While I try to review all materials objectively, it’s impossible for me to avoid noting that THOR has traditionally been my least favorite member of THE AVENGERS’ A-list tier. Despite the excellent job that Chris Hemsworth has done in portraying the character in numerous films as a part of the MARVEL Cinematic Universe, the 80s kid in me still can’t shake two things that helped shape my flesh-and-blood idea of the Mighty God of Thunder: 1988’s made-for-TV THE INCREDIBLE HULK RETURNS (featuring what may have been the first “legit” live-action Thor), and 1987’s ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING (which had a whole Thor subplot). That said, Hemsworth’s version of THOR has made me warm up a bit toward the character, and that made me eager to check out his latest big-screen adventure, THOR: THE DARK WORLD.
Released theatrically in the U.S. just shy of four months ago, the ever-shrinking window to home release has already passed, and with it comes a Blu-ray edition that the folks at The Walt Disney Company sent here for review. Following-up “The Battle of New York” that was the focus of THE AVENGERS, and later covered in IRON MAN 3, THE DARK WORLD finds Loki (Tom Hiddleston) back on Asgard for the judgement of Odin (Anthony Hopkins) – but his incarceration is brief as he is quickly pulled into a battle with his half-brother (Thor) to fend off an assault by the evil Malekith, who seeks to find an use an ancient weapon called the Aether (one of the Infinity Stones) and destroy just about anything from Asgard to Earth and well beyond.
The weird thing here is that, while the plot may veer toward the complicated (who’s fighting who for what?), somewhat confusing (Natalie Portman babbling on about the laws of physics), and seem to have some holes here and there, THOR: THE DARK WORLD is a decent comic book film that fits well in the scope of the MARVEL Cinematic Universe, even though it may well be one of the lesser installments when stacked against the rest of the growing series. What interests me more in the scope of this website and covering “family” entertainment, is how much this film is a story of family, albeit one of Gods. This film is very much driven by fan-favorite Loki, whose own motivation is fueled and consumed by the fact that he grew up “in the shadow” of his brother. He desires a throne, just like his father and brother, and will stop at nothing to get one (and three movies in for him, he’s still on the quest). It makes me think of my daughters, and how I hope that they both excel at whatever the desire, with neither of them ever feeling that they’re covered by another’s shadow.
In the end, THOR: THE DARK WORLD appropriately fits like an issue of a comic, one that’s good, but not great. Satisfying, but not necessarily filling. But as the final card after the credits sequence states, “THOR WILL RETURN.”
The Rock Father Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
THE BONUS FEATURES:
I’ve definitely reached the point where standard deleted scenes and making-ofs need to be really special to hold my interest, and while we have some decent material included here, the real gem on the THOR: THE DARK WORLD Blu-ray is the MARVEL One-Shot short film, ALL HAIL THE KING.
Continuing the Blu-ray follow-ups to the preceding MCU films, this one finds Sir Ben Kingsley reprising his role as actor Trevor Slattery from IRON MAN 3, now serving a prison sentence for his part in the conspiracy that had him portraying “The Mandarin.” The comedic action featured here is fantastic, as is the Slattery “lost pilot” that CBS allegedly financed in the 80s (complete with a score by Mike Post). Cap things off with a cameo by Sam Rockwell bringing back his Justin Hammer character from IRON MAN 2, and it just wins straight across the board.
THOR: THE DARK WORLD and other MARVEL Cinematic Universe Films are available via (my affiliate) Amazon: