HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Thor: The Dark World
HTS Overall Score:89
The man with the hammer is back once again and it seems that the poor guy just doesn’t get a break. We last met Thor (Chris Hemsworth) taking Loki (Tom Hiddleston) back to Asgard to face trial for his crimes. The original “Thor” film was one of my least favorite of Marvel’s Phase One movies, seeming almost to be a filler movie just to plug Thor in so we knew who he was in “The Avengers”. This movie decides to change it up a bit and instead of being on Earth with some Asgardian moments, we go full swing across the nine worlds and start visiting them ALL. With feet no longer firmly planted on our bright blue planet the worlds are just bigger and better, with Loki and Thor both sweeping out the cobwebs and getting right down to their age old conflict of brother vs. brother. After having to choke through “Iron Man 3” the mediocre reviews for “Thor: The Dark World” had me VERY nervous to see it, hoping against hope that it wasn’t THAT bad. Surprisingly I ended up liking “Thor: The Dark World” a lot more than I had expected to. There was still that light hearted tone to it, but the blending of serious and humorous had me chuckling one moment and cheering the next for, while it is not the BEST of the Marvel Universe movies, “Thor: The Dark World” easily meets, and in some ways, surpasses its predecessor.
With Loki in prison for eternity, Thor has been spending the last several years mopping up all the chaos that was stirred up in Loki’s dramatic power coup. Traveling across the nine realms, quelling uprisings and longing for his love, Jane (Natalie Portman), Thor is kept busy enough that he hasn’t been able to return to earth. All of that changes when Jane is pulled through a mysterious “tear” in the fabric of space and is transported into an old hiding place of the ancient Asgardians. It seems that before the nine realms were aligned, there was another power dominating the universe. A power so great and so evil that it took every ounce of Asgardian strength to over throw them. These beings, these dark Elves wielded a power named the Aether, which was strong enough to spread darkness across the entire universe. Eons ago, Odin’s father defeated the dark elves and hid the Aether so that no one could ever find it. Unfortunately, Jane stumbled into that vault through the teat in space and the Aether is now coursing through her veins, and to make matters worse, it appears that the dark elves were not as dead as many had thought. One ship, carrying their leader, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston, has been dormant in space for thousands of years. With the Aether escaped and in the hands of a human, Malekith is awakened and drawn to it, as a moth to a flame.
Vowing vengeance upon the Asgardians, Malekith unleashes a force on the complacent Asgard that has not been seen for millennia, sweeping in with ships that are undetectable he lays waste to Asgard and is only narrowly driven off world after killing the queen mother (Rene Russo). In his anger, Odin refuses to listen to Thor’s counsel and forces the young man to take matters into his own hands. Taking Jane and Loki, he escapes off world through the same hidden passage that Loki has used countless times, the trio must track down Malekith and destroy him, before he can obtain the Aether from Jane and deliver the same destruction that once covered the entire universe in darkness thousands upon thousands of years ago.
“Thor: The Dark World” is definitely a different take with the Marvel movies. Instead of staying locked in on Earth’s location the entire time, it decides to open up the universe to us and ends up being a far more Alien film than the first one, with giant space battles, energy weapons and a species that is technologically the most advanced race to grace the superhero genre in quite some time. Jane is about the only tentative hold on Earth that the movie has with the standard Marvel Universe as we explore worlds that are as diverse and different than the last. With such a broad scope and a long running time, I was surprised to see the time go so fast, as director Alan Taylor keeps the pace quick and snappy, never being in one place so long as to lose its welcome. It may not be “Guardians of the Galaxy” in scope, but it most certainly has me drooling for that entry in the MU.
Loki takes center stage here, the wise cracking hero Thor, is a bit more wizened and tempered with experience so the majority of the jokes fall to our favorite anit-hero (including one that involves a cameo of Chris Evans as Captain America, which had me rolling on the floor). Loki has become a viral hit online and it’s obvious that the powers that be recognized and catered to those wishes in the film, as Loki takes up almost as much screen time as Thor does.
