Unfortunately for the mighty Thor, his sequel “The Dark World” turns out to be simply mediocre.
Like “Iron Man 3,” “Thor: The Dark World” picks up some time after the events that took place with the battle in New York City in “The Avengers.” Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, has brought his brother Loki, Tom Hiddleston, back to the world of Asgard for imprisonment after his crimes on Earth.
After doing so and restoring balance to the different realms, Thor decides to check on the woman he fell in love with in the first film, a scientist named Jane, played by Natalie Portman. When he does so, he discovers that Jane has come into contact with an uncontrollable power that is sought after by the film’s villain Malekith, played by Christopher Eccleston.
When Malekith turns out to be a villain with more power than at first realized, Thor seeks the help of Loki, as he has valuable knowledge that can help to defeat the threat.
Despite not being on par with some of the other Marvel movies when it came out, the first “Thor” worked alright because it was following the advancement of Thor as a character. He had an arc in the first movie, going from an angry and sometimes resentful person to a more courageous and heroic one by the end.
That doesn’t really happen here. There isn’t much of a character arc going on this time with Thor. To make matters worse, the villain’s plot feels so uninvolved with the main characters, built only on exposition, that the final climactic battle has no real sense of urgency. It leads to a movie having some excitement without having anything to care about.
The best part of the film by far is Hiddleston as Loki. He has completely embraced the role and brings a mischievous charm to the character which makes him likable even when he blurs the line between antagonist and protagonist. Every time he is on screen, he steals the show.
Hemsworth is also very good in the role of Thor, he captures the character well and has come a long way as an actor from the original film. Hemsworth also works well on screen with Hiddleston. The animosity and brotherhood between the characters they portray feels believable.
What has always felt less than believable is the romance between Thor and Jane. Portman has done some fantastic work, such as in the 2010 movie “Black Swan.” She doesn’t seem to excel much with her character Jane, though, and she comes off as nothing more than a simple love interest.
In terms of supporting cast, there were some unnecessary additions. Kat Dennings who plays Darcy, Jane’s science assistant, is a complete waste of time in the film. She is only played for laughs as a comic relief character and offers nothing to the overall plot, and she isn’t even funny.
The same can be said about Stellan Skarsgard, who returns as Erik Selvig, the scientist who worked on the tesseract in “The Avengers.” It seems like his character is leading up to something but nothing is really ever made of it and 90 percent of the time he’s basically a comic relief character, too.
The worst character, though, is the villain Malekith played by Eccleston. Out of all the Marvel movies to be released so far, this is probably the worst villain yet. The character doesn’t have an ounce of personality and doesn’t have any more motive to what he’s doing than just “I’m evil.”
What saves this movie a great deal and makes it actually worth watching is the entertainment value from the action scenes, which do pick up as time goes on. Many of the action scenes are well shot and intense.
The final battle is especially well done. There is a plot point in the movie about different realms converging on one another and creating portals, and it is heavily used in the last fight scene making for a unique and stylized action moment.
“Thor: The Dark World” has a lot of things working against it. An uninteresting villain, too much focus on comic relief characters that don’t offer anything and a story that isn’t all that engaging. What saves it from being a poor outing for a Marvel movie, though, are some good performances from Hemsworth and Hiddleston and great action scenes that can keep one’s attention. Low 3 out of 5.