Thor: The Dark World (2013)

This film is a failure. It is easily the worse MCU film. Yet, it’s tough to figure out what is to blame.

The biggest crime of the film is that it simply doesn’t make any sense. There are plot holes all over the place. Everything happens because of coincidence.The characters act uniformly stupid, and nothing is achieved, no consequences are left. If this film never existed, it would have no impact on the rest of the MCU.

Thor, so well handled in in first film, is taken too seriously here. What humour there is comes from his stupidity. What does Thor actually do in this film? He takes Jane from Earth, then leads a foolish battle against Malekith which he loses, and then beats Malekith barely with a fight before being saved by chance. He learns nothing, and actually does very little.

Worse still is Jane, and no wonder Portman has no desire to return to the role. She sets off the plot by being possessed by the Aether by pure coincidence. She is a damsel in distress with little agency outside her pining for Thor. She’s the MacGuffin, the fragile flower to be protected. So far from the hero to young girls who wanted to study science of the first film.

The only good performance here is Hiddleston’s Loki. That guy just bleeds acting talent, and he outshines everyone. But his storyline is hampered by terrible scriptwriting. And he’s far more memorable a foil for Thor than Malekith, probably the worse of Marvels villains (who famously aren’t great anyway).

There are nice moments – Loki’s prison reveal, couple of the action scenes – but they are stitched together badly. Stakes are risen because our characters powers stop working (Heimdall, Thor loses hammer). What should be vital scenes (how Loki lived, Thor saying goodbye to Jane, what happened to Odin?) are skipped. What the hell happened to Hogun?

It’s easy to blame Alan Taylor, directing his biggest film yet. The talented screenwriters have to be to blame. But mainly – who was keeping an eye on the ship? That legendary stewardship of the Marvel brand by Kevin Feige and his team seemed to have forgotten about this film.

This film has a 66% Rotten Tomatoes, and it feels like that’s extremely generous.

Best bits:

  • Thor having up his hammer
  • Loki and everything he does
  • Chris Evan’s cameo
  • Some of the action is top notch, if a little confusing.
  • …um, the costumes?

Worse bits:

  • Plot is set off by utter chance (Jane being possessed by the Aether)
  • Jane, Thor, Heimdall and everyone being stupid
  • Malekith the unmemorable.
  • The utter meaningless, inconsequentialness of it all
  • Warriors Three and Sif once again have nothing to do.

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