Reviewed by: Jessica D. Lovett
Chris Hemsworth … Thor
Natalie Portman … Jane Foster
Tom Hiddleston … Loki
Stellan Skarsgård … Dr. Erik Selvig
Idris Elba … Heimdall
Christopher Eccleston … Malekith
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje … Algrim/Kurse
Kat Dennings … Darcy Lewis
Ray Stevenson … Volstagg
Zachary Levi … Fandral
Tadanobu Asano … Hogun
Jaimie Alexander … Sif
Rene Russo … Frigga
Anthony Hopkins … Odin
Chris O'Dowd … Richard
Clive Russell … Tyr
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|Distributor||Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures|
Amazingly, the sequel to Marvel’s 2011 “Thor” film far surpasses its predecessor. Continuing the rivalry for kingship between two royal brothers, Thor and Loki, “Thor: The Dark World” whisks us between their world of iridescent castles, star-flecked bridges through time and space, and valiant knights and the world of four struggling physicists in bustling modern-day London. With cascades of vivid colors and breathtaking action sequences careening across the screen, there is certainly nothing low-key (Loki?) in “Thor: The Dark World.” This movie doesn’t waste much valuable screen time in exposition, so I’d highly recommend seeing the first film, if you plan on seeing the second.
Loaded with every fantasy element imaginable, it is a glowing cocktail of sci-fi laser guns and futuristic spaceships mixed in with ancient Celtic and Greek myth, shields, and swordplay… There is something thrown into “Thor: The Dark World” for most fans of blockbuster superhero movies, science fiction, or even fantasy fiction to find their imagination tickled. It won’t deeply challenge the way you look at the world in a permanent way, but it is definitely a treat to watch.
Fans of the BBC’s “Dr. Who” will be surprised to find the 9th Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, playing the part of the sinister Dark Elf, Malekith, who tests the commitment of almost-immortal Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) love of the very human Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). As King Odin, Thor and Loki’s father, Anthony Hopkins lends strong credibility to the film with his piercingly intense persona.
The way that Thor doesn’t give up on his love and stays true to her, despite tremendous obstacles, uplifts the film to a solid worldview reflecting the values of commitment, heroism, and fidelity. Thor constantly puts his life on the line for his loved ones, giving his all to keep them safe, bringing to mind John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” One main conflict in the film is Thor’s struggle to honor and respect the wishes of his parents while at the same time saving those who are in harm’s way.
The movie also brings to mind Prodigal Son parable parallels (Luke 15), though the film turns the positive outcome of the Biblical story on its head, with the trust of the father not rewarded as in the parable. However, despite its strong moral elements—stressing reconciliation, sacrifice, and humility—“Thor: The Dark World” is far from being a markedly Christian film. The principals of “righteous” vengeance postponing forgiveness, blind ambition trumping over loyalty to others, and the like, are accepted as the norm.
The violent elements putting the film out of reach of children who might be enthused by the comic elements are the intense and frequent—though mostly bloodless—battle scenes, a Viking funeral scene, giant murderous monsters, a character being possessed, and hordes of fights with every kind of weapon imaginable… ninja-fighting horned elves from space against Medieval-looking knights, anyone? Witty banter interjected into the fighting scenes alleviate any claustrophobic feelings of darkness, however, communicating to the audience that this is supposed to be comic book action and not violence-for-shock or gore value.
As far as sexual content, there is one character that streaks nude and is arrested, though it is seen via the news on television fully censored by pixillated dots. There are also several passionate kisses, but no scenes beyond that and no revealing outfits except for a quick scene with a shirtless male getting dressed.
Profanity: mild—hell (4); s-words (2); da** (2), “Oh G*d (1),” OMG (1)
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Modrate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
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My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½