Avengers: Endgame is just around the corner, and we’re continuing our journey through the films of the MCU with a look at Thor: The Dark World.
The second Thor film is often considered one of the worst films of the MCU, and for good reason. The film constantly struggles to decide exactly what it wants to be, and once again is saved solely by Loki. Every single other aspect of the film is weak, or destroys anything that’s been established previously in the world of Thor. There isn’t an aspect of the film that really builds on to anything significantly. The film undoes the few good elements of the first Thor, and the first half of the film is a complete drag.
The film does benefit from some more comedic moments throughout. But none of those moments make the film as enjoyable as any of the other MCU films. The greatest joys from the film reside completely in Loki and his usual playful banter with other characters. Whenever he’s not involved in the story, everything slows down and feels convoluted and boring. Even the villains are forgettable. They barely have any screen time, and when they do, there’s no reason to care about it at all. The most interesting moment with Malekith and the Dark Elves is when Thor strikes Malekith’s face with a bolt of lightning, and half of his face is burned.
Another major disappointment with the film is the way in which it uses Odin. In the first film, Odin is clearly a wise leader, who has done his best to raise two Kings in Thor and Loki. He clearly loves his two sons and wants peace in the nine realms. He’s someone we can enjoy and love. This film throws every bit of that out the window. Every time he’s on screen consists of him telling Thor he’s wrong, and acting as stupid as Thor did in the first film. There’s no reason at all to enjoy this character. There’s no reason at all to love him. The only time he’s slightly redeemable is when Loki is pretending to be Odin at the end of the film.
The film also does little to gain any interest in Jane Foster or the relationship between her and Thor. There’s still no real reason for them to connect. There’s still no real reason to care about her. She’s used as a tool, or for Thor to ogle at. All of which is a damn shame given the talent of Natalie Portman. The film doesn’t even bother to expand on the fact that she’s one of the world’s leading astrophysicists. It’s her intern Darcy, and Darcy’s intern Ian, who are able to make any real developments on Earth before Jane heads to Asgard with Thor.
Again, the main thing that makes this film work is Loki. He’s constantly a joy to watch on screen. More depth is added to his character as we see him mourn his mother Frigga, after she’s killed by Malekith. He gets a turn to play the good guy as he works with Thor to take down the Dark Elves. His death on the Dark World, is heartbreaking- even if it is undone before the credits roll. Thor barely has half as many great moments in this film, and it’s his name on the marquee. The only disappointment when it comes to Loki is the fact that he doesn’t get as much screen time as he deserves. I’ll admit, I’ve never been obsessed with Loki like some fans are, but after two disappointing Thor films, and his fantastic role in The Avengers, it all makes sense. Loki is the true hero of this franchise thus far. Luckily, Thor will get his time to shine before his story is done.