Thor: The Dark World Review
Very Brief Review - Alan Taylor fails to instill a sense of foreboding and threat with Malekith and his Dark Elves, but Thor: The Dark World survives by utilizing the excellent Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth, and giving us a deeper look into the inner workings of the Nine Realms.
Less Brief Review
Alan Taylor had a lot to work with when creating Thor: The Dark World. He had the excellent foundations set by Kenneth Brannagh (Thor) and Joss Whedon (Avengers). He had a solid cast, propped up by two pillars of quality in Tom Hiddleston and Sir Anthony Hopkins. And finally, in Asgard and the remaining realms, he had a visual feast of a world in which to work. It is for these reasons alone that Thor: The Dark World succeeds as an entertaining Marvel adventure, but I can't help but think this one really only limped home.
I'll be truthful, Thor was (and still is) my favourite of all the Marvel movies made to date, so I had high expectations for this sequel. In some respects it met these expectations. We got a deeper look into the inner workings of Asgard, we were exposed to a few more of the nine realms and there were action scenes and trickery of the highest level. Tom Hiddleston is just brilliant as Loki and the chemistry held between he and Chris Hemsworth's Thor is really what makes these Asgaard-centric tales so enjoyable. The moody setting of London for the movie's Earth based events doesn't match New York's razzle-dazzle in the Avengers, but it plays an important part in setting a tone for what is a much more sinister Thor movie.
Thor: The Dark World is a movie about an unprecedented threat to the universe. Should Malekith and his Dark Elves get their hands on an ancient power, they will have the ability to plunge the universe into darkness. This is a premise that should lead to an overwhelming sense of fear from its audience, making them question how in the hell Thor and Asgard could possibly succeed in the face of this threat. Therein lies the sole reason that this movie felt like a let down. I never once felt that Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) and his Dark Elf kronies were the omnipotent threat they were built up to be. The only sense of foreboding the audience will feel centers around the question of whether or not Thor can trust his brother Loki. The Dark Elvish threat, which is at the center of the whole movie, actually acts as more of a side-plot. Nothing sums this up more than the movie's climactic London battle scene which, thanks to all the hopping between worlds, felt more comical than anything else.
However, don't let the shortcomings of the movie's main antagonist put you off from this one. Because the Dark Elves are somewhat pushed into the periphery, it frees up a lot of room for everything that is so good about the Thor story. The world of Asgaard and the characters held within it are well worth your hard-earned dollars and please, for the love of all that is good, make sure you stay for the credits.