Thursday Night Movie Club
Thor: The Dark World
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Release Date: 8 November 2013

Director: Alan Taylor
Chris Hemsworth
Natalie Portman
Tom Hiddleston
Anthony Hopkins
Christopher Eccleston
Jaimie Alexander
Zachary Levi
Ray Stevenson
Tadanobu Asano
Idris Elba
Rene Russo
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Kat Dennings
Stellan Skarsgård
Alice Krige
Jane Foster
Algrim / Kurse
Darcy Lewis
Erik Selvig
Thor: The Dark World movie poster Thor: The Dark World movie poster Thor: The Dark World movie poster
Chris Hemsworth as Thor in Thor: The Dark WorldThe God of Thunder returns in Thor: The Dark World. The second film in the series is a slight improvement over the original, due mainly to Tom Hiddleston as Loki. The backstory explained in the opening is indecipherable by anyone unfamiliar with the comic book series. No matter, the fun is in the characters and the fantastic action sequences.

Ages ago, the Dark Elves led by Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) seek to plunge the known universe into darkness using a weapon called Aether. Odin's father Bor (Tony Curran) defeats the Dark Elves but not before Malekith, his lieutenant Algrim (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agabaje) and several elves escape.

Christopher Eccleston as Malekith in Thor: The Dark WorldBor orders the Aether be hidden where no one knows where, to keep the nine realms safe. Any guesses where the Aether is hidden? Well, there wouldn't be much of a story otherwise.

Back to present day, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is busy traveling to all of the nine realms desperately trying to undo the damage Loki (Tom Hiddleston) caused after wreaking havoc in New York City depicted in "The Avengers" movie. Loki is housed in a prison cell on Asgard.

Meanwhile in London, Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) has gone a little batty. He is running around naked at Stonehenge with an array of sensors on poles. He is sensing the imminent alignment of the nine realms. As the realms align, the bridges between the realms become increasingly chaotic. Of course no one listens to his dire predictions.

Chris Hemsworth as Thor in Thor: The Dark WorldDarcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) takes Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) to a collection of abandoned warehouses. Some kids playing there have found a rather amazing phenomenon. Objects can be dropped down a stairwell and disappear only to reappear falling from several floors above. The cycle repeats over and over. Jane drops some car keys only to have them disappear and not return. She begins exploring the warehouse for the source of the displacement phenomenon. Foster is suddenly transported to another place where she discovers the hidden Aether. Wisps of the Aether emanate from its prison and infect Foster.

Troubling news reaches Thor on Asgard. Heimdall (Idris Elba), the Gatekeeper to the nine realms, informs Thor that he can no longer see Jane Foster on Earth. She was there. Now she is gone. Against his father's wishes, Thor travels to Earth searching for Foster. The Aether in Foster lashes out at several police officers. Realizing Foster is a threat to Earth, Thor takes her back to Asgard for her protection and to find a way to rid her of this presence.

Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in Thor: The Dark WorldOnce the Aether has been found, Malekith awakens from suspended animation. With the Convergence approaching, Malekith and The Dark Elves return to once more plunge the known realms into darkness. Malekith searches for the Aether with which he will be unstoppable.

From the story recap above, Thor: The Dark World has a complicated plot line. There are many story lines going on concurrently. All of these threads are woven together into the final conflict in London.

Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman bring nothing special to their characters for this sequel. Christopher Eccleston is appropriately menacing as Malekith but the actor is unrecognizeable underneath layers of stage makeup. The makeup conceals all traces of emotions or facial expressions from Eccleston's performance. He relies on his voice to carry the part.

Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth in Thor: The Dark WorldTom Hiddleston steals every scene in which he appears. He perfectly balances Loki's misheivous nature with large doses of truth. Loki has inherited his foster-mother's (Rene Russo) talent of projecting a false image. When Thor confronts Loki seeking his help, Loki is confident and cocky. Thor sees through the deception to reveal the broken Loki sitting alone in a dishevelled cell. Hiddleston's vocal inflection, facial expressions and gestures make it impossible for anyone to determine whether Loki is lying or not. In most instances, Loki is lying and telling the truth at the same time. Loki's deceptive nature is pure joy to behold.

Cat Dennings as Darcy Lewis has her role expanded for Thor: The Dark World. Dennings takes full advantage of the opportunity. Darcy Lewis is smart, innocent, and giddy as a school girl. Lewis is so wacky to the chaos around her, she cannot see her intern Ian's growing affection. Sure, Dennings brings comedy to her role and to the London scenes. Like Hiddleston, she steals her scenes. Darcy Lewis is just a lot of unbridled fun thanks to Dennings.

Chris Hemsworth and Anthony Hopkins in Thor: The Dark WorldStellan Skarsgård is a riot as Dr. Erik Selvig. Selvig's equipment is sensing the formation of the bridges between the realms but he cannot lock down the source. His frustration is driving him slowly insane. Selvig finally finds an audience. Using a pair of shoes, Selvig comically explains the concept of the bridges. By the time he finishes his madcap lecture, Selvig is shown to be in an insane asylum. Another inmate played by Stan Lee (Thor's creator in the comic books) calmly asks Selvig to return his shoes. Skarsgård plays the scene for its full comic effect. Stan Lee sends the scene into outer space.

Director Alan Taylor takes over the reins from Kenneth Branaugh. Taylor engergizes Thor: The Dark World. The film is spectacular to watch. The background plates are stunning. The choreography of the battle/fight sequences is fantastic. The final battle between Thor and Malekith as the bridges align and connect is complex, thrilling, exhilerating and at time hysterically funny. Thor hurls his famous hammer at Malekith only to have it disappear and then reappear several miles away. The hammer tries to fly back into Thor's hand only to have Thor and Malekith suddenly transported to the Dark World. Taylor pulls off this complex sequence in a succint yet exciting fashion.

Jaimie Alexander as Sif in Thor: The Dark WorldAt the end of the film, two important clues to the upcoming Avengers sequel are revealed. Regarding Loki, there is only one true fact. There is no such thing as reality where Loki is concerned. A new character, The Collector (Benicio del Toro), is introduced. The Collector is given the Aether for safekeeping by Volstagg (Ray Stevenson) and Sif (Jaimie Alexander). There is great danger having two infinity stones close together in Asgard. The Collector calmly states, "One down, five to go."

Benicio del Toro as the evil menace is something in which to look forward. Next up: Captain America: The Winter Soldier! In the meantime, Thor: The Dark World is a whole lot of fun.