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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 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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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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on January 3, 2016
I love all Marvel movies that come out. While I can say I really enjoyed this movie it wasn't five stars to me. It wasn't bad by any means. It just felt a little dragged on at some points that could have been taken out. I love Jane, I do. But sometimes I feel like she needs to be doing much more as character when she's with Thor or she needs to be on Earth away from him. She didn't do much of anything important for me in this movie. If she had been more proactive and shown she was going to fight and stand off against the others it would have been very interested.

Thor doesn't want her hurt and I understand that but she needs to show she's just as strong as him even if she might not be.I can say that the ending had me very excited for Thor 3. The ending is what made me really enjoy it. With Loki, it will set up a whole bunch a craziness that will happen with Thor.
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on March 29, 2014
While it still mostly on par with the first THOR, this sequel feels bigger while also losing a lot of the human connection which made the previous one enjoyable. There are some fleeting moments of humor, but there's also a lot of gloom and doom. In THOR: THE DARK WORLD, Thor has to save the universe (Avengers anyone?) from Malekith and the Aether. Sure, there's some half-baked scientific explanation for all of it but the end result is a little disappointing. Malekith was a cool-looking villain, but not very engaging or charismatic. There were also a few too many narrative conveniences, a couple involving Loki's ability to impersonate other people. Nevertheless, it was entertaining and kind of what I've come to expect from Marvel. The acting is very good, as is the action and visual effects. I still don't buy Natalie Portman as a scientist, but oh well. This isn't Marvel's best, but Phase 2 is going pretty good so far. If you've liked Marvel's previous entries, you should like this one too.
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on October 29, 2016
Ok movie, the teens in the house liked it better then I. I prefer superhero movies that the whole family can watch. I thought the violence was too intense and relentless (even for a superhero movie). So while my 8 year old saw other superhero movies like spiderman and Guardians of the Galaxy we left this one off limits for the younger kids in the house and let the teens watch it after bed.

Also I have to say Thor is my least favorite marvel superhero. If you like Thor you will like this movie, but if you prefer other superhero's watch those first. But of the two Thor movies my teens had me watch I like this one less than the other one.
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on June 17, 2014
This is another big time winner in my book. The moments where you want to pump your first and say, "YES!" are all over this movie. Hero comes back and restarts relationship with pining girlfriend, YES! Great effects, check. Awesome villain and really nasty minions, Check. Lots of magically weapons, check. You get to see characters that are evolving into favorites, check. All the realms in dire straights, doom a certainty, check.

Bummer: People die that will be missed by all. Beloved characters murdered. And the righteous fury is now due.

But seriously, this is a better than average for Marvell. Iron man. Spider man. Superman. All have made a triumphant return to the big screen making us old geeks, not so geeky anymore. When I tell my 24 year old son that I was reading about Thor when I was twelve he just can't stand it. Sheesh, young people. They think they invented everything. But this Thor has, I have to admit, a whole load of 'More Awesome' than what I read when Led Zepplin was #1 on the charts.
And turns out to be one of my favorite Marvell heroes of all time. He, perhaps, makes the biggest "YES!" moment of the whole movie when he turns out to be a decent sort, in his own way; " don't trust me my rage!" That is perhaps one of the coolest phrases put in a Marvell.
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on March 6, 2015
I was a comic buff in my young days but THOR in my day was a little known hero. Thor comic books were flimsy, not much content, and was not as detailed illustrated like what we called the 'real' comic books, Superman, Batman, Spider-man for example. As pre junior high-schoolers we look at THOR when seeking a comic character to draw as the less details suited our artistic capabilities. Hence while I knew of the character, I knew little about the real story. After reading the many reviews about how this 2nd Thor movie really fleshes out the characters, and looking at the stated running time of just under 3 hours, I say here is my chance to get up to speed.

You see, this 2nd Thor movie is not yet offered for rental by streaming online, which is the only way I have time to view movies in between working on my New Store Business Project these days. Thinking myself a frugal spender I come up with a plan to get in all the recent Thor outings. I rented and watched THOR 1st movie. I rented and watched the Avengers, and I decided to shell out the extra bucks and purchased this 2nd THOR movie thinking well at least I will get 3 Hours worth of entertainment and updates on the THOR story.

Boy was I WRONG and DISAPPOINTED. Plain and simple, I felt CHEATED. First, the actual running time of the Movie is a measly 1 1/2 hours. The rest are trailers and studio plugs available free elsewhere. Secondly, there is nothing more to be learnt of THOR. So now I see why the THOR comic books of my day were flimsy. This 2nd movie is just some of the same from THOR and his same entourage from the 1st movie. I can't say more of the same cause it is less, this 2nd movie is way shorter than the 1st movie!

I gave it 3 stars yes because as far as the Producers, Directors, Writers and Actors go they all did pretty much as good a job as they did in the 1st movie - the writers and producers calling on the mythologies of that era and the sciences of today to provide content and the actors on their rather impressive talents to bring the movie to life. I see no exceptional difference as noted in the many other reviews, so if you want a little bit more of the same this will do.

I would give it 4 stars as a $2 online streaming rental, but at the $15 buy price for the SD version and the $20 asking price for the HD version I can't. I paid for the SD version and I feel really cheated. If Amazon was offering a Money Back Guarantee, I would apply for it and offer to pay $2-$3 for my viewing.
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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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