Back on the old site, I wrote a few articles following a rewatch of the Marvel Cinamatic Universe. Here are those articles again.
Title: Thor: The Dark World
Director: Alan Taylor
Writer(s): Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely
Characters created by : Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby
US Release Date: November 8, 2013
Worldwide Box-office: $644,600,000
Returning characters: Thor, Jane, Loki, Odin, Frigga, Sif, Heimdall, Hogun, Fandral, Volstagg, Darcy, Selvig
Summary: Years ago, Odin’s father Bor, battles the Dark Elf Malekith, who wants to unleash a weapon known as the Aether on. After conquering Malekith’s forces on Svartalfheim, Bor safeguards the Aether within a stone column. Malekith, his lieutenant Algrim, and a handful of Dark Elves escape into suspended animation.
Present-day: Loki stands imprisoned for his war crimes committed during Thor and The Avengers. Meanwhile, Thor, the Warriors Three, and Sif, fight marauders on Vanaheim. It is the final battle in a war to pacify the Nine Realms following the reconstruction of the Bifröst, the “Rainbow Bridge” between realms, which had been destroyed during the events of Thor and has sInce been rebuilt by the Tesseract. A rare event called the Convergence is due to occur, an alignment of the Nine Realms. Portals linking the worlds appear at random on Earth around London.
In London, Jane Foster and Darcy Lewis travel to an abandoned factory where such portals have appeared. Jane is teleported to another world, where she is infected by the Aether. Heimdall alerts Thor that Jane has moved beyond his near all-seeing vision, leading Thor to Earth. When Thor finds Jane, she inadvertently releases the Aether inside her, and Thor returns with her to Asgard. Odin, recognizing the Aether, warns that it will not only kill Jane, but that its return heralds a catastrophic prophecy.
Malekith, awakened by the Aether’s release, attacks Asgard. During the battle, Frigga is killed protecting Jane, and Malekith and Algrim are forced to flee without her. Despite Odin’s orders not to leave Asgard, Thor reluctantly enlists the help of Loki, who knows of a secret portal to Svartalfheim. With Volstagg and Sif stalling Asgardian soldiers and Fandral assisting their escape, Thor, Loki, and Jane head to Svartalfheim.
Loki tricks Malekith into drawing the Aether out of Jane, but Thor’s attempt to destroy the exposed substance fails. Malekith merges with the Aether and leaves in his ship as Loki is fatally wounded while killing Algrim. Thor, cradling Loki in his arms, promises to tell their father of his sacrifice.
Thor and Jane discover another portal in a nearby cave and reunite in London with Darcy and Jane’s mentor Dr. Erik Selvig — who was briefly institutionalized due to the mental trauma he suffered during The Avengers. They learn that Malekith plans to unleash the Aether at the center of the Convergence in Greenwich. Thor battles Malekith through various portals and across multiple worlds until Jane transports Malekith to Svartalfheim, where he is crushed by his own damaged ship.
Thor returns to Asgard, where he declines Odin’s offer to take the throne and tells Odin of Loki’s sacrifice. As he leaves, Odin’s form transforms into Loki, who is alive and impersonating Odin.
MCU Continuity Nods: The events of The Avengers are referenced often. Selvig is traumatized by Loki’s brainwashing. Jane is upset that Thor was on Earth and didn’t contact her, and she slaps Loki in anger over his attack on New York. During their escape, Loki makes himself appear like several different people, including Captain America. The clean-up from the battle is shown on an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Easter Eggs: The stone creature Thor fights is a Kronan, an alien being that appeared in Thor’s first comic, “Journey Into Mystery” #83. The number “616” is a designation given to a specific Marvel universe (the original one that started in the 1960s – the Marvel Cinematic Universe is designated 199999). Simonson’s Theory of Relativity is a homage to Thor comic writer Walter Simonson. The Nexus of All Reality is a location in the Florida Everglades where dimensions intersect, which is guarded by the hero Man-Thing.
Stan Lee Cameo: An inmate in the asylum
Infinity Stone: The Aether, also known as the Reality Gem. The Tesseract is mentioned being on Asgard
Post/mid Credits Scenes: Sif and Volstagg deliver the Aether to the Collector, Taneleer Tivin. Thor returns to Earth and reunites with Jane. A Jotenheim critter chases birds in London
My Take: The Thor movies and comics have alays been a little more fantastical the the other Marvel stories, as they deal with mythological characters in a modern setting. Some of the criticism I have read was the use of Christopher Eccleston. Some feel thst such a noted actor was wasted in a role that could have been played by anyone, as he was covered in so much prosthetic makeup. He’s given no real reason for his actions. Evil for evilness’s sake. His role was diminished after Loki became much more popular. And who can blame them, as Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is one of the most charismatic characters in the MCU.
When we first see Thor in the first film, he’s ready to both take the throne and all comers. In this film, the events of the previous film and The Avengers have tempered him. In the first battle, he seems to be almost casual, even laid back. When we get to the finale, he turns down the throne, a change from the first film. Jane is still fairly uninteresting, although Portman does her best. Kat Dennings’s Darcy is much less annoying this time around. Asgard is more earthly than in the previous film. The majestic city is still there, but we see more than just the palace. It was great to see Rene Russo in action scenes and Ray Stevenson as Volstagg is always fun, but the real star is Hiddleston. The film never crackles the same way when he’s not onscreen, even behind bars, his presence is felt, and his scenes with Thor have a sense of fun and play.
There is a lot of CGI in this film, much more than the first, which was set primarily jn a Southwestern town, although there are some moments that stick out such as the black hole grenades, Frigga’s funeral and the final dimension hopping scene. Overall, the film is the lowest rated of the MCU films on Rotten Tomatoes, but I think it holds up. There is a third film coming, Ragnarock. Perhaps it will tie everything together, or at least explain Odin’s whereabouts. (Reminder: This article was written two years ago)
Next: Captain America: The Winter Soldier