It was always the intention of the Thor series to be Marvel’s “fantasy epic” and this was confirmed with Game of Thrones’ director Alan Taylor stepping in for Kenneth Branagh. The sequel should have been darker and grittier – almost medieval – but instead feels like a cheap blend of both Lord of the Rings and Star Wars (The Phantom Menace to be specific).
Seriously, why were there laser bazookas in a sword fight?
Considering there is so much source material available, it’s a shame this story felt so bland and “been there before”. What’s worse is that the relationships between main characters hardly developed at all. Their exchanges are basically continuations from the first film instead of lifting dynamics to a new and deeper level.
This is the first time Marvel Studios has really “played it safe” when they were so good at doing everything DC films were not.
In fact, apart from the mid-credit sequence, Thor: The Dark World could have never happened and the Marvel Universe would have carried on just fine. It’s actually pretty sad that halfway through this, the only thing I did care about was getting to the credits.
The worst part is that it wouldn’t have taken much to make this film a hell of a lot better. The filmmakers just needed to explain a few things better, make the bad guys a bit more interesting and chuck out half the shit that didn’t matter – like everything that happened on Planet Earth.
The script didn’t make sense in a lot of places – specifically the climax where they used six metal rods to save the entire universe, without ever really explaining what they do. It was also a bit of a stretch that the first person to discover what the bad guys were looking for would also be the person to have previously had a love affair with the Asgardian prince.
But with all that being said, not all elements of the film were bad. Chris Hemsworth and Hiddleston have certainly developed into their characters and it’s hard not to fall in love every time Natalie Portman’s on screen. And supporting members like Jamie Alexander, Kat Dennings and Idris Elba are still fun to watch.
In the end, Thor: The Dark World is a disappointing release from Marvel Studios but hopefully it won’t slow their momentum. It’s not the worst film in the franchise (Iron Man 2), but it’s the first that’s really failed to do what it set out to do. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Captain America but I appreciated the nod to Indiana Jones and took it on board as an acceptable origin story.
This was Marvel’s first chance at a stand-alone space epic and instead of getting nerds excited, it has just forced us to approach Guardians of the Galaxy with extreme caution.