Marvel Sweeps in more Cinematic Swagger with Second “Thor”

Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Marvel has made recent moves in the entertainment industry that put them at the forefront for future production. Not only do they have an arsenal of film franchises in the works, they most recently made a deal with Netflix for four series revolving around different characters from that universe; the first to premiere will apparently feature Daredevil.

I’ve seen their name so much that the logo animation that plays before the films precedes my dreams at night and, honestly, it’s borderline worrisome. Sleeping patterns aside, Marvel is making monopolist moves that probably won’t cease until the demand for heroes declines, which is unlikely considering the world’s appetite for them. Look at their production library and box office results, get used to it. It helps if you have an affinity for superheroes but it also doesn’t hurt when the visionaries today retain the same amount of heart as the original introduction; Marvel Studios succeeds in expanding their universe with wider scopes that demonstrate the life of the origin.

“Thor: The Dark World” picks up right where “The Avengers”, and the first “Thor”, left off: after the attack on New York fueled by Thor’s adopted brother Loki. Now we find peace restored to Asgard with the rest of the Nine Realms to follow suit, while back on Earth,

Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman, looks for any signs of Thor’s promised return. Eventually, their lives crossover again when Foster discovers the portals composed from the alignment of the worlds, a rare phenomenon that is evidently approaching. Jane stumbles upon a mysterious substance known as “aether” that prompts the awakening of an assumed extinct clan of Dark Elves seeking to cover the worlds in darkness.

After realizing Jane is the vessel for the liquid evil, Thor seeks to extract the aether with the help of his war-criminal opposite Loki. Meanwhile, Jane’s team of inexperienced and slightly lunatic researchers scramble to understand what is going on beyond their realm. To avoid spoilers, I’ll leave out what happens at the culminating events.

            What I expected was a generic installment in the prosperous franchise. What I watched was another lively extension that both recognizes the relationship with its predecessors and grows as a separate entity with its own collection of intriguing characters and story lines.

The chemistry between Thor and Loki, played by Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston respectively, drastically shifts throughout, adding complexities to their deception and trust of each other. It’s fun to watch the scales tip in both directions. Likewise, we’re treated to some unexpected badassery from Rene Russo, who plays Thor’s mother Frigga, and less surprising husband Odin, portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, who still kind of looks like he wants to eat everyone.

There’s plenty of action dished throughout the movie interlaced with hilarious antics and setups that help highlight the lighthearted nature of the comic books. The standard plot is as per usual, a bit predictable, but interesting and casual enough to allow the power of the characters and unraveling spectacle to push it forward. While some may remain displeased with nit-picky instances of discontinuity, “Thor: The Dark World” ultimately presents the next chapter in an ever unfolding book of all types of mediums yet stands alone as a fun adventure with a proper, valiant feel.

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