My Score: 2.5/5
The sequel is always difficult to deliver. You need to understand what elements of the 1st movie need to be retained, what has to be reworked and what has to be introduced without disturbing the balance of the movie. If you top this dilemma with the fact that you are about to make the 8th movie in a “Cinematic Universe”, the bar gets set a lot higher. That’s when you start tripping out as you are unfortunately caught between 2 aspects – continuing the universe and continuing the individual story.
Thor: The Dark World falls precisely in that very same gap which is created when the creative team strives to achieve continuity on both sides. I admit that such a thing has not been attempted before in any form of franchise but then you reach a stage where you are expected to balance the expectation of the fans, producers, production houses and the comic book fanatics!
The movie continues and deals with the aftermath of Loki’s antics in New York (The Avengers). Thor has become more mature and has been fighting to achieve peace in all 9 realms after the bifrost has been repaired. During this time, Jane Foster ends up in London studying the connection between the realms and stumbles upon some material called the “Aether” which is locked away by Thor’s forefathers due to its dangerous origins. This material is essentially stuff which the dark forces use to gain control over all realms. This awakens the dark forces aka dark elves who go behind Jane for it. Thor steps in and what ensues is a good old fight between good and evil!
Story & Direction: From a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) story perspective, I found this movie to be the actual beginning of Phase 2. It really shows off the plans which Marvel have to offer in the large scheme of things right upto Avengers 3 which comes out sometime in 2017. So, this movie initiates that thread really well. It picks just those aspects which are essential at this point to convey the path which the MCU would take. However, the writers compromise the quality of the sequel while telling the story of Phase 2. This, for me, was a letdown. The screenplay seemed rushed at places and there were a lot of new elements exposed very quickly with almost zero development (apart from the main villain).
Alan Taylor has a good experience with such material. His Game Of Thrones work has been remarkable and he succeeds in giving this movie the same level of detail and tone. The movie does feel dark – at times. Considering that this is his 1st real big scale production, he does a decent job.
Effects & Visuals: As we have come to expect from MCU, visuals and effects were top notch. The action sequences were simple and straight forward. Again, my biggest complaint is the use of 3D which felt useless and not of any value add. Seriously MCU guys, pls rethink your 3D strategy!!
Cast: The stand out performance in this one has to be of Loki aka Tom Hiddleston. This is his 3rd movie playing Loki and he has improved in each and every movie. Watch out for some mischievous fun!
Chris Hemsworth gives a more mature performance as Thor. He has also improved well in his portrayal of the Demi God. Natalie Portman also does a good job so does Kat Dennings who gets an extended role courtesy her “2 Broke Girls” fame. Anthony Hopkins is delightful as ever!
Bottomline: As a strict sequel, Thor: The Dark World falls well short of expectations and does too much too soon. As a Phase 2 movie, it is bang on and provides the fans just a good start to the next set of movies. There is a mid-credit scene in this one which gives a great feel of next year’s movie! In other words, Thor 2 is not the movie which deserve, but it is a movie that we needed right now. One time watch!