Thor The Dark World (2013) annotations
Release date: 8th November 2013
Director: Alan Taylor
Screenwriters: Christopher Yost, Stephen McFeely, Christopher Markus
Then a voice. It’s Anthony Hopkins, who plays Odin. We will see more of him later.
We are told about the Dark Elves. There are all sorts of Elves in Norse mythology. The story of the Dark Elves were simplified to be an antagonistic race in the comics, often battling Thor. Svartalfheim is their home.
They first appeared in Thor #344 (March 1987). They were created by Walt Simonson (with influences).
We then see Malekith The Accused. He’s played by Christopher Eccleston.
Malekith was created for the comics, where he is also the leader of the Dark Elves. He has fought Thor many times over the decades.
He first appeared in Thor #344 (March 1987), along with the Dark Elves. He was created by Walt Simonson.
Christopher Eccleston will always be loved for his work as the 9th Doctor in Doctor Who. He started his memorable film career in Shallow Grave, leading to roles in The Others, Heroes, The Leftovers and much more. Eccleston wanted to work on the film because of Alan Taylor. He told Hero Complex:
You’re playing very broad strokes characters, particularly myself, the bad guy. What Alan can do is he can help you, and he understands your desire to — within the confines of a popcorn film — give it some complexity. We’re trying as hard as we can to give it some humor and some irony. Obviously people are coming to see how heroic Chris can be as Thor and you will make him more heroic if his antagonists are more complex.
We then see the Aether. By now Marvel had changed tracks and the Tesseract is no longer a nod to a cosmic cube but an Infinity Gem. The Aether would be revealed to be the Reality gem. But it also shows us that these gems can be just about anything, even a weird liquid splashy thing.
Malekith talks to Algrim. He’s played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.
Algrim appears in the comics, known as Algrim The Strong. He is also a Dark Elf, known for his size, loyal to Malekith and hates Thor. But we will talk about him more a little later, when he his story develops, and becomes the Kurse.
He was created by Walt Simonson. He first appeared in Thor #347 (September 1984).
Akinnuoye-Agbaje is probably best known for his role in the TV series Lost and Game Of Thrones. He also appeared in films like GI Joe: Rise Of Cobra. He talked about his dual role with Cinemablend:
Kurse, I’ve known about because, you know, he’s quite a figure in the Marvel world. But Algrim and the Elves, it was still somewhat vague to me and that was the joy of coming in. I did the research and discovered who they were. And I think what they did is allowed me not to have the preconceived notions and come up with something that was a little more unique.
And then a big fight between the Elves and the Asgardians.
This entire fight and the fighters is all CGI, except for Malekith, Algrim and then later Bor. The set is also a CGI creation.
Leading the fight for the Asgardians is Bor, Odin’s father. He is played by Tony Curran.
Bor is also Odin’s father in Norse mythology, and a role that was carried over to the comics.
Bor is Odin’s father in Marvel mythology as well. He has appeared in the comics, with a similar horned helmet, going through the comic book rollercoaster of being revived a few few times.
He first appeared in Journey Into Mystery #97 (October 1963). Jack Kirby and Stan Lee are credited with his creation.
Tony Curran appeared in films such as Gladiator and League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen. He was particularly brilliant as Vincent Van Gogh in Doctor Who. He will go on to have another role in the MCU, in Daredevil.
After the fight is over, and the Asgardian are deeply irresponsible with an infinity stone by simply burying (with no guard), the fight is over.
Then Thor The Dark World titles.
Then we see, in chains, Loki. He’s played by Tom Hiddleston.
We last saw Tom Hiddleston play Thor in the Avengers (2012), where he was captured at the end. This is his 3rd appearance in the MCU. Apparently Loki was not going to be included in this film, but he had become so popular that the filmmakers rewrote the film to include him. Hiddleston told MovieWeb:
Loki has a very complicated relationship with Thor. He is an agent of chaos without equal in the world he inhabits. He knows his true nature. He knows he doesn’t belong in the family of Asgard, and he’s locked away in the beginning of the film in the deepest, darkest recesses of the dungeon as public enemy number one. Lo and behold, Asgard needs his help. That’s going to be a very complicated allegiance.
