I was surprised at how easy Thor 2 was to re-watch. I remember it as “the boring installment.” It’s still not exciting on the level of the top tier of movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Avengers, Civil War, Black Panther and Thor’s own 3 – Ragnarok). Making myself even more clear, The Dark World is still a bottom-tier MCU movie…it’s just not as excruciating as I recall it being. It’s really pretty (with a sort of Lord of the Rings “lite” essence), there’s a a lot more plot and humor than I remembered, and the story hangs together pretty well.
So it’s worth watching for more than just pretty guys in capes! And if you are doing a re-watch to get ready for the Infinity Wars (part 1) coming up April 27th, 2018, The Dark World is kind of unmissable. Want to know where the Infinity Gems are? This one’s crucial. Making a guess that we’ll see The Collector again? Again, you have to catch this one. You’ll learn more about the Aether (the singular, non-solid Infinity Gem) than any other “stone” in the series.
Another thing that stood in hindsight: at this point in the MCU the directors clearly haven’t figured out just how FUNNY Chris Hemsworth is. All the humor goes to Loki and Darcy in The Dark World. Which is a pity — we get to see Hemsworth’s wonderful comedic timing in the ensemble pieces, one-shot webisodes, and Thor: Ragnarok. I wish they could go back in time (Dr. Strange could help out) and tweak Thor 1 and 2 for more comedic beats and a lighter tone.
Loki stands out here, as he does in any scene that he promptly steals. Eric Selvig put in a lovely turn (he got some of the funny as well), and this seems to be the last we see of Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster, or Darcy (or her intern).
I’ve heard Portman didn’t like working on Marvel films, so writing