Kevin Watches The Entire MCU - Thor: The Dark World
An Infinity Stone is introduced as Thor and Loki return
Thor: The Dark World
11/8/13 | Director: Alan Taylor | Rotten Tomatoes: 66% | Runtime: 112 minutes | Platform: Blu-Ray
Whenever someone goes through the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this is where things usually to get a bit rough. Following the first set of episodes from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., we must take a detour to Thor: The Dark World. It’s no secret that this is widely considered to be the worst entry into the MCU list of films. Is it really that bad?
After watching it for a second time, I concluded that it’s not that bad of a movie. It’s just an incredibly forgettable one. As soon as the credits rolled, I had already forgotten most of what happened even though it was just minutes ago. That’s a bad mark on a movie. Ideally, they should leave a lasting impression on you. So, the real question doesn’t become whether or not this is bad. It becomes one of what makes it so unremarkable.
For starters, the supporting cast is troublesome. Chris Hemsworth again does his best as Thor, especially in the scenes where he’s asked to do comedic stuff. The star of this thing is Tom Hiddleston as Loki. He didn’t do much of note in Thor, but was a highlight of The Avengers and is the best part of this one. It’s everyone else who proves problematic. Natalie Portman (Jane Foster) doesn’t show as much chemistry with Hemsworth this go around. Combine that with her behind the scenes issues over the director choice (she tried hard to get Patty Jenkins, who went on to direct Wonder Woman, on board), which led to her removal from the series, and it feels like she didn't give her best effort in this one. The Warriors’ Three, Thor’s friends, are again kind of useless, while Kat Dennings (Darcy), her intern, and almost everyone else is either annoying or pointless.
Speaking of things that didn’t work, we have the villain. The MCU has often been criticized for their lack of great villains. Honestly, many of the villains in the first two phases don't deliver. However, this movie has the worst of the worst. Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) is awful. He’s an ancient Dark Elf, which is already not intimidating. Then, he does a whole lot of nothing throughout the film, his plan is insanely bland and generic, and he never feels like a true threat. You get the feeling Thor could end him with ease, so why are we even watching?
The one thing Malekith does that actually matters is how he’s behind the murder of Thor’s mother, Frigga (Rene Russo). It seems to have an impact on Thor, but their relationship was never really established. All we know is that she’s his mother. I don’t remember him ever even speaking to her on screen for more than a few lines in either movie. Though the death scene is done well, it misses that emotional impact because their connection was never truly showcased. The best part about it is how Loki reacts. The seemingly confident Loki remains a jerk in prison, but when he hears about her death, he silently throws a fit of rage. Again, Loki is the highlight.
Thor kind of doesn’t have an arc in this movie. He starts and ends it in the exact same position as a person. Sure, he can visit Earth more, but he doesn’t grow or change. It’s as if we didn’t go on a journey with him at all. Loki’s popularity seemed to overshadow him and caused Loki to get much more to work with in this one. His arc is stronger, his sacrifice means a lot, and the eventual reveal that he’s alive and posing as Odin makes for one of the cooler surprises in the MCU. Plus, there was the hilarious scene where he impersonated Captain America. Chris Evans is phenomenal in this short role, perfectly playing Loki as Cap. It’s delightful.
As great as that moment is, it’s probably the only bit of comedy that works in the movie. That and a few times where Hemsworth nailed his facial expressions and such. The jokes are cringe worthy, especially those delivered by Dennings. Actually, anyone but Thor, Loki, or the random Cap appearance gave us lackluster jokes that missed the mark. It’s interesting considering how well comedy gets done in the MCU starting with the arrival of a certain galactic movie coming up.
As for the greater MCU connections, there's a pretty big one. Though the film is forgettable, we do get the appearance of one of the infamous Infinity Stones. The Reality Stone shows up and ultimately gets sent to The Collector in the post-credits scene. Benicio Del Toro is always a blast with this role and we’ll see more of him soon. Other than that, this doesn’t connect to much. Loki impersonating Odin gets rectified quickly in the next installment and most of these characters never return.
In the end, I don’t think Thor: The Dark World is a flat out bad movie. It’s just one that doesn’t measure up in the greater MCU and is too forgettable. Nothing sticks or even seems to matter. Thor doesn’t really have an arc and plays second fiddle to Loki, who is the star of the film. Without him, this would certainly rate much lower.
Next up – All Hail The King