Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Christopher Eccleston
Yeah, I was going to go see this. Never any doubt. I can count on one hand the Marvel movies I haven’t seen in the cinema (I’ll let you guess in the comments which ones they are). But how high were my expectations for Thor: The Dark World? To be honest, not very high. While I enjoyed the initial Thor outing, I thought it was a bit under-done and needed more time to develop its story. And while I love Christopher Eccleston, he didn’t exactly set the world on fire playing the bad guy in G.I.Joe. On top of that, I had successfully managed to avoid seeing a single trailer for this movie, which is a pretty big achievement these days. So I’m sitting in the cinema, very little idea what to expect, just a small flickering flame of hope in my belly. Enough already Joel – tell us what you thought!
I loved it.
I know I probably say this after every Marvel movie, but Thor: The Dark World has got to be one of my favourites so far. The special effects are grand, the action epic, and the dialogue witty. What more can you ask?
After the events of The Avengers, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Norse God of Thunder, has been bringing order to the Nine Worlds. But as a rare astronomical event draws near, an ancient evil resurfaces, looking to plunge all of creation into eternal darkness. It’s up to Thor, alongside his human love interest Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and his treacherous brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to save the day. The advantage Dark World has over the first Thor movie is that most of the action takes place not on Earth but in Asgard. The city of the Asgardians has received a significant face-lift for this movie and it’s for the better. We get to see “gods” at war in a city that looks like it belongs in an epic fantasy tale. And that’s what this movie is – a fantasy tale with only the briefest touches of the superhero genre. With all the superhero movies flooding our screens, it’s good to see a movie that isn’t treading the exact same ground over and over again. I don’t want to see another origin story. I don’t want to see Joseph Campbell’s Hero With a Thousand Faces played out with spandex again. Comic books, even superhero comic books, have so much more to offer us, and I’m glad Thor: The Dark World has taken the hint and run with it.
Thor: The Dark World is what would happen if Star Wars and Lord of the Rings had a baby and dressed it up in a superhero costume for Halloween. In fact, the Star Wars prequels wish they could be this movie. We have legendary figures whose actions have repercussions that are felt for centuries and across many worlds. Super advanced technology that looks like magic (a scene where Jane Foster is examining a piece of Asgardian technology and gets her science geek on is a fun example). CGI environments that look like a painting you want to visit. A generational conflict between a father and his two sons. Armies going to war. And a small group of Earth bound scientists trying to comprehend what’s going on while trying to stop the Dark Elf army from destroying everything. If any of those things sound like a good movie to you, then you’ll love Thor: The Dark World.
Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) is leader of the Dark Elves. His plan is to use an ancient weapon (The Aether, which you can be guaranteed will show up in a later Marvel movie) to plunge all of creation into darkness. Now that’s an evil intent if I ever heard one. The Dark Elves are just plain old uncomplicated bad guys and their darkness must be fought. The darkness as imagery for evil is old as it comes. And the Bible uses this imagery to also talk about evil.
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. (John 3:19-21)
Jesus – the light – has come into our world to rescue us from darkness. As Christians, we should reject the darkness and everything it stands for. Instead of the darkness, we should live in the light. The Dark World has tried to distance their Asgardians, calling them aliens rather than gods. And that’s a good thing, because we wouldn’t want that to get in the way of the fact that Thor is a man who seeks to save people from the darkness. He is a heroic figure. But true darkness is not something that can be defeated with a big hammer. It needs God himself – the real deal, not a comic book version – to come into the world and save us. And that’s what Jesus did on the cross.
I had a lot of fun watching Thor: The Dark World. If you enjoy big special effects action movies, there’s a lot to love in this movie. Two pieces of advice though. Firstly, this one’s a little bloodier than previous Marvel movies. For example, in one scene you see someone’s hand cut off. There isn’t blood spurting everywhere but might still be a bit too graphic for younger viewers. Secondly, stay to the end of the credits. There is both a mid-credit scene (setting up the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film) and a post-credit scene which ends the movie nicely. All in all, Thor: The Dark World was a great experience and I can’t wait until the next Marvel movie – Captain America: The Winter Soldier.