Thor: The Dark World Retro Review
The God of Thunder returns to Earth after Jane Foster absorbs the Aether and becomes the target of a Dark Elf named Malekith who is seeking the Aether to overthrow Asgard in “Thor: The Dark World.” This film expands on the lore of the first film by introducing more of the Nine Realms, introducing Odin’s father in his quest to protect the Nine Realms from the Dark Elves, learning more about Loki and his punishment following the events of both “Thor” and “Avengers,” and seeing what has happened to Jane, Darcy and Dr. Selvig since we last saw each of them.
This is considered one of, if not, the worst movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I kind of agree with that assessment. I enjoy this better than “Iron Man 2,” but that’s probably the only film I think is worse than this one. The first two “Thor” movies seemed to lack real direction in connection with the rest of the MCU. The films have an easy to follow narrative, but they don’t interact too much with the rest of the Universe. Yes, Thor and Loki show up in the “Avengers” films and the first film introduces Hawkeye, but not too much from this film continues on. The series takes a completely different direction in the next film, Jane hasn’t appeared since this film (except in flashback form using stock footage in “Avengers: Endgame,”) and Darcy only returns in “WandaVision.” These two films, much like “The Incredible Hulk,” feel like a lost wing of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They are a part of it, but don’t get much mention.
There are some really good parts to this film, but most of them are involved in special effects. The image of Jane’s body repelling people it thinks are trying to harm her are really cool. Thor’s mother, Frigga, playing a trick on Malekith, much in the vein of Loki and giving her life for her family and the love of her son’s life. Frigga dies a hero, which is very important given what we learn about Odin and Thor’s older sister in “Thor: Ragnarok.” Plus, Stellan Skarsgard dancing around in his underwear, getting locked in an institution and explaining science using Stan Lee’s shoe is all fun.
But, there are too many things in this movie that doesn’t really hold up. Lady Sif is the most interesting of Thor’s friends and she feel relegated to almost nothing here. The Warriors Three felt like three guys that were just around to give Thor friends in the first film. Here, they are so unimportant, the filmmakers re-cast one of them with Zachary Levi and I didn’t even notice upon my first viewing. Not only did they recast the role, but they recast it with an excellent actor and then did nothing with him.
In my opinion, this isn’t the worst film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it’s pretty close. The only film I hated more than this one was “Iron Man 2.” This is not good and the only good decision to come out of this film was when Taika Waititi and Chris Hemsworth decided to take the series in a different direction in “Thor: Ragnarok” and actually make a good movie. I guess this one had to exist for that one to succeed, but calling this a flop is generous.
Ranking: 1.5 stars out of 5