Since we are now in Phase Two of Marvel’s big storyline plans, we left all the origin stories of all the main characters behind us and can now concentrate on their developments. From all the hero introduction movies Thor always felt a little flat in comparison to Ironman or Captain America. The first Thor movie was saved by its nice choice of actors and a nice chemistry between Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). Oh yes… and the introduction of Loki (Tom Hiddleston)! I love that guy. He was my reason to go and spend money to see Thor – The Dark Kingdom on the big screen. Was it worth it?
Time has passed since the events of The Avengers. Asgard is having problems maintaining the kingdom and keeping it stable. Thor and his friends are on mission to restore order. In the mean time Loki is back in Asgard as well. But imprisoned and not having a too nice time. We get a lot of exposition scenes explaining some history and events that happened to Odin’s father. A huge war fought over some strange substance called the ‘Aether’. Now Odin’s father Bor fought a huge war against the Dark Elves and their leader Malekith, who is after the Aether. He who posses it is able to gain a power that could destroy… I don’t know… I guess galaxies. Bor wins the battle, drives Malekith and his horde away and hides the Aether. Thousands of years later it’s found again. Now I understand that you have to follow certain routes to drive your storytelling and what they did in the film to me felt good and bad at the same time. It works how they explain it in context of the story. But I, at the same time, thought that they made it way too easy. Coincidence plays a far too big role. But hey… for movies like this one you kinda have to suspend disbelief. So I had to force myself to shutdown my brain. Long story short, Jane Foster finds the Aether and the weird thing that the Aether is… it melds with Jane. Thor finds out that something is wrong and returns to Earth. He’s still in love with Jane but for the last two years he never came back. So it’s a nice reunion moment. In the meantime Malekith plans his attack on Asgard after Thor brought Jane there to keep her safe and to find out how to remove the Aether from her. That’s the middle part of the movie, where we see all the Asgard stuff we didn’t get (but wanted) from the first film. Soon enough comes the attack from Malekith and we get the action into the movie as well. Yes, Loki is there to play his role too.
This movie takes all the good elements of the first movie and expands on them. That is, for the most part, very well done. Then we have Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) who kind of is a fan darling for some reason. She is a nice character and a good comic relief but they overdid her in this movie from my point of view. There were a couple of moments where I thought “naw, that joke wasn’t needed right there”. Other parts they expanded and did really well were, like mentioned before, the Asgard bits. We got to see much more of the city, this world and how it’s structured. That, along with the design elements, was something that held my interest up throughout the movie. The fight scenes were overall well done too. Shakycam was an issue but it was still tolerable. I never lost sight of what’s going on or who punched or beat who at what moment in the scene.
The costume design is still a little goofy and after two films I still don’t know what to think of it. On a certain level it does work and then there are moments where your brain refuses to shutdown and you see some of the costumes for what they are. Shiny, flashy, rainbow colored kind of kids… costumes. It’s weird. Yes, I know… Asgard is supposed to be that almighty shiny god land but I’m a fan of worn out gritty looks. So yes, the costumes in the movie kind of work and kind of don’t work at the same time. It’s strange. The other design elements looks cool and I enjoyed the look of the worlds they created for the film. As usual pretty good VFX work. There are these one or two slow motion scenes where Natalie Portman melds with the Aether, is in a kind of dream state and floating in the air… these shots were just beautiful to look at.
Overall the film does a great job. The acting is good and the chemistry works. Sometimes the comedic elements take a little overhand but overall it’s also the comedy that makes the movie very entertaining. The 3d, compared to the first one, was much better and some of the battle scenes took nice advantage of the effect. Did I mention that I love Loki?