We are in Asgard, and it looks like the royal palace, like we saw in Thor (2011). It is also a set.
As he’s being marched to the throne, in the distance is Odin. Played by Anthony Hopkins. Although the direction isn’t terribly clear about it.
It’s a terrific movie, action-packed, full of digital effects, extraordinary, great cast, Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston and Natalie Portman. I was very happy to be there.
Although shortly after he said he forgot about the film already.
Loki also talks to his mother, Frigga, played by Rene Russo.
You know they cut me [down] in the first film. [Director] Kenneth Branagh sent me a nice note, because he understood, he’s an actor. You move on, what are you going to do? But I think they’re going to need a good mom in the next film. Loki needs his mom. What the hell?
“Give or take 5000 years.”
Interesting comment about the lifespan of Asgardians. How old is Loki? Also, to be put in the dungeon for the rest of his life – that’s a long time isn’t it?
Then to Vanaheim. One of the nine world in Norse mythology (along with Asgard and Midgard, aka Earth). It’s actually Bourne Woods, in Surrey, UK.
There’s a battle going on.
First warrior we see if Sif. She’s played by Jamie Alexander.
My character in this film is more serious than I am. I am more of a prankster and smart aleck than she is,” Alexander said. “This character is very selfless and she’s always standing up for the underdog. I’m like that too. But I really look up to this character and aspire to be more like her.
Next is Volstagg, played by Ray Stevenson.
In this one, the realms are being whipped up into various rebellions. There is a darker malignant force out there and we are in the process of engaging in long protracted skirmishes and battles. The luster and shine of the city has been taken off and it all leads to a huge assault, an attack at the heart of Asgard. It could be completely wiped out, the stakes are a lot higher.
And here’s Thor. Played by Chris Hemsworth.
We certainly see more of Asgard and more of the nine realms in this film than we did in Thor. Thor was kind of, we were just on Asgard whereas this is… there’s a bigger universe out there which we get to explore.
Then the other Warriors Three. Fandral, played by Zachary Levi.
Levi replaced Josh Dallas, who previously played the role in Thor (2011), because he was starring in the TV series Once Upon A Time. Levi was up for the role in that first film, but was unable to commit due to his starring role in the utterly fantastic TV show Chuck. Levi will always be Chuck to us, a very under-rated show.
Levi insisted on having his hair dyed blonde, despite having dark brown hair. He didn’t want it to just be a lighter brown.
And finally, Hogun, played by Tadanobu Asano.
This is Asano’s 2nd appearance in the MCU as Hogun. He last appeared in Thor (2011).
Who are they fighting? The Marauders, although they don’t make it terribly clear do they?
There’s more Fandrall and Hogun in this fight that was deleted.
Then the massive rock creature. It is not named, but it seems to be a nod to the rock monsters, called Stone Men From Saturn, that Thor battled in his very appearance in Journey Into Mystery #83.
Hogun thanks Thor for helping. It turns out it’s Hogun’s people who were attacked. Again, so vague.
And here we are at Asgard, according to the titles. Hold on, we were here just a few minutes earlier with Loki, weren’t we?
A deleted scene here features Loki imagining his coronation as the ruler of Asgard. Cut from the film, and with Loki’s banishment scene put in earlier, it just serves to confuse things.
Odin and his raven. Odin had a pair of ravens in Norse Mythology. It was alluded to in The Avengers (2012), but we see them properly here.
Stilted father and son heart to heart occurs. Followed by a shirtless scene.
Then the celebrations. But Thor isn’t having much fun. He talks to Sif.
There was a deleted scene that gave more time to Volstagg and Fandral.
Then we’re in London. In particular, the restaurant Oxo Brasserie, located in Oxo Tower, on London’s Southbank, east of Waterloo Bridge. The amazing view is looking over the Thames.
Hiding behind her menu is Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman.
It was exciting to get to come back and work with everyone and people who were joining this time. And because Jane gets to go to Asgard this time, I was lucky enough to get to work with Tom and to have scenes with Anthony Hopkins and Renee Russo… they were amazing and I got to admire from afar. Also, continuing the fun rapport with Kat [Dennings] and Stellan [Skarsgard] and Chris – there was definitely a lot of laughing, maybe too much laughing on set!
