While Thor Ragnarok debuted to nearly universal fan acclaim, it can be difficult to remember Thor’s first sequel, Thor The Dark World, well, at all. Let’s look back at this very much forgotten Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) entry and if it should remain in the dark shadows of Marvel history.
Thor The Dark World is aptly named, as darkness is the operative word through the entire movie. We get to see the return of beloved Avenger Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and of course our favourite god of mischief Loki (Tom Hiddleston). The lighting of the entire movie makes even the fans with the best eyesight squint to see them in all their glory.
There’s also still nothing for Thor’s love interest Jane (Natalie Portman) to do in this movie. It’s still interesting to think about what her role will be in Thor Love and Thunder will be and if they will actually use the talent of someone with Portman’s caliber to its full potential and actually give fans a character that we can sympathize with and root for. I can’t even talk about robbed the legend Idris Elba was in this movie, somehow it’s still too soon.
In many ways, Thor The Dark World captures the worst aspects of what Marvel movies have to offer. For instance, there are so many jarring transitions from emotional moments to comic relief. This is among the weakest points of the MCU, and whenever it happens, it just undercuts the emotional beat of the story, and really takes away from any development supposed to be made. The audience doesn’t get a chance to sit with the emotion being shown, and it cheapens future emotional moments Marvel tries to portray.
The faceless, unsympathetic villains also made no sense in this movie. They were among the most egregious, with no real motive, and carbon copies of each other. The darkness of this movie was most evident any time these characters were shown, and even the most high definition screens yield a bleak and dreary landscape filled with villains with about as much colour. The “ether” is such a bizarre plot device used throughout that makes no sense and even less impact.
Thor The Dark World also made use of the dead mother trope, in the worst possible way. Rene Russo as Frigga was done so dirty in this movie, and a mother as epic as this character didn’t deserve any of this. Do we really need to keep seeing this trope, a hero having a dead parent (almost always the mother), motivating them to continue to be heroic? It’s such a tired plot device that completely removes the agency of characters who are mothers, and it’s long past time it was retired.
Thor the Dark World continued Marvel’s frivolous relationships with consequences. In this case, we saw yet another Loki death, only for it to be immediately revealed that he was very much alive by the movie’s end. Every time we see Loki die on screen, it becomes less impactful, and we just know we’re going to see him again, even to the point of seeing him in his own TV show. (looking at you Avengers Infinity War).
If there was anything redeeming about Thor The Dark World, Chris Evans’ cameo was one of the best in the MCU. Watching Chris Evans imitate Tom Hiddleston imitate Chris Evans as Captain America was absolutely incredible, and a testament to what an incredible talent this man really is. The MCU has so many cameos, but this one was special.
Thor The Dark World really was a good summary of why people who don’t like Marvel movies don’t like Marvel movies. It was a nearly per Although the events of Avengers Endgame *kind of* fixed the events of this movie, it’s still clear that this movie belongs squarely in Marvel’s bottom tier.
Thor The Dark World is currently available to stream on Disney+.