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on December 3, 2013
[Caveat: I have to confess that I'm a huge fan of the Marvel Thor mythology and have read the comics off and on through the years ever since I was a kid. I state that upfront so you understand that my review of this film is viewed through that lens. However, I still feel the film is fun and entertaining for everyone even if you're not that familiar with the character. There are at least three or four things in this film that are worth the price of admission alone.]

I can't imagine that a fan of the character Thor would be disappointed with this film. It builds on all the elements that Kenneth Branagh established in the first film and ups the ante across the board. Everything is bigger: the battles, the cast, the sets, the visual effects, the soundtrack, the entire scope. The costumes are amazing. I wish they looked this good the first time around. And Asgard is incredible. Alan Taylor has brought the eternal realm to life in a way that Branagh did not. It is still majestic but it feels much more real and actually "lived in".

Further, the actors from the first movie have really grown into their roles. Hemsworth and Hiddleston in particular are the very embodiment of their characters. Hiddleston has much more material to work with from an actor's perspective with regards to Loki - a tormented and duplicitous soul - but he's so good at it. Whereas Hemsworth plays the cocksure Thor in a much more understated fashion. Thor is not complex but has a big heart. Bringing him to life requires subtlety and Hemsworth nails it. Neither actor oversells their role. Not only that, they have tremendous chemistry with each other and every scene in which they are together steals the show. As a fan who realizes how horribly wrong these movies could've gone with such an outrageous premise, I am so grateful that Marvel found these two actors to play the most vital parts of the story.

The creators of the film version of Thor had a difficult choice integrating into the universe and tone that Favreau established in the first Iron Man. In the comics, there's magic and there's sci fi and other dimensions and all that stuff and you just accept it. In the reality-based technology-centric world Iron Man created, how do you introduce a viking god from space who soars around with a magic hammer? In fact, Favreau even admitted he had no idea how it could be done. However, Branagh did find a way and he did it by emphasizing the science fiction aspects of the mythology Jack Kirby and Stan Lee concocted 50 years ago. Taylor now had the unenviable job of taking that idea and running with it without it falling apart at the seams. In my opinion he succeeded. The result is Dark Elves in space ships. It's a bizarre mix and maybe a lot of people won't get it. But it feels like a comic book sprung to life and I loved it.

The only legitimate complaint that I feel this movie deserves is that at times it feels too compressed. (However, I also felt that way about the first film.) It's amazing that for such a short run time The Dark World truly does feel epic, but there's so much going on in this story between Earth and Asgard and the other realms that things don't always get enough time to breathe. I believe this strategy of Marvel is to keep moving the story forward at a brisk pace for the grander scheme of things while maintaining the widest possible appeal for a broad audience - but I'd like to them to linger a little more in a juicy chapter like this. I think even 5 or 10 minutes of added scenes could've put this film over the top and helped flush out certain characters' motives and let you feel more attachment to them. Alan Taylor has said it was very difficult for him to cut out several scenes and is the first Marvel director who has said he'd be keen on doing a Director's Cut. Boy would I love to see that!

Things I liked about The Dark World:

* Character arc of Thor - Thor is growing wiser and shrewder but still retaining his bravado. The lessons he experienced in the first film have made him question things more in this one. His relationship with Odin ebbs and flows like real life and in this film we see that father and son are not so different from each other. In the end Thor makes a surprising choice that mirrors his actions from the comics.

* Character arc of Loki - Loki finds redemption - or does he? His motives are always ambiguous and questionable and he certainly is headed on a darker path. However, the events that unfold here give you more insight into who he is and why he does the things he does

* The funeral scene - Not wanting to spoil things here but you'll know it when you see it. Amazing.

* Sci-fi/fantasy mashup - Star Wars meets Lord of the Rings. The comics was always a weird juxtaposition of seemingly incongruous ideas and this film embraces it and it works.

* Algrim the Kursed - wow! This guy is scary.

* Fun plot twists - Loki isn't the only trickster in this film!

* Thor and Jane Foster make a cute pair - others may disagree but their romance to me is very innocent and sweet and I feel she plays the starry eyed scientist bit to a tee. It's not a huge part of the film but their scenes work and it helps humanize Thor and keep him connected to Earth. I also am very old fashioned and I love how gallantly protective Thor is of Jane and I love that she is equally protective of him.

