The Marvel Cinematic Universe: Thor: The Dark World (2013)

| April 13, 2019

For better or worse, a generation is now growing up with the movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and whatever that says about the direction of Western Civilization will be left to history depending largely on who writes it.  Avengers: Endgame brings the hammer down on this series on April 27th, so for the next few weeks I am going to take a look back at the films that have built a massive phenomenon.  Are they any good?  Let’s take a look . . .

Image result for Thor the dark world

If you peel back the expensive multi-million dollar production values and visual effects of Thor: The Dark World then you might agree that it is the most expensive B-movie ever made.  I mean that as a compliment.  Watching the movie again, I was reminded of those cheap sword and sandal epics from the 60s starring Steve Reeves and bearing titles like “Hercules Unchained” and “Colossus and the Headhunters.”  All that is missing would be Sandahl Bergman in a brass brassiere, a horde of ax-wielding cave-dwellers and at least one gratuitous nude bathing scene.  I guess you can’t have everything.

But above everything else, Thor: The Dark World is refreshingly fun.  This coming off of the previous Thor movie that was dull as dishwater because no one involved in its production seemed to have any idea how to approach this character.  The massive improvement here is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously.  There’s a jokey and light tone to the proceedings and less like a dirge in a formal dress.  Chris Hemsworth has, by this point, relaxed into the role and Tom Hiddleston who plays Loki has found the joke under the character.

The story?  Who could care?  It’s so thin that you could spell it out on the back of a matchbook: Asgard has experienced generations of peace but now finds itself threatened by an endangered species of dark elves who want to harness the power of a substance called Aether (pronounced ether) which will plunge the Nine Kingdoms into darkness.  The elves are led by a malevolent dullard named Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) who speaks in flat, threatening phrases (“Your bravery will not ease your pain.  Your family, your world will be extinguished!”)  He has a heavy-sloped evil-guy forehead that makes him look like something left over from “The Lord of the Rings.”

Strangely enough, I find that Thor: The Dark World doesn’t have many fans.  Talking to people lately, I have found that it makes their list of the least impressive of this MCU cannon.  Truthfully, I’m not sure why.  Yes, the plot is stale and the villains are so wooden that they have splinters.  But it is fun and not so damned serious.  It is reminiscent of the old Hercules movies in its spirit and its cheapness.  I think Bert I. Gordon would have approved.  The spirit of American International pictures is alive and well here, with a bigger budget, of course.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.