With her is Richard. He’s played by Chris O’Dowd.
O’Dowd is a huge star in Britain. He is known for the acclaimed comedy The IT Crowd and Bridesmaids.
Richard was created for the film, as far as we can tell.
Here’s Darcy. She’s played by Kat Dennings.
I think it is super important, especially when there is so much fantasy and so much action going on, its nice to have a little comic-relief… because this movie gets very dark, and it’s called The Dark World … but really like emotionally dark, and there is a lot going on, so I find her like a breath of fresh air; a nice kind of break. And from the fan perspective and the audience’s perspective, I think she is a kind of fun person to watch.
Jane leaves and gets into Darcy’s car. It’s a Volvo 240.
She’s actually not very close to the restaurant. She’s on Battle Bridge Lane, walking south towards Tooley St. It’s about 30 minutes walk east of the Oxo Tower. Film magic, huh?
Then a shot of the Thames with the London Eye very present. The bridge closest to us is Blackfriars.
In the car is Ian Boothby, intern. He’s played by Jonathan Howard.
Howard starred in the UK series Dream Team, and would go on to appear in more TV such as Episodes. Howard talked about his newcomer status with Starburst:
He’s the eyes and the ears for the audience in a way, because every other character has experienced this other world before, and he doesn’t have a clue about it, so I’m a rabbit caught in headlights. He didn’t sign up for any of this, he’s not prepared to see any of this, so he spends the movie playing catch up as the events unfold..
Ian’s GPS says we are on going north along Moorgate. It says they are near Kings Avenue – no such intersection exists.
Then Darcy’s sudden turn. She’s going south along Basinghall St, right onto Gresham St, then left into the tiny Ironmonger Lane. They drive past the restaurant The Anthologist, 58 Gresham St EC2V.
It is in the wrong direction from where they’ve been driving just a scene earlier.
The ITV news report. ITV is a real U.K. Channel.
The reporter is played by Sam Swainsbury.
They are at Stonehenge, the mysterious, and some consider mystical, monument made of stones in Wiltshire, England.
And here’s Erik Selvig. He’s played by Stellan Skarsgård.
This is Skarsgård’s 3rd appearance in the MCU as Selvig. He last appeared in The Avengers (2012).
Then the warehouse. They are at the site of an old vinyl factory. It is now a modern business park actually called The Old Vinyl Factory. It’s on Blyth Road, Hayes, UB3, just north of Heathrow.
Jane’s ringtone is a track by Young De AKA Demrick called Cake’n Up released in 2012.
Let’s stop for a second and remember Portman’s and Kenneth Branagh‘s rule for Jane Foster in Thor (2011) that she’s not an idiot, that she’s a smart person, she’s not a damsel in distress. Now for this film she can’t even change her own ringtone and worse still, asks for help. Either way it doesn’t endear her to the audience, it makes her look both stupid and bossy.
Also note that Alan Taylor has said a lot of thought went into the choice of the song, one that disappears too quickly to get annoying.
Is that supposed to be two ravens that fly past as they enter? Again, very vague for an Easter egg.
The kids. They are played by Ramone Morgan, Obada Alassadi and Imaan Chentouf.
The truck belongs to Norman Emersons And Sons, a real trucking company in the U.K.
The kids show Jane and co a portal where they drop a bottle. The bottle catch is amongst the least convincing cuts in a very unconvincing film.
The bottle is a bottle of Lucozade. Then a can of Vimco – not a brand we recognise.
Darcy refers to New Mexico – the events of Thor (2011).
And Jane, wandering off on her own like a good Damsel in Distress, is taken away to the land of the Dark Elves.
She sees the Aether. You know, one of the all powerful Infinity Gems. Just there. Someone teleported her there, and left her alone with it. It’s fine.
The Aether also wakes Malekith and the Dark Elves.
We see the Bifrost Bridge – familiar from the first film. It’s is the Asgardian mode of transport.
Here’s the gatekeeper – Heimdall. He’s played by Idris Elba.
This is Elba’s 2nd appearance in the MCU as Heimdall. He last appeared in Thor (2011).
Heimdall‘s line here, about being able to see trillions of souls, has led to speculation that he is connected to the Soul Gem.