With all this oohing and aahhing going on I do have to take a step back and acknowledge that while I had a great deal of fun with the movie, it felt a bit superfluous at times. The intentions of Malekith and the actual conclusion to his awe inspiring search for power seemed a bit too cut and dry, and seemed as if it was rushed juuuuuuuuuust a tad. Another flaw was actually something that I enjoyed, the humor. While not as riddled with ridiculous and goofy humor as “Iron Man 3”, the added humor made the more serious parts of the film not feel as dire as they could have been, almost like they were trying too hard to make Loki funny at times and insert Darcy’s (Kat Dennings) character into the limelight due to her fanbase. All in all I thought it was a fun romp and certainly LEAGUES better than the last Marvel movie or so, but a flawed movie as well.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=14376[/img]The 2D picture for “Thor: the Dark World” is simply marvelous, and just a notch or so shy of perfection. The 9 realms are all different and unique, with their own color palette and textures to boot. Some of them are teaming with burn oranges and yellows, while the Dark Elf home world is full of dusky greens and blacks. The London atmosphere is rather bleak and foggy (just like the city) and has a distinctly light blue tinge to it, but there is more than enough detail to go around. The straps on clothing, the cut marks on Thor’s hands and Darcy’s bright red lipstick all look incredibly well done. Long shots are just as beautiful with gorgeous CGI and real life backdrops of the unique and varied worlds. Blacks are deeeep and inky without taking a hit to the shadow detail. Only thing to slightly complain about is a soft look to some of the CGI worlds, but is only slight and seems to add to the atmosphere, more than anything. The film is given a hefty bitrate on a BD-50 so there is no macroblocking or other encoding anomalies to deal with. A good encode and one that stands up there with the rest of the Marvel big boys.
As with the last several Marvel releases, “Thor: The Dark World” is given another lackluster 3D post conversion, which while serviceable, is nothing really remarkable. There’s a decent amount of crosstalk on my display and the overall picture is just rather flat. The human figures looking distinctly “fake” as a result of the post conversion and the majority of the film really doesn’t benefit from the post conversion process. There are some cool shots of Thor’s hammer that look really cool and the Dark Elf ships have some nice pop, but otherwise we can just chalk this one up to another release that really doesn’t benefit from the 3D process (at least the post conversion process).
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=14377[/img]Oh my, oh my. I’m a fan of aggressive audio tracks and “The Dark World” is a true beast of an audio track. Disney has given us a 7.1 DTS-HD MA audio track that will give you entire speaker system a solid thrashing as if Thor’s hammer was beating you across the ears and chest with it. I swear my LFE channel didn’t get a single break the entire movie, as wave after wave of bass just washed over the listener, pounding us with gut wrenching impacts and deeeeeeeeeep rumbles as dark elf ships vibrated my pant legs constantly. The surrounds were in constant use as well, enveloping the listener in a world alien and foreign from our own without ever having to leave the couch. Footsteps were crystal clear and even the shifting of Thor’s armor is distinctive as you hear his leather doublet creaking under motion and the sound of his hand caressing the hammer’s shaft. Even with the aggressive audio effects the dialogue is still crisp and clean, locked up there in the front sound stage and well balanced. I didn’t have to turn the movie up or down once the entire 2 hour run time. If there’s anything that Disney has proven, it’s that it’s sound developers for their day and date movies sure know what they’re doing.
• Marvel One Shot: All Hail the King
• A Brother's Journey: Thor & Loki
• "The Dark World" Audio Commentary
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• Scoring "Thor: The Dark World" with Brian Tyler
• Gag Reel
• "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" Exclusive Look
“The Dark World” is a fun Marvel romp that is decidedly in the middle of the rankings for me. Not as good as say “Captain America” or “The Avengers” it is still worthy or our collections with the demo worthy audio and video, who can really blame a person for wanting this disc. My only real complaint with the physical packaging as a whole is Disney got rid of the DVD from the combo pack, tweaking their release strategy kind of like they did with the “Oz, the Great and Powerful” release where the 3D version was on its own release without the 2D version. While not a deal killer by any means, it’s just rather annoying to have the status quo jerked around as they decide just what the market will, or will not, take. Definitely recommended by myself.
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Kat Dennings
Directed by: Alan Taylor
Written by: Christopher Yost, Christomer Markus
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, French, Spanish, Portuguese DD 5.1
Studio: Disney/Buena Vista
Runtime: 112 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: Feb 25th, 2014
Buy Thor: The Dark World 3D + 2D combo pack Blu-ray on Amazon
Buy Thor: The Dark World 2D Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Buy It
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