Hammer Time!Thor: the Dark World is the eighth instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the third film to feature the character. Despite this, Marvel Studios are currently showing no signs of stopping any time soon. Almost all the films in the series thus far have been of a very high quality, and Thor: the Dark World is certainly no exception.
The film is set in the present day, meaning that it takes place about a year and a half after The Avengers and two years after the first Thor film. The picture begins with an ancient battle between the armies of Asgard and our main villain, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) over a force called the Aether. With this Malekith planned to return the universe to a state of darkness, over which he can rule. However Malekith was defeated and the Aether was sealed away. Now, in the present day, Malekith has returned to claim the Aether once again which becomes stuck in the body of Thor's earthling love interest, Jane. Obviously this is a job for Thor!
The film takes itself seriously but there's also plenty of comic relief to balance the darkness. This is, of course, a good thing but at times I felt that it was a little bit overdone. For example, one particularly dark scene is followed by a joke on the subject just a few minutes later, robbing the scene of some of it's drama and impact. The majority of the jokes are still funny, but I think that the film would have benefited from fewer of these moments.
As is to be expected with these films, the cast all put in great performances, particularly Thor's brother/arch enemy Loki (Tom Hiddleston ) who is as menacing as ever despite turning over a new leaf to aid Thor. However, Malekith himself isn't very interesting and doesn't come across as a major threat to Thor. He's not a bad character but he's certainly not as memorable as Loki. I think the film would have benefited more from some more conflict between Thor and the villain. Chris Hemsworth is as fantastic as ever in the lead role and particularly inpresses when sharing the screen with Hiddleston as the two actors show a lot of chemistry together.
The film is absolutely phenomenal on the visual front, with the scenery, costumes and special effects all impressing me throughout. Asgard in particular is a fantastic work of computer animation and the wide angle shots of the city were something I stared in awe at whenever it was on screen. I didn't see the film in 3D but I couldn't help thinking that it would have looked even better when viewed in that format.
I would go as far as to say that this film was as good as the first Thor film and is a must watch for all Marvel fans, even if, like me you don't have much experience with the character.
Oh, and if you are a Marvel buff, there's something very special for the initial post credits sequence! Honestly; it's not an Iron Man 3 style cop out, this one actually leads somewhere!
Agree/disagree? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet me @danj_101