Then a shot of Jane, as if she crossed over into the title sequence for Netflix’s Daredevil.
Jane awakens at the factory. Darcy has called the police and Jane is worried it will attract SHIELD, the all purpose government agency in the MCU.
And Thor appears. No rainbow bridge thing, and no reason why there’s rain. There’s just rain because of a gag.
The police officer played by Justin Edwards. He was wonderful in the series The Thick Of It, and films such as Paddington and Bill.
Gruffud Glyn is the other cop.
Thor bifrosts Jane the hell out of there.
A deleted scene sees Jane waking in Asgard.
We then go to Slavartfheim. Malekith is complaining about having lost the Aether. It seems ambiguous what happened. Was it really clear that Jane had taken the whole thing? And why Jane, and not Darcy?
The Asgardians treat Jane. Odin is typically caring and warm.
Odin banishes her without asking any questions about the situation. People get hurt because of it.
Odin then drops all the exposition. He says the other relics are stones, our first clue the Aether is an Infinity Gem.
Malekith makes a sacrifice for some reason. He creates the Kurse.
Kurse is taken from the comics. He was created by the all powerful Beyonder to attack Thor. This all happened in Secret Wars II #4 (October 1985).
Why doesn’t Malekith just create an army of Kurses? What are the rules?
Kurse just happily wanders into Asgard, with the captured Marauders. He just manages to hid amongst them, looking like a massive badass, with no one noticing. Also, great work Heimdall.
We see Loki in his prison, and he is visited by Frigga.
A deleted scene hear features Thor and Frigga discussing Loki.
Kurse breaks free from his prison. He kills other prisoners and a couple of Asgardians.
Thor joins the fight. He catches the hammer as it flies to the battle.
Can the hammer do that? Thor can call on the hammer and it goes to him. He can throw it in a way to fly. This seems weird.
The Warriors Three are already there. Thor fights the Marauders. He snaps at least one neck.
Heimdall can see every soul, including the ones that pass him right by. At least he gets a pretty cool action scene.
Some CGI space ships fight other CGI space ships. Not a single character on any of these ships is anyone we know, or care about.
Heimdall raises the slowest shield ever around the palace. Yet, one Dark Elf ship is so stupid it couldn’t fly up just a little to get past it.
There is however no shield around the shield generator. The Kurse takes it down.
One elf ship gets past the top of the shield. Seems surprising it didn’t dive downwards and crash into the shield.
The ship crashes into the palace. People just stand there. One Asgardian seems to fall in its path.
Then the ship has stopped. For some reason the fighting outside, and in the prison section, has all stopped.
Dark Elves fight. And man, they have cool bomb things. And they brutally take out a squad of Asgardians.
Malekith appears. He destroys the throne. Because he knows he’s in a film.
Odin appears. He kills one Elf. By surprise.
Malekith faces Frigga (and Jane). Frigga becomes a bad ass.
Jane is just an illusion. Which begs the question – how does Malekith know Jane has the Aether? You imagine up that point that he can sense the power in her somehow. But that makes no sense if she’s not there.
Anyway. Frigga is killed. Stirring music to try and make us feel something.
Jane, who was unprotected for a little while, somehow intuits that the battle is over and is freely walking around in her own.
Frigga’ funeral. Her body has been sent out to sea and burnt. It’s reminiscent of Viking tradition. I mean, without the floating orbs.
We see Loki, and then we’re back in London.
Selvig and this blackboard. There are some Easter eggs to be found here.
There’s mention of the 616 Universe. There are lots of alternative realities in the Marvel comics. The 616 universe is the main Marvel universe.
The Crossroads. An alternate dimension in the Marvel universe, it’s actually a place where several realities converge. The Hulk spent some time there.
The Fault. A rip in space created by the Inhuman Black Bolt, and the setting for various cosmic Marvel stories.
Kyle + Yost = X. This refers to Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, regular collaborators and comic book writers for many X-Men titles. Yost is also a co-screenwriter for this film.
Simonson’s Theory Of Relativity. A reference to Walt Simonson, the writer and artist behind one of the most acclaimed Thor runs in the comics. Simonson had a cameo in Thor (2011).
