Thor: The Dark World
Thor: The Dark World is the eighth instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – one that is sprawling ever wider. The difficulty, especially after the phenomenal success of The Avengers, is how the studio can keep hold of a coherent cluster of characters, stories and films while coming up with new and increasingly exciting ways to put the world in danger. This film succeeds. It follows a very similar plot to Thor: the evil king of one of the Nine Realms, thought to have been defeated, returns to threaten Asgard and earth with a very powerful weapon. Thor intervenes.
Director Alan Taylor was keen to give this sequel more of a Viking feel, and initially he succeeds. The swords and armour are Game of Thrones-esque, especially when set on the dust and sandstone streets of Asgard. This contrasts wonderfully with the grey London cityscape where half the action takes place; it is this clash between the world of humans and the world of alien gods that provides the humour in the film. There are some very funny moments, particularly from Tom Hiddleston as Loki and Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis.
Taylor, replacing Kenneth Branagh, seems to have directed episodes of every major television programme in the past 15 years: Oz, The Sopranos, The West Wing, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones. Even without Branagh there is still a clique of excellent British actors that dominates the film’s cast: Tom Hiddleston and Anthony Hopkins return as Loki and Odin, Idris Elba as Heimdall, and Christopher Eccleston joins the cast as Dark Elf Malekith. Even comedy actors Chris O’Dowd and Justin Edwards make appearances.
In fact the film has a surprisingly British focus. The Asgardians have English accents and much of the action takes place in London. After New York was destroyed in The Avengers it seems fair that London has its turn, with the Old Royal Naval College and St Paul’s suffering during the final battle (perhaps Malekith has something against Christopher Wren).
Fans of the Marvel films will love this. It has all the necessary elements: self-deprecating humour, a cameo appearance by Stan Lee, post-credits sequences. Those unused to the Marvel Universe may find the surfeit of Norse names overwhelming, but The Dark World is an intelligent action epic with a stellar cast and a twinkle in its eye.
Thor: The Dark World is released nationwide on 30th October 2013.
Watch the trailer for Thor: The Dark World here: