Thor: The Dark World is an excellent follow up to the first Thor movie in all the essentials. People will argue for decades about which super-hero / comic book movie is better than the others. But I don’t think anyone can dispute that the Thor movies are visually the most beautiful and stunning. You truly get an cosmic scale experience in this movie. When they say “the nine realms” are converging, you are convinced it’s real. Like the first movie, they manage to combine the visual tropes of fantasy and science fiction so that they seem like the same thing, a point made explicit in one of the minor scenes. Even in this golden age of special effects, Thor: The Dark World stands out from all the others.
The other thing I liked about the latest Thor movie is that there are some Big Themes driving the plot of the movie. They are present from the very beginning through the end and yet not once does anyone have to pause the action of the movie to monologue so that the Big Theme can be spelled out for us. Every bit of it comes through the actions of the characters and what they say to each other. I think this is both a testament to the screen writers and Stan Lee’s vision for the characters.
Character-wise, everyone seemed consistent with the first movie, except for the Erik Selvig character who was sadly short-changed in the movie, being relegated to comic relief mostly. But everyone else gets their time on screen to do what they do best. I particularly liked how Thor’s henchmen helped him escape from Asgard when Asgard needed escaping from. But my favorite of the minor characters is still Heimdall, the gatekeeper who is fierce warrior, wise man, loyal servant, and shrewd politician all rolled up into one.
And then there’s the action sequences. In less skilled hands, the Big Battle scene could have come off as farce. But it was came across as a battle that ran through time and space while the fate of the universe hung in the balance. And once again, the world is saved only because someone deliberately, at great cost, chose to do the Right Thing. And that is how all comic book movies should end.