WHAT IS IT?
Thor: The Dark World (Thor:TDW) is the sequel to Thor (2011); the semi-sequel to Avengers Assemble (2012); and is the eighth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe! Thor:TDW reunites many of the cast members from the original film - including Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Tom Hiddleston as Loki and Natalie Portman as Jane Foster - and upon release continued Marvel Studio's success at the box office.
Picking up after the events of Avengers Assemble, Loki is being held captive on his home world of Asgard (for his crimes against Earth) whilst Thor continues to pine for Jane Foster, who he hasn't seen for two years. Meanwhile, the evil dark elf Malekith is plotting to align the Nine Realms through a mystical convergence... or something like that. Basically there's a lot of portals opening up, there's an evil bad guy and the fate of the entire universe hangs in the balance - cue dramatic music! Teaming up with Loki, Thor and Jane set out to stop Malekith, thus saving the day and uniting the realms!
WHAT WAS GOOD?
Thor: TDW was a great movie, and even more enjoyable than the first. Like with all good sequels, the film was able to move forward without having to be shouldered with too much back story (well almost), allowing the film to play to its strengths. Hemsworth also seemed even more confident on this outing (his third time as the God of Thunder) and uniting him with Loki was a brilliant move.
Thor: TDW was as much Loki's movie as it was Thor's, even if the mischievous god was given such little screen time. Loki's ability to manipulate situations to serve his own purposes demonstrated that he really is the best villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and that he is STILL a genuine threat.
Additional highlights of Thor: TDW included:
Rene Russo's fiesty Frigga being given a chance to shine (even if it was all too brief)... Kat Dennings and Stellan Skarsgard providing always appreciated comic relief... and Thor's final showdown with Malekith.
The fact that the whole film felt kind of like a Star Wars movie (a much better Star Wars movie than Episodes I to III) was also a welcome treat, as was an Avenger cameo; Stan Lee's cameo; and the mid-credit and post-credit scenes.
WHAT WAS BAD?
Despite all its good points, the first half of Thor: TDW is a little slow in places and all the mythical/mystical mumbo-jumbo spouted by Anthony Hopkins' Odin did not help. Malekith was also a one-note villain, serving a purpose, but providing nothing more than basic bad guy duties. Although (and I may have already mentioned this) Loki was great in every scene he had, the film would have benefited from a stronger villain; one who was capable of standing on his own two feet as a credible threat with a personality! These were minor quibbles however and did not detract from what was one of Marvel Studio's strongest movies to date!
WHY PUSH THE BUTTON?
There is no reason to push the button. No reason at all. Thor: The Dark World is a whole lot of fun and another good move forward with Marvel's grand scheme of pretty much ruling the box office. The film worked as a perfect accompaniment to both Thor and Avengers Assemble and helped to set the scene for a much welcome third Thor movie.
So in the absence of button... take a look at a lovely picture of Thor and his hammer below! Ooooh... marvellous.