After starting out on quite the disappointing low-note with Iron Man 3, Marvel continued Phase Two with a sequel for the Norse God of Thunder, Thor. While Thor was the only hero I hadn't followed at all before these movies started coming out, I've enjoyed his last two times on screen, and was looking forward to a third helping here.
Review by Crispy
Added: April 28, 2014
In the beginning of the universe there was only Darkness, and in that Darkness lived the Dark Elves. After the formation of the Nine Realms, the Elves attempted to use the Aether, a powerful liquid that binds itself to a host and grants them unimaginable destructive powers, to plunge reality back into that Darkness. Fortunately for us, Odin's father led Asgardian forces into battle, wiping out the Dark Elves and sealing the Aether away. Unbeknownst to him, however, a small squadron of Dark Elves, led by Malekith, entered a suspended animation, waiting for the day when the Aether would be revealed. That's all ancient history though. In the present day, Thor hasn't had a chance to catch his breath. After rebuilding the Bifrost, Thor and the rest of the Asgardians have been busy quelling the warfare that has broken out in the other Realms without Odin's supervision. Even as they mount victory after victory, Thor just can't get his mind off of Jane Foster, constantly going to the all-seeing eye of Heimdall to see how she's doing. For her part, she's been dealing with the sadness of missing Thor, and has begun studying a series of unexplained phenomenon caused by the aligning of the Nine Realms. This Convergence has been opening portals between the Realm; Jane accidentally finds herself right outside the Aether's hiding place and the weapon quickly binds itself with her. Though she's able to make it back to Earth, her absence was all the motivation Thor needed to check on her personally and after seeing her use her new power, takes her back to Asgard for answers. Unfortunately, the reactivated Aether has awoken Malekith, who looks to finish the plan he started all those years ago.
While the first Thor had some nice action scenes, things were primarily driven by the interactions between the characters. All of that has pretty much been tossed out the window. The biggest problem is how Erik Selvig and Darcy Lewis were given so much screen time to act as comedic reliefs. Darcy wasn't that bad in the first movie. She had her quirky moments, got a few laughs, but her screen time was kept low enough that she didn't get annoying. This time she was flying off the rails. Then they had Selvig running around in his underwear half the time for no reason whatsoever. Unfortunately, this wasn't funny to anyone over the age of thirteen. Even main characters Thor and Jane weren't done any favors. Sure, their relationship is taken a step further, but it's pretty by the numbers. Even starting off a love triangle with Sif that are all the rage these days. Unlike the tertiary characters, they aren't a problem, but they aren't anything to write home about either. And then there's Loki. For the third time in a row, Tom Hiddleston is fucking amazing. The man is owning this character, and it's damned telling that the movie didn't really get off its feet until Loki steps back onto screen. As an added bonus, the events of The Dark World give the character a whole new direction to head down. He's the biggest thing I'm looking forward to in the future sequels.
With the characterization watered down, there was plenty of room to beef up the action, and beef it up they did. Unfortunately, I'll admit that there was one decision made that left quite a sour taste in my mouth. The thing that turned me off was how the Dark Elves were armed to the teeth with laser guns and space crafts. Seriously, when they stormed Asengard it looked like something straight out of Star Wars. I mean, this wouldn't even have been a problem if it was its brother franchise, Iron-Man, however, with Thor we're looking for that swords-and-sandals fantasy aesthetic. The Elves should have been dual-wielding some wicked looking swords, not firing lasers. All that aside, the fights come quick and heavy and the ones that leave the ray-guns at home were a lot of fun to watch. The final battle is definitely a treat, as Thor and Malechik battle through portals leading in and out of the Nine Realms.
It's a fun little flick, but it's certainly a step down from the first Thor movie. 5.5/10. Perhaps more importantly than anything this movie did for itself however, is the addition of a cog for the future Avengers movies. It's explained that the Aether, along with the Tesseract, is one of the Infinity Stones. It seems we're slowly building up to Thanos' reign of destruction with the powerful Infinity Gauntlet. I can't wait.