I loved what Kenneth Branagh did with his Thor movie. Keeping in mind that his movie was before The Avengers, it took the first steps into the more fantastical comic universe that I’d been wishing and hoping comic book movies would do for more than a decade. It also got the characters right, which is always important in a comic book adaptation. The issues with the movie was that it was very Earth focused, and Asgard wasn’t given enough screen-time as it should in a Thor movie. So for a sequel I was hoping it wouldn’t spend much time on Earth, and instead focus more on Asgard and the other Realms. That’s exactly what Thor: The Dark World is, and I love it even more than the original.
The movie pretty much picks up immediately following The Avengers where Loki is brought before Odin in chains for what he did in New York, and is tossed into Asgard’s dungeons while Thor, Sif, and the Warriors Three mop up the mess Loki made around the nine realms. On Earth, Jane is still pining for Thor as she accidentally discovers and is “infected” by the Aether, a weapon that the Dark Elves want to use to destroy the universe that Odin’s father Bor hid ages ago after defeating Malekith in battle.
Thor’s been keeping an eye on Jane through Heimdall, and while the Aether is infecting her the watcher isn’t able to see her. So Thor returns to Earth and brings Jane to Asgard to find a cure. That sets up a Thor movie heavily rooted in the Norse look of the comics, where about 90% of the movie is set on Asgard.
So with a movie that is very much an epic fantasy you’ll need someone who has that genre in their blood, so they brought in Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor and it was a brilliant idea. There really are moments in the film, smaller character moments, that look like they could be pulled right out of a Game of Thrones episode, only without the gratuitous nudity and bloody weddings. Those slower moments showing Asgardian life are some of the best bits, and really remind you of some of the more modern Thor comics that were heavily set in Asgard and the characters there. I also have to mention Brian Tyler’s score. Someone has finally given Thor an epic theme worthy of the God of Thunder.
The film is set with great action and effects, but there’s also a surprising amount of humor in it. It knows when to have somber moments, and then when to lighten things up just when needed. Ever since The Avengers, Marvel has seemed to be hitting the perfect tone with each movie, and Thor 2 is definitely something promising to see for upcoming Marvel films.
Based on things that are set up in this movie (during the first end-credits scenes) I told my friends while leaving the theater that I’m actually more excited what Phase 3 and the third Avengers will be bringing to the screen than the new Star Wars movies. Blasphemous, I know, but Marvel is setting up an epic that I never thought I would ever see realized on the big screen in my lifetime. There was a very slight hint at this in the Avengers mid-credit scene, but it looks like Marvel is committing themselves to it. It’s a comic storyline that is so “out there” and so big, the mind boggles at how they’ll pull it off in 2018 with Avengers 3…
When I go to a Marvel movie, I never understand the people I see leaving right when the credits start. With Thor 2 stay all the way through to the very end of all of the credits. There are two credits scenes. One in the mid-credits that introduces the villain in an upcoming Marvel movie and sets up the storyline I mentioned earlier, and the one after the credits is a satisfying cap to one part of the story with a funny bit at the end.
Thanks to Thor: The Dark World, I am even more excited about what Marvel has coming than ever before. They’ve really hit their stride and are becoming another Pixar-quality gem for Disney.