There’s other science on the board – Schrödinger’s Cat for example.
In a twist, it turns out that Malekith is being commanded by someone else.
Back on Asgard, Jane has a random Aether vision. Fandral runs through the damage. The shields won’t come back up. Heimdall is useless.
Odin, as usual, is super understanding and super open to new ideas.
Back on earth. Darcy and Ian, in Jane’s apartment maybe? Location unknown, and a set if we had to guess.
Another ITV reporter. It’s real life ITV reporter Steve Scott.
We saw this report earlier in the day. We cut away to it. Remember? But hey, show it again.
Thor eats. Heimdall interrupts. I’m surprised he noticed Thor was there.
Thor then explains the third act. Interesting, Thor confirms that Malekith can sense Aether power. He just can’t tell holograms.
Then Thor recruits Loki. This scene is pretty great actually.
Thor and Loki team up. They walk and talk and Loki turns into Heimdall.
Then Captain America! Kinda! Played by Chris Evans.
This is Evans’ 3rd appearance in the MCU as Captain America. He last appeared in The Avengers (2012).
It is, of course, not really a Cap appearance. Interestingly, they shot Tom Hiddleston pretending to be Cap, and then Evans did an impersonation of that performance. Cool, huh?
A deleted scene here features Thor fighting off Asgardian guards to escape.
Sif frees Jane.
Heimdall. He draws Odin. Not sure why. Could have done that anywhere?
Thor, Loki and Jane travel by ship. Vokstagg battles a bunch of Asgardians.
Thor, once again incompetent, just manages to get the ship up and running. Some CGI destruction and we’re off.
Jane faints. Because.
Fandral stops the last ship. Lucky, otherwise he would have no way home!
Malekith senses the Aether. Thor and Loki argue.
Back in London. Darcy and Ian try to free Selvig. The building is Blythe House, 23 Blythe Road in West Kensington W14.
The warden played by Thomas Arnold. The British actor appeared in films such as Made In Dagenham and The Riot Club.
Selvig says he had a god in his brain. This was Loki, referring to events in The Avengers (2012). Hawkeye seems ok, though?
Hugely treated by CGI, but the bleak landscape of Svartalfheim is actually in Iceland. It’s around Landmannalauger, near the volcano Hekla.
Malekith, the Kurse and bunch of Dark Elves approach, as Loki appears to betray Thor.
Malekith removes the Aether from Jane. Does he have telekinetic powers now?
Thor‘s plan to destroy the Aether doesn’t work. Malekith gets it anyway.
Loki sacrifices himself to save Jane, but is saved by Thor.
Thor and Loki fight some Elves.
Loki takes down the Kurse. But he is wounded himself. Loki appears to die.
Thor and Jane take to a cave, to celebrate a job well done.
Jane says she sensed that Malekith would go to earth. Asking why, Thor says it’s because of the Convergence. THAT IS NOT AN ANSWER.
Jane curses herself for finding the Aether. Which she didn’t do. It could have been one of those kids. It was bad screenwriting.
Then Jane gets a call from Richard. Another nice bit of coincidence to get a cheap laugh over making sense.
Richard is in his office. Could be anywhere.
Then by startling coincidence, they are in the right cave. The exact spot they needed to be in.
And they are back at the Old Vinyl Factory.
They drive out to Southwark Street from O’Meara street, near London Bridge, nowhere near the Old Vinyl Factory.
Then at Jane’s apartment. The group is all reunited.
Lovely moment when Thor hangs Mjolnir on a hook. This was an improv by Hemsworth.
An Asgardian comes back to life and reports back Loki‘s death to Odin. It would have been slightly clearer if we saw why Loki survived and him transforming explicitly. But why explain anything.
Selvig deduces that Greenwich is the heart of the convergence. By unscientific guesswork.
Now that we know the exact scale of the threat, it would be a good time to call the Avengers?
Off to Greenwich, east of London. In particular the Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich, on King William Walk, SE10 9NN.
A dark elf ship appears. They didn’t really give enough thought to the landing mechanism.
Thor arrives. Sure, Darcy and Ian had already been there, doing something science. So where was Thor? In the toilet? Didn’t feel like stopping that ship a bit earlier? Anyway, we get our hero shot.
