Published on April 23rd, 2015 | by Duke Of Havoc0
MCU Retrospective Review – Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Year of Release: 2013
Film Number: 8
Budget: $170 million
Box Office Takings: $644.8 million
Director: Alan Taylor
Written By: Christopher Yoast, Christoper Markus and Stephen McFeely
We Are Thor Too
Thor: The Dark World, in this reviewer’s opinion (which isn’t worth much to be honest) is probably one of the most non-entities in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not sure if that makes sense but when you break it down, it is a pretty pointless film when you have this massive shared universe.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a perfectly serviceable film but what impact does it have on the Marvel universe at large? What does it do to further the MCU narrative? What consequences do we see for our heroes and the general populous of the realm at large? Let’s take a look at the plot.
Back in the early days of the universe, before the reign of
Hannibal Lecter Odin, a rather pissed off Dark Elf (are there Light Elves?) called Malekith, who was born and raised in Liverpool, wanted to destroy the universe with his red gas/floaty stuff weapon of death known as The Aether. Better known to you and I as (mostly likely) the Reality Gem. Malekith seems to have his own version of the Super Solider Program and has a ton of overly powered warriors known as the Kursed. This doesn’t stop the forces of good from prevailing and Odin’s papi Bor hands Malekith’s army a six pack of whoop-ass and seals the Aether in some alternative realm/dimension. As is tradition with most movie villains, Malekith escapes with some of his cronies and ends up being frozen in time (hmmm another similarity with Captain America) where the eons pass by until present day.
Set shortly after the event of The Avengers, Loki is back in Asgard and Odin decides to punish his adopted/stolen son for crimes against Earth (well, technically a small portion of New York really). He is imprisoned in a rather spacious cell with rather lovely lightning and left to dwell on his crimes against humanity (read as: New Yorkers).
We finally get to see our hero in all his beardy and longhaired goodness fighting alongside The Warrior Three and Sif on another planet which is very well put together. Unsurprising, when you consider the director is Alan Taylor, who made his name in TV and has helmed 6 episodes of Game Of Thrones. Also included in his CV are shows like Lost, Mad Men, The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire. A list that is very hard to turn your nose up at. Anyway, our heroes discover that mystical event is about to take place which will see portals opening all over the nine realms and cause a bit of trouble for the locals. Funnily enough, this event is known as Convergence, the name for the huge DC crossover which is currently in full swing. Do DC or Warner Bros. never learn?
In jolly old London, we see Thor’s ladyfriend and her sarky intern, Darcy go traipsing around some dodgy abandoned warehouses in seach of the aforementioned portals because Dr Foster is rather clever and has some badass theories about what is going on. Some rather wooden young actors show them that physics has all gone a bit tits up and before you can say “McGuffin”, the Doc is transported to a mythic yet highly convenient other dimension/place where Thor’s Grandpappy put the Aether. Thor has been keeping an ever so creepy watch on Jane via the all-seeing Hiemdall (you know, the bloke that racists campaigned against on social media because fictional characters can’t be black) and rushes to Earth when Big H tells him that he can no longer see her – Holy Damsel in distress!
Jane was clearly never raised to not touch stuff she doesn’t understand and ends up being infected/poisoned by the Aether which gives our hero a mission for the film. Hurray! Being a man of honour and such stuff, he rushes her back to his Mum and Dad’s gaff where medical science has reached Star Trek like levels of awesomeness. Odin being the wise bloke he is declares her utterly fucked and that the Aether will end her and the universe as it means the guy his Daddy kicked into touch will be coming back and has had eons in suspended animation to plot his revenge.
Wasting no time, Malekith decides against visiting Merseyside and heads off to Asgard to royally fuck up the pompous gits who ended his campaign to end the universe. Apparently it is easier to invade Asgard than we have previously imagined and using a bit of cloak technology, Malekith along with a new Kursed Elf (previously Algrim) who is now called Kursed to keep things simple, and a bunch of masked Elves who sole purpose is to fill the screen and end up as fodder for Thor’s hammer.
As I write this, it is worth mentioning that we do actually have something of worth happening, which has been sorely lacking in the MCU. We have someone die who actually fucking stays dead. It is a trope that is becoming very boring within the 10 films of the MCU and many articles online discuss how we need to see main characters killed off otherwise there is no consequence, no drama or progression. We end up going through the motions of “Oh no, they’re dead…..oh. Wait. It was all a ruse. Yay. The heroes win with no losses. Again.” Later on we even see it happen with arguably the most popular villain of modern times. They just don’t like killing off the big names at Disney. However, a lesser name is acceptable. Frigga, Queen of Asgard is killed by the Dark Elves which sends Loki over the edge. Regardless of his actions, he sure is a Mummy’s boy and wants revenge. Thor enlists his help and we get one of the funniest scenes in the entire MCU play out featuring a great cameo from Captain America himself, channelled through Loki.
We get a bit of action on Return Of The Jedi sand-speeders and Loki shows Thor his secret passage out of Asgard as they go on their quest to avenger their Mother and get Dr Foster cured. We get some fighting which sees Loki play the aforementioned dead-not-dead card and Thor, with a now Aether-free jane bugger off to Greenwich via another very convenient portal. This ends up being the exact centre of the universe where DC’s Convergence is happening and Malekith rocks up with the Aether to end the universe and return him and his lot to power. We then get a bit of a draw out fight scene which sees Meow-Meow get all discombobulated as it trying to find Thor and he and Malekith fall between worlds as they fight to the death. Instead of having our hero cave in Malekith’s head, Thor gets his science on and with the help of Jane, Darcy and a recently released Dr Selvig (who was institutionalized after his role in The Avengers) , they transport Malektih and his ship to another planet which ends in said ship squishing said Dark Elf. Another Marvel villain bites the dust.
The final scene plays out exactly as most predicted as it was bloody obvious that Loki hadn’t died earlier, and he is left grinning on the throne, ready for Raknarok.
The mid-credit stinger certainly caused a bit of a stir as we get our first look at the Marvel Cosmic Universe. Volstagg of the Warriors Three and Sif visit a rather bizarre Zoo of sorts and a man in all white, who we come to know as The Collector, takes the Aether off of them and rather nefariously remarks “one down, five to go”. With this, we most definitely see the pieces of a universe-spanning jigsaw start to fall into place. Something confirmed when Marvel announced The Infinity War two-parter at the end of the decade.
The very lend stinger is all rather soppy as Thor finally gets to snog Jane and then we see a cat-like monster causing havoc back at the abandoned warehouses where our adventure with Jane started.
As I said at the start, the film is enjoyable and holds it’s own. We get some good fight sequences and Loki continues to steal the show and the hearts of every Tumblr user, ever. However, the main villain is another paint by the numbers who is just there to make our hero look badass and ends up dead. No fuss, no muss. I will correct my comment about it having no affect on the MCU as a whole. Loki now sits on the Asgardian throne which will obviously play a part in Ragnarok and the handing over of The Aether to The Collector means it is up for grabs and can fit nicely onto a nice glove…..