Thor: The Dark World

In Thor: The Dark World, the villain is Malekith, played by Christopher Eccleston.  He is the ruthless leader of the dark elves, a race that ruled the cosmos before the current arrangement of nine realms was established.  Their power was based on a substance called the aether which inhabits Malekith and allows his to destroy things.  His goal is to destroy the nine realms and bring back the darkness that will allow his people to become ascendant again.  Or something like that.  If you’re looking for a profoundly original plot, your search is not going to end here.  Thousands of years ago Odin’s (Anthony Hopkins) father defeated Malekith and, so everyone thought, completely eradicated the dark elves.  But Malekith escaped and is merely asleep. 

Thor’s love interest, Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman, finds the aether while investigating an anomaly similar to the one that originally brought Thor to Earth.  Two years have gone by since then, and he hasn’t contacted her, even when he was in New York saving the world in The Avengers.  The aether inhabits her but she is not strong enough to wield it or even keep it for long without getting sick.  Its discovery has also awakened the dark elves. 

Thor shows up and takes Jane to Asgard in order to protect her and to meet his family.  Neither of these things go very well.

I like the first Thor movie and I like this one, as well.  But they don’t work as well as Iron Man or Captain America and I think I may have glimpsed the reason.  Thor’s back story is very cosmic, very much removed from our world.  He comes from a high tech civilization that keeps its medieval trappings.  If you’re not a comic book or science fiction fan, you’re not going to understand that.  But even if you do there isn’t enough space in a movie to explain or fully develop this concept.  I know what’s going on but it just doesn’t feel real to me.  I suspect they’ll have the same problem with Guardians of the Galaxy.

Thor: The Dark World is a serviceable melodrama with great effects and good performances.  There are touches of humor here and there and it’s not too long.  It only seems like a letdown after The Avengers and the last Iron Man movie.

Given the way Marvel is producing these things it might help to look at it as an episode. 

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