a form of anti-matter) to plunge the universe into darkness. Bor hid the Aether away although Malekith managed to escape.
Cut to present day Asgard where the Rainbrow Bridge has been rebuilt, Loki is imprisoned for his crimes on Earth, and a rare convergence of the Nine Realms is about to take place. On Earth, Jane Foster (Portman) is in London investigating random dimensional portals that have appeared. She gets drawn into a portal and transported to another world where the hidden Aether is able to enter her body as a vessel. The Aether’s release awakens Malekith and his minions. Thor takes Jane to Asgard where Odin tells her that the material will kill her if it is not removed. Malekith attacks Asgard with a fleet of ships, searching for Jane so he can take back the Aether. Thor has to put aside his distrust for Loki and seek his help to stop Malekith once and for all.
While we got some glimpses of Asgard in Thor, The Dark World reveals the realm in all its glory. The city stretches out layer upon layer revealing a ream that is a combination of science and magic. From quaint villages and taverns to the towering, golden spires, Asgard is a breathtaking sight to behold. It’s rare what I mention a Cinematographer in my reviews but Kramer Morgenthau certainly earned his pay.
The battle eventually comes to Earth where Malekith plans on releasing the Aether during the heart of the convergence but Director Alan Taylor does a fine job in making the sequel much more epic than the original. The other Asgardians get to play a large role this time out, notably Thor’s mother Frigga (Rene Russo) who battles Malekith to protect Jane during the Dark Elf’s invasion of the palace. It’s a great scene for Russo who had little to do in the first film.
Chris Hemsworth portrays a more mature Thor (in attitude) this time out, one who takes his responsibilities much more serious. There’s no Donald Blake persona this time out to dilute the character. This is Thor in all of his hammer-throwing glory and the final battle against Malekith is his best onscreen battle thus far in the three films in which he has appeared. And while there is the ubiquitous romantic angle between Thor and Jane Foster, it doesn’t overtake the rest of the film.
As with The Avengers, it is Tom Hiddleston as Loki who once again steals nearly every scene he is in with wit and a sardonic sense of humor but also wrapping his performance with a bow of tragedy as well. He and Hemsworth play off each other magnificently. In one scene Loki mocks Thor’s desire to go unnoticed as he changes his appearance into several other characters including Captain America (with a came by Chris Evans).
The best thing about Thor: The Dark World is that it doesn’t try to overreach. So many times in Superhero films Directors are guilty of excess, thinking more is always better. Taylor seems to know his limit and doesn’t set the bar too high and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Audio Commentary with Director Alan Taylor, Producer Kevin Feige, and Tom Hiddleston
A Brother’s Journey: Thor and Loki (31:00) – Explores the relationship between the two characters through interviews with the actors and Director Alan Taylor but also looks at other aspects of the film like the set design and visual effects.
Scoring Thor: The Dark World (5:21) – A look at the film’s musical score by Brian Tyler
Marvel One-Shot: All Hail the King (13:00) – A short film featuring Ben Kingsley reprising his role as actor Trevor Slattery, aka The Mandarin. Slattery is in prison and has become a celebrity to the other convicts. He grants an interview to what he thinks is a media outlet but it turns out they are agents of the REAL Mandarin. Funny stuff!
Deleted Scenes (7:49) – Mostly these are extended scenes and include Jane Foster exploring the wonders of Asgard, more with Thor and the Warriors Three celebrating victory in a tavern, and an alternate scene where instead of turning into Captain America, Loki just appears in the Cap costume bust still as himself.
Gag Reel (3:30)