Last night, after 36 hours of celebrating my friend’s 23rd birthday, we headed down to the nearest cineworld to see Thor: The Dark World. This is the sequel to the 2011 film which precluded The Avengers and set up the backstory for antagonist: Loki (Tom Hiddleston).
The Dark World picks up directly after The Avengers, with Odin, king of Asgard sentencing Loki to life in the city’s prison, before cutting to the eponymous hero (Chris Hemsworth) who is enforcing brutal law and order across the nine mythological worlds. Loki’s attack on New York led to the outbreak of chaos and it is now up to Thor to restore faith in Odin.
Thor eventually discovers that one of Asgard’s sworn enemies: Malekith the Accursed (Christopher Eccleston), is returning from a 5,000 year sleep to retrieve the ultimate weapon: The Aether, capable of possessing mortal and god-like beings. This leads him to London, where he meets up with love interest Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and comic relief Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), whose expertise he must use to stop Malekith and his Dark Elves from obtaining The Aether.
Through a confusing sequence of discovering a rift between the mortal world and Asgard, Foster is accidentally infected with The Aether and is left in need of protection. Thor steps in and takes her back to Asgard to protect her with Odin’s might. Eventually, the hammer wielding guardian works out he has to tackle Malekith on earth before the nine worlds align and must return by betraying his father and enlisting Loki’s help.
Soon, the heroes end up back in London for the final showdown, leading to a battle of epic proportions and a very witty use of the London Underground.
Above all the epic fantasy battle scenes, this film was much funnier than the last. An excellent cameo from comedy actor Chris O’Dowd (The IT Crowd) and Kat Dennings’ crazy observations made me laugh out loud more times than any other Marvel film. It wasn’t spectacular, but it wasn’t atrocious either. I went into the cinema expecting to see fantasy battles and a growing love story between the protagonists and that is what I got. Christopher Eccleston’s Malekith put up a courageous fight knowing he meant business. Natalie Portman also offered a stellar performance with plenty of intelligence oozing from her character and not falling into the ‘damsel in distress’ trope.
But I must say, I felt sorry most for Chris O’Dowd being cast as the lovable human loser who’s attempts at finding a girlfriend got him caught up in a battle that would have destroyed nine worlds if lost.
Here’s to one very funny and entertaining Marvel film. Proper ‘park-your-brain-at-the-door’ entertainment.