Malekith attacks Thor with Aether spikes.
The convergence causes chaos to the fight. Really, there’s no logic. Looks cool though.
Thor loses his hammer because the plot said so.
Malekith and Thor reappear in London, and crash into the distinctive building known affectionately as The Gherkin, At 30 St Mary Axe, EC3A 8EP
Mjolnir comes flying north up Surrey Street, north from the Thames. It’s near Temple, and not near the Gherkin.
Fighter jets enter Vanaheim, where Hogun was taking a break.
Dark Elves chase Erik and Jane. Malekith and Thor unleash a random beast into London.
Darcy and Ian are attacked. Ian picks up a Mini Cooper to smash Dark Elves. How did he do that? It has something to do with the floating trucks earlier, maybe? If you’ve not turned your brain off by now, you must be hating life.
Darcy and Ian are reunited with Jane and Erik. The portal seems to have enveloped then instead of going through it. IT CAN DO THAT.
Thor emerges at Charing Cross tube station.
The woman gives him terrible directions. She is played by Annabel Norbury.
The directions – three stops – is totally incorrect. Thor would be best to go two stops to Waterloo and then change to the Jubilee line to get close. Really, he’d need to switch to the trains or the DLR.
Worth noting that the filmmakers covered up which platform and train line in Charing Cross station. So why not just change the station to say London Bridge, which is very London sounding and the gag would then work.
Big portals appear in the sky, each showing realms from the 9 realms. I mean, there’s like four.
- One with modern buildings look likes Asgard.
- A rural/forest world is likely Hogun’s home – Vanaheim.
- There is one that is an ocean.
- One that is volcanic.
It’s not a blue light, but here’s some crazy energy pointing to the sky.
Thor catches up with Erik and Jane. There’s a London Underground sign but there’s no actual tube stop anywhere near the Old Royal Naval College.
Thor breaks into that Aether energy. Malekith has his back turned. Thor gives away any element of surprise by yelling out his name.
Thor uses Selvig’s mystery spike things to remove part of Malekith’s body. After hitting him with a hammer, Malekith is destroyed.
The ship crashes almost onto Jane and Thor. They are saved by complete random chance.
Back at Jane’s. We see a bit of an apartment skyline but it’s tough to know where this is.
Thor has just left. No goodbye or anything. Darcy says Thor was gone for two years the first time around – since the last Thor film.
Back on Asgard. Thor tells Odin he doesn’t want to be like him. Twist. Turns out it’s Loki. Rewatch the scene and see if it makes any sense at all if Loki, as Odin, would say any of those things.
Mid credits scene.
This scene was directed by James Gunn.
A pink skinned alien leads her guests. She’s unnamed here, played by Ophelia Lovibond. She will later be given a name – Carina.
Lovibond is great. We particular liked her in the TV series Mr Sloane and her part in Man Up.
Carina is the name of The Collector‘s daughter in the comics. But her name seems to be the only connection to the comic book version. She also looks very different to her comic book counterpart.
Her guest are Sif and Volstagg.
They are at the museum of The Collector. Although we will learn that the Collector has more than one. This is a set.
They pass through the collection. One looks like the cocoon for the cosmic hero Adam Warlock. Warlock plays a huge role in the Infinity Gauntlet stories in the comics.
Next to the cocoon is a Rainer. We’ll see more of them in Guardians Of the Galaxy (2013).
Here’s Taneleer Tivan, aka The Collector. He’s played by Benicio del Toro.
The Collector has been a key player in the cosmic end of the Marvel universe. As his name suggests, he collects things – including the occasional hero or villain. He has battled the Avengers many times, as well as most of the Marvel universe.
He first appeared in Avengers #28 (May 1966) and was created by Stan Lee and Don Heck.
Del Toro broke out in a major way in The Usual Suspects and has been winning awards for difficult roles ever since. He was recently brilliant in Sicario.
Sif and Volstagg give The Collector the Aether.
Post credits scene.
Jane is at her apartment. Ian and Darcy are also there.
There’s some bifrost energy.
Thor appears on the roof. They kiss.
And they’ve let a creature run loose. It’s at the Old Vinyl Factory