* Creative battle scenes - especially the last one which produces some ridiculous situations and leave's Thor's hammer Mjolnir VERY confused!

* A healthy dose of humor injected to keep the film from ever taking itself too seriously but not overdone

* Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig - you see that Tony Stark is not the only one impacted by the events of Avengers. This man is a genius but Loki's mind games have really messed him up. Even so Skarsgård is a tremendous actor and really sells it. I enjoyed his part of the story and how he unravels the mystery of the convergence despite his mental state.

Bottom line this film is fun escapism ala Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Don't expect poignant existential validation or heavy handed political commentary. This film is a good time. It's also an exciting chapter in a much larger story that is the MCU. Enjoy the ride!
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on July 5, 2016
Marvel Studios appears to have another bona fide hit on their hands in the seventh-feature film of it’s superhero franchise, and the second of Phase 2, in THOR: THE DARK WORLD.

Sequels are a delicate proposition with the inevitable comparisons to the films that have come before. Fans continue to look for the next Godfather 2 or The Empire Strikes Back, and hope they don’t receive another Ghostbusters 2. Expectations (especially in this era of social media) can crush a film before it is even released - I’m looking at you Star Wars Episode VII.

All that being noted, Thor: The Dark World is another fine chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Directed by Marvel-newcomer Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones), the story continues the emotional journey of the would-be Asgardian king as Thor continues to be torn between two worlds and family obligations. Chris Hemsworth once again brings the right mixture of seriousness, fun and larger-than-life persona that Thor is - not an easy trick to pull off. I would challenge this role may be even more difficult than playing the Man of Steel.

The Dark World opens catching the audience up with post-Avengers consequences for Loki (Tom Hiddleston by the way is once again delightful as the Prince of Lies and Marvel should really consider giving him a solo go at it because he is that good), while also setting up the story of the dark elves and their leader, Malekith (with a strong performance by Christopher Eccleston).

Besides our returning-Asgardian cast of Odin, Heimdall, Sif and The Warriors Three (although sadly they had less to do this time around), we also catch up with Jane Foster, Eric Selvig and Darcy. Avoiding all the traps of a sequel, we find our trio in new roles this time around. The best of the three is the madness in which envelopes Selvig after “having a God in his head”. It’s nice to see some real consequences to the characters from the events of the previous films, however viewers jumping in for the first time would definitely not be lost.

Speaking of consequences, there are some “oh no they didn’t” moments with characters that audience members won’t see coming, especially a terrific sequence with Thor, Loki and Malekith.

Fans of Walt Simonson’s seminal run on The Mighty Thor will not be disappointed, and there are quite a few easter egg moments, including an all-too brief cameo appearance by Thor’s first antagonist from the pages of Journey Into Mystery #103. The post title scene does not disappoint and sets up Guardians of the Galaxy as well as potentially Avengers 3.

Most of the action takes place on Asgard and other worlds of the nine realms, with the movie’s climax coming on Earth, which once again takes center stage. However, the heart of Thor: The Dark World is Thor’s split loyalties and the ultimate decision he needs to make, and just wait until the movie’s final scene on Asgard - cue Thor 3. Thor: The Dark World should not disappoint.
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VINE VOICEon April 18, 2016
I went into this with relatively high expectations since I greatly enjoyed the first Thor films and to date, have enjoyed the other Marvel film properties - especially ones like Guardians of the Galaxy. Thor 2, however, fell short of expectations and while it's not a bad way to while away a few hours I couldn't help but feel that it really could have been better served.

One of the first things that stands out is the chemistry between Portman and Hemsworth, or rather the lack thereof. Both of them are exceptionally talented actors, but they just don't really feel believable as a couple in this film. Portman was also somewhat dull in her role as Jane. She looked great in every scene, but she just feels like she's more phoning it in than anything else. Since watching the movie I've read that Portman *really* wanted out of the film franchise, so this could be a result of her being in a movie she overall didn't want to do. Again, I love Portman but I'd be happier with her character being either gone or recast with another actress with better on-screen chemistry than what we have here.

Now what does work is the interactions between Hemsworth and Hiddleton, as Thor and Loki. Hiddleston approaches his character with sadistic glee and it's easy to see why he's become a fan favorite. Also excellent was Renee Ruso, who shone as Frigga, and Jaimie Alexander as Lady Sif. I could definitely see a Sif/Thor pairing, since the two worked well off of one another. The action and special effects scenes were also well done, which helped make the film move a little faster, although at times I felt that the movie length could've been tightened to make it flow a little better. I couldn't help but find my attention drifting occasionally during the slower scenes.

