In 2011, we were introduced to the god of thunder in the first Thor film. This would be the first installment in the Thor franchise and the fourth entry overall in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Upon its sequel’s release, Thor: The Dark World, I remember being very excited to see what the film had in store. Five years have passed now and quite frankly I can’t remember almost anything from the film, except some little moments here and there. We here at SBM are reviewing all MCU films leading to Avengers: Infinity War, and this was the perfect opportunity to revisit the film. That being said, is the MCU’s 8th entry, Thor: The Dark World, a worthy sequel or is it as forgettable as it seems to be? Let’s find out…
I feel that I have to mention this from the start immediately, Thor: The Dark World is not a horrible nor “bad” film. It certainly has some issues, but as a whole package, it is totally watchable and just okay. The film has an obvious identity crisis and that is evident throughout the film. The film switches from an epic/very serious vibe to a less comedic vibe, specifically when it switches from Asgard/other realms to Earth. Kat Dennings’ Darcy is at the heart of the issue, making serious moments die down or just become cringe-worthy at that.
Another thing that brings down the film as a whole is Malekith, the film’s villain. As I mentioned at the beginning, I didn’t remember pretty much anything from this film and now I clearly know why. Malekith is such a bland, one-dimensional villain and for a character like Thor, Malekith doesn’t cut it as the antagonist. The battles between them are fun to watch, especially with the great visuals on display, but the sense of high stakes isn’t there and that in part is due to the non-existent investment put into Malekith as a villain. Having Malekith here also leads to a lot of exposition due to the dark elves and their background, something that is necessary but isn’t executed well enough. One aspect that the film does brilliantly though is that of the dynamic between Thor and Loki.
Thor: The Dark World has two big contributions to the MCU: The Reality Stone and excellent character development of two of its biggest characters. The brotherly dynamic between Thor and Loki is amazing and in part is due to some great performances by Hemsworth and Hiddleston. You really can’t help but feel every emotion when these two take the screen, especially when Loki “dies” by saving Thor. It’s that build up of the character throughout the past Thor and Avengers films that make the moment that much better and shows how great of an antagonist and character Loki truly is. I was truly emotionally invested in each moment the characters shared the screen and was heavily relieved when it was revealed Loki was still alive at the end (weren’t we all?). If it weren’t for this dynamic, the film would’ve really taken a turn for the worst in terms of the whole film quality.
The film has some other good qualities to it, but not so much to really make it memorable. Anthony Hopkins gives a really good performance as Odin, as well as all of the members of the Warriors Three. The visuals are really good and still hold up very well, while the score is also pretty solid. A little thing I picked up that has nothing to do with the film itself (sort of) was that this was the first Marvel film to officially introduce the Marvel theme that plays before the opening, so that’s pretty neat and has that going for itself. That’s pretty much what Thor: The Dark World offers, and before I wrap up this review, let me repeat what I said earlier…
Thor: The Dark World is not a horrible nor “bad” film. If I were to describe it in one word it would be “average.” Other than the Thor/Loki dynamic, there isn’t anything that makes the film stand out in general, especially against other entries in the MCU. A lackluster villain and an identity crisis are just some of the things that make this film a forgettable and disposable film. It, unfortunately, sticks out as one of the weaker links in a heavy hitter filled film franchise such as the MCU and for an understandable reason–it’s just…okay.