With each and every movie the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to build steam and create a truly masterful film universe. Thor: The Dark World, the official sequel to 2011’s Thor and a semi-sequel to The Avengers film, has expanded the MCU into much greater territory and the studio should be commended for being so ambitious.To its credit the Thor sequel is not an Easter egg farm and stands very well on its own. Much of the criticism of the movie so far seems to come from critics unfamiliar with the not just the series but the Marvel Universe in general. The truth is that at this point in the game if you’re not already familiar with the movies there is really no need for the movie to spend at least 10 minutes explaining it all to you.
Marvel Studios respects its audience enough not to speak down to them and repeat an origin story where none is needed. This is something DC Studios could learn a lot from as they build their own cinematic universe. Despite having an introduction very much like its predecessor the second, Thor makes a valiant effort in expanding the scope of the world it is working within. While not all nine realms are seen enough of them are there and overlap on a regular basis to make it seem like a fully functioning reality. Director Alan Taylor has brought his expertise from Game of Thrones to make the fantastic truly believable, especially in the Asgardian scenes.
One of the biggest fears for fans was hearing that the entire original cast had returned. Typically this is a good thing for most sequels but in comic book movies it can seriously slow down the plot as characters are shoe horned into the story unnecessarily. Not only is Natalie Portman’s character Jane Foster back in the mix but this time she is an essential part of the plot and truly needs to be there.
The same can’t be said for Darcy (Kat Denning) who was brought back purely for comic relief. Thankfully she is used sparingly. One of the only downsides to being so comfortable within the universe that has been created is that the main plot seems to get lost in the mix. Basically, the ruler of the Dark Elves (Christopher Eccelson) wishes to bring the universe and all its realms back into darkness. In order to do that he must wait until the realms are in alignment and then release a dark force through it to black out everything. Strangely the villain itself ends up taking a backseat for most of the movie and, despite being very powerful, only shows up to do damage. He is by far the weakest character of the plot but still packs a punch thanks to the wonderful Eccelson who brings weight to every line.
The movie itself bridges a lot of gaps in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and introduces characters that are sure to pop up throughout other movies for years to come. Taken as a standalone film the sequel has enough star power and creativity to hold up as a cinematic gem among new and old fans alike.
Thor: The Dark World opens nationwide November 8th. Watch the trailer here.