In the end the film is good, but not exactly the greatest in the series. So far the Marvel films have been overall good, so this is kind of one of those movies where I'd recommend a rental (like I did) rather than a purchase unless you're a completionist or a huge fan of one of the actors in the film.
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I rented The Dark World specifically to see Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston as the villain Malekith. In a film full of exaggerated and prolonged fx battle sequences, Christopher Eccleston's performances are solid and make this film a must-see. Thor himself is performed well and I like the relationships in the films. Loki is even more fun this time around as we never quite know what he will do next.

Overall I think it's a good film and definitely worth renting again.
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on June 30, 2016
Great movie....liked better than first mostly because Loki had more screen time. Chris Helmsworth is great in title role, but Tom Hiddlestons tortured sensitive, yet scheming and cold Loki is my fav villain since the great Alan Rickman. He steals every scene. Great job by all the cast, great story and effects. Awesome chemistry between Loki and Thor..excellent casting choices. Hope to see Loki many more just cant take your eyes off him when he is on screen, This role for him will go down as a classic...he captures the catlike strut, yet vulnerability of one who deep down just wanted equal time to Thors. Chris and his intense interactions are some of the best cinema has seen.
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Top Contributor: Star Warson December 26, 2014
The Dark world is a continuation of Thor and Loki's story after the events of The Avengers. Loki is brought back to Asgard and thrown in prison. Christopher Eccleston plays the lead bad guy Malekith, who is trying to not only bring down Asgard, but gain power over the 9 realms by taking advantage of the realms converging. Thor ends up breaking Loki out of prison to help him track down Malekith.

Of course the movie is heavy on action and special effects, which look and sound great on blu ray. They tell enough of a story and do try to in a sense resolve the Thor/Loki storyline (at least from one of the character's standpoint), and also did a good job with, at least for the first part of the movie, avoiding the question of why not just get the Avengers to help? Theoretically they could have assisted in the final battle, but in the Asgard and Dark World battles there was no way for them to get there. That said, Captain America does make a pretty hilarious cameo.

The movie also rekindles the Jane/Thor relationship as he continues struggling between his duties to Asgard and his feelings for her. Kat Dennings and Stellan Skarsgård reprise their roles, but neither are really given much to do. Dennings is really there for comic relief, which she does well, and to an extent Skarsgård is as well. While Jane is central to the plot, there are times when she cannot do anything because she is basically sitting on the sidelines of battles between essentially immortal beings (at least as compared to her).

By this point you really have to look at the Marvel Movies (and even to some extent Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) as one big intertwined story. This definitely had the feel of a filler movie to get to Avengers 2, where we know more will happen. Unlike Winter Soldier, which I think was on par with, if not better than First Avenger for Captain America's story, I do not think this worked as well as the first Thor movie. Partly because I think the fish-out-of water, god with no power on Earth thing had a great comedic element that this movie did not, and could not based on the story. That said, if you are a fan of the genre and the whole "Marvel Universe" movies I think it is worth checking out.

For those who get the actual disc, as I said, the movie looks and sounds great on Blu Ray. For bonus features there is a mockumentary on The Mandarin (the villain from Iron Man III) that was included here for some reason. Then a multi-part making of/behind the scenes feature on the movie and the story. A first look at Captain America 2, a gag reel, deleted scenes and a feature on scoring the movie. All in all, good for what is there, with about an hour plus worth of extra content.
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on November 24, 2015
I paid $20 for this DVD (not even Blueray), and the only extras it had on it was one deleted scene, and a preview for Captain America. It didn't even have commentary. What a waste of money. Next time, I'll buy my movies in a physical store, so I'll know what I'm getting.

