Thor 2 has the god of Thunder focused on restoring peace and order to the Nine Realms, following Loki’s arrest and life imprisonment. So consumed is he by his task that he is unable to return to Midgard (Earth) to Natalie Portman’s astrophysicist Jane Foster, despite the Bifröst’s full restoration.
The peace is short-lived however as a once-in-every-five-millenia occurrence commences bringing along with it a shadowy enemy, the Dark Elves. The Frost Giants pale in comparison to the Dark Elves, believed to be extinct, destroyed by Odin’s father Bor. Intent on returning the universe back to its original darkness, its fearless leader Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) will stop at nothing. He is on the hunt for the Aether, an all powerful source of energy, location unknown, to wreak his revenge. Odin and the Aesir, Asgard’s army including Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and The Warrior Three (Zachary Levi taking Josh Dallas’ place as Fandral), are unable to easily withstand the Dark Elves’ advance. So, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) joins forces with the mischievous Loki in a daring plan to save the universe.
Alan Taylor (Games of Thrones, Mad Men) is next to take a seat in the director’s chair. The thrilling ride through a more layered Asgard and another four realms is now created by Charles Wood and it is breathtaking. Taylor builds on Branagh’s solid foundation to bring us an even better instalment into the lives of the Asgardians. The battles scenes are nothing short of epic and similar in grandeur to The Lord of The Rings, the cinematography by Kramer MorgenthauI is beautiful and the final showdown is in London which makes a welcome change from the usual American locale. It’s darker than Thor, it has more depth but still retains its laugh-out-loud moments mostly from fan favourite antagonist, Loki (Tom Hiddleston). A particularly memorable scene uses Loki’s power of illusion to comical effect.
It’s no secret that Marvel Studios president of production Kevin Feige asked for more Loki scenes to be shot and added quite late in post-production. You can understand why. Tom Hiddleston brings an another dimension to the god of mischief and steals every scene he is in as he forms the unlikely alliance, and the sparring brothers try to put aside their differences for the greater good. Christopher Eccleston as Malekith is impressive especially considering he’s talking in a made up language (Elven) for most of the film. He embodies the character, and chilling makeup and it wasn’t until the credits that I even realised it was him. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is formidable as Kurse, Malekith’s right hand man. Stellan Skarsgård provides added comic relief as discredited scientist Dr Erik Selvig with the help of Kat Dennings, reprising her role as Jane’s intern Darcy and a fun cameo from Chris O’Dowd.
Thor: The Dark World is predictable in parts, the science and physics outlandish, the plot a little overcrowded (The Lady Sif and The Warrior Three are sadly under-used) and it takes some liberties with the lore. It is however, an enjoyable inter-dimensional romp that even has Frigga (Rene Russo), kicking ass Lethal Weapon 3 style and a mind-bending final battle sequence. This is the first time I’ve ever experienced the IMAX 3D as I’m not normally an advocator of it, but it definitely heightened the enjoyment and allows you to appreciate Alan Taylor and co’s handiwork. Don’t be so quick to leave like my fellow cinema-goers though (I was the only one left). There are 2 extra scenes, one after the cool animated credits & another one right at the very end that nods towards another exciting character.
Thor 2 blasts through multiple realms with aplomb, with some hilarious banter, a more inwardly reflective and wiser Thor and magnificent product design to boot.
What did you think? Worth the wait or one that deserves to be consumed by darkness? Your turn on the soapbox in 3, 2, 1.