Thor: The Dark World opens up with information overload.
We learn that thousands of years ago a weapon called the Aether was used by beings known as Dark Elves to send the universe into darkness. The Asgardians stop them and the Aether ends up being hidden not to be discovered for thousands of years. Meanwhile Thor has been fighting for peace in the Nine Realms while his lover Jane is stuck dating Roy.
This amount of exposition is pretty exhausting and sets the stage for the downfall of the film.
The problem with this sequel seems to lie in the filmmaker’s desire to include everything in the world of Thor. They managed to throw in all of Thor’s old Earth buddies (plus a new intern), his Asgardian Avengers, his brother Loki, and a new race of beings that desire to watch the worlds burn.
This leads to an overpacked film that has each character (who, to be fair, are all very interesting on their own) fighting for screentime.
You have Darcy Lewis doing her best Iron Man humor impression. You have Dr. Erik Selvig running around pantless, trying to deal with the lasting effects of being controlled by Loki. You have Jane Foster dealing with being abandoned by her hammer-wielding boyfriend while also being possessed by an evil weapon and having the pressure of meeting the parents. Then you have the Asgardian Avengers who are all dressed up with nowhere to go and nothing to do. You also have Loki who has been a central villain in two Marvel movies now and now must share the attention with many other less deserving characters. Oh and you also have Thor. Don’t forget about him.
There are plenty more I left out because listing them and their pointless inclusion would just drag down this review much like they dragged down the film.
Which is too bad because the central story of the film gets heavily overlooked. At the heart of the film is a story about a man struggling to be away from the love of his life while facing the pressure of his responsibilities to his people and his family. He wants to create peace in his world, he wants to please his father’s wishes to take over, he wants his no good brother to clean up his act and he also wants to be present with his girlfriend.
Marvel missed an opportunity with this film. They should have slowed down the pace, cut some of the cast and scale back on the action. These individual superhero films should be about the individual characters themselves. Show me their pain and suffering, show me their struggle, show me their triumph. Take the time to build these characters in their respective film and then unleash them to kick ass in the Avenger sequels.
Thor goes on to save the Nine Realms in the usual epic fashion. Thor then gets the girl and his freedom. Yes Thor achieves everything he desires but not everything he deserves, like a truly great film.
Kevin’s rating: 7/10