This is a good movie with some funny moments (my favorite is when Thor hangs up his hammer on the coat rack), but it isn't better than the first one. Granted, we knew the characters from the last movie, but for the most part, all the characters were flat. None of them evolved, except for maybe Loki. There wasn't one idea in the entire movie that was developed. It was painfully obvious that they had used a different director. I hope for the next one, they go back to the one used for the original Thor. I won't pay twenty bucks for another one like this. Natalie Portman could be directed by a monkey, and still look good. There isn't much for action until the final scene. The ending is as undeveloped as the rest of the movie. Maybe the first film was about Thor, and this one was about Loki, but it didn't center on Loki. Tom Hiddleston's acting is excellent. Chris Hemsworth gave a good performance (he could use a hair brush), but the director didn't use it well. I just don't think the director knew what he wanted, or what to do with what he had. He made Anthony Hopkins look bad. Do you know how hard that is? All the glow and shine from the first movie is absent from this one. Granted, they are at war, but it is everything in the film. The gatekeeper's costume looks like a dime store version of the previous one - it's just all of it. Did they not keep the props or costumes from the first movie? Did they run out of money? Who knows - because there isn't even commentary to tell us friggin' why! This is a good rental, but wait for more features to be added before you buy the DVD.
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on September 22, 2015
Thor and Loki are so watchable, and their painful brotherly dynamic is definitely well done. Plus, the movie is full of spectacular special effects.

But some of the action is confusing and hard to follow, it's hard to believe in a genuine attraction between Thor and Jane, and Jane's obnoxious little sister made me want to cover my ears every time she opened her loud, squeaky mouth. Though Jane's character is intended to be a world-class scientist, she just comes off as not very bright. Odin was a repulsive jerk - it's hard for me to buy into comic book innovations that lessen the fascinating characters of ancient tradition instead of truly bringing them to life.

I would have liked to see Thor's friendships in Asgaard better developed, instead of just presented for a few seconds, and some more development of the villain, who was so one-dimensional that he was actually a weak plot driver.

Anyway, it's worth watching, just not strong enough to be a 5-star as others in the Avengers series are.
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As the Marvel Universe continues to the expand, we return to Asgard with a new chapter in Thor's world. While it is not a perfect sequel, it is definitely a step up from Iron Man 3.

In this film we see the aftermath of what The Avengers film has labeled 'New York' (The battle of New York) as Loki is imprisoned. At the same time the Thor mythos is expanded for fans of the film who had never read the comic books . The fans are introduced to Malaketh and the dark elves and a lot more character development with characters such as Odin Frigga and the Warriors Three. There is also an expansion on the love story between Thor and Jane, and if there is one thing that the Marvel films have done well it is the importance of romance. Once again, like the first, the story is driven by comedy with great one liners and a few very well executed surprises. This film however, is by no means perfect as the major failure is the a weak development on Malaketh. The acting choice is wise, but there is no story behind him and a villainous persona that holds no candle compared to Loki and because of that, you pretty much come into this film knowing that Thor is going to win and story is going to continue on. Yet in this film what makes it all worth while is the scene in between the credits, as the bigger and better story finally sheds a little of the mystery as well as an introduction to a very unusual character in the Marvel Universe.

Will there be a Thor 3, who knows. As of now Thor's world seems to be the one that is really being worked on and a lot of it is being developed on the show 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' Who knows what we will get, but for the time being let the story continue.
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on February 27, 2014
Thor: The Dark World is, without a doubt, an excellent sequel and picks up brilliantly from, and dramatically expands on, the original. From the acting, to the FX, to the soundtrack and everything in between and around, this film delivers. Performances by all were great. Chris Hemsworth is an outstanding Thor. Tom Hiddleston fabulously portrays Thor's conniving adopted brother, Loki. Natalie Portman plays a very convincing love interest as Dr Foster. The rival for Thor's attention, Sif, comes via a marvelous Jaimie Alexander. (I do wish there had been more tension between those two, as there were times that could have occurred but did not really come across.) Of course, Anthony Hopkins as Odin is superb. And you just have to love Frigga, the outstanding Rene Russo. Others, as well, did very admirable jobs in their roles. The villains were good but Malekith might have been a bit more evil. Visual and sound (DTS-HD Hi Res Audio) on the Blu-ray is out-of-this-world. The special effects were beyond great in many cases, picking up from the first film and upping the Ante. The mix of science fiction and fantasy and magic is a difficult feat to master, but it is handled in such a way as you just accept that that is the way it is...and fly with it. Many of the battles are epic in scope and deliver the intended results in terms of impact to the viewer. Overall, this is a fantastic movie. My only gripe is not with the film, but the offering. I would have preferred Blu-ray and DVD (with digital download) rather than 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray and digital, but that is not offered. If you are a fan of Thor and/or the Marvel Universe, do not hesitate, buy it. If you are unsure, get it anyway, Thor: The Dark World is excellent.
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