This weekend I went to see the much-anticipated sequel to Thor (2011), dir. Kenneth Branagh, excited to see the aftermath of Loki’s power-grabbing rampage as depicted in The Avengers. While the first film had a Shakespearean storyline juxtaposed with a sci-fi plot due to Kenneth Branagh’s influence, the second film, Thor: The Dark World, follows the classic “end of the entire universe” plot, where the Dark Elves plot to return the universe to its original state of darkness and pure primordial unity.
When the nine realms begin to re-align for the first time in 5 thousand years, the world is in peril of the unleashing of the Ether, an ancient, powerfully destructive force that would undo all of creation. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) investigates physical anomalies in an abandoned warehouse in London, unwittingly coming into contact with the Ether, and becoming host to the parasitic force. The lines between the nine realms become blurred as the alignment progresses, leaving Thor with little time to save the world, as well as the woman he loves. He is left with no choice but to rally his friends (a loyal, fierce bunch including the remarkable female warrior Sif) and take Loki out of prison to thwart their father Odin. The antics of Loki keep the audience on their toes, constantly seeming to be on the brink of committing some heinous breach of trust.
The distinctive acting styles of a cast peppered with Academy Award winners (Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins), and much loved actors (Tom Hiddleston, Chris Hemsworth and Christopher Eccleston) made this movie a rich, multi-toned experience. Fans will be glad to know that Kat Dennings’ hilarious moments occur far more frequently in the sequel, but other comedic parts pale in comparison to Stellan Skargard’s spectacular introduction as Dr. Selvig: running from police naked at Stonehenge, taking readings from a strange scientific contraption. The central relationship in the film, the brotherhood of Thor and Loki, also makes for some achingly sweet but mischievous banter between the two.
Thor: The Dark World is a solid 2 hours of fast-paced entertainment, filled with unrelenting one-liners and funny reveals, as well as tense drama within Thor’s family. Odin is even more reprehensible and antagonistic in this film, but at least he doesn’t go into his convenient Odinsleep at the first sign of trouble. Fans of the Marvel universe are sure to be entertained, with the added bonus of cameos by Stan Lee, as usual, and a very important character whom shall remained unnamed. While the plot of the film feels meandering and not entirely connected to the appeal of this film, there is enough emotional and referential substance to enthrall audiences during the entire experience.