Marvel Takes the MCU to Another Level with ‘Thor: The Dark World’
Disclaimer: I’ve had a few drinks and I just finished rebuilding the site, so this post may ramble on a lot longer than it should. Feel free to make fun of me in the comments.
This past Thursday night the wife and I saw Thor: The Dark World after months of anticipation. Unlike a lot (seemingly) of my fellow Marvel movie buffs, I really really like the first Thor. Compared to an Iron Man or a Captain America, Thor and the concept of the nine realms was the trickiest thing Marvel had to try and introduce to the general movie-going crowd, and I feel like they handled it very well. Fast forward a couple years, and in my opinion, the sequel takes the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe to another level. I loved it, and it just makes me more excited for the expansion of the MCU.
The Slow Build
When you look at the MCU starting form Iron Man in 2008, you can start to realize the genius behind their whole strategy. They started with concepts that weren’t that hard to buy into. Tony Stark is a brilliant dude, he builds a suit that lets him become a superhero. I can buy that. Then they threw in that post-credits scene with Nick Fury and set this years-long expansion in motion.
Unlike Iron Man 2 and The Incredible Hulk, Thor had to work in order to set up The Avengers. Whether or not you like the first Thor film as much as I do, you have to admit that they succeeded in selling the concept. People love Loki. People get that there are different realms, that Thor and his Asgardian bros aren’t gods, but more like aliens. This let us believe in the power of the Cosmic Cube that the Red Skull harnesses in Captain America, and the madness that Loki unleashes in The Avengers. Smart guy in metal suit to full-scale alien invasion in just four years. That’s impressive.
That brings me to Thor: The Dark World. While I feel like the first film did a great job of setting everything up, I was still disappointed in the amount of screen time that Asgard and the other realms got. It was mainly an Earth-based movie. This one is the opposite.
The Nine Realms
The Dark World is on a much more epic scale than the first film. The villain, Malekith the Dark Elf, is ancient and seeks to pretty much destroy the universe. Unfortunately, Malekith doesn’t get fleshed out very much at all in the film, and comes across as pretty boring. Even with that, I found this movie to be insanely entertaining. The world of Asgard in this film has a much more prominent blend of Sci-fi and fantasy, and the action and sense of adventure are awesome, as is the relationship between Thor and Loki.
Loki is locked up in an Asgardian dungeon for his actions in The Avengers, but something (I won’t spoil it) brings him and Thor together to battle Malekith. Seeing them awkwardly work together was great fun, and there were some really good scenes between those two characters. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is a rare example of a supporting character that could actually carry his own movie. I would totally watch a solo Loki movie. Luckily, even though the character probably won’t appear again until Thor 3, it doesn’t sound like Tom Hiddleston is as close to exiting the MCU as say, Robert Downey Jr. is.
Besides this movie just being fun, the mid-credits scene makes it insanely clear that Marvel isn’t messing around, and that they are playing a very long, smart game with these movies. Spoiler: It’s a character from August’s Guardians of the Galaxy and it involves the Infinity Stones (gems in the comics), but not in a coy or fan-service way. It is very clear that the Infinity Gauntlet is happening, and that Thanos is going to be a big deal in the next few years leading up to the third Avengers film. That’s awesome.
Back to Thor 2 though. I didn’t love every part of the movie, just like I don’t love every MCU film. Hell, I haven’t even seen Iron Man 2 because I felt like I saw the whole movie in trailers, and I heard it wasn’t that great. I thought Iron Man 3 was just ok, but I couldn’t buy into Extremis. Thor 2 was fun though, and I could watch many more movies set in the Nine Realms.
All in all, Thor: The Dark World left me pumped up for Captain America: The Winter Solider and Guardians of the Galaxy, and that’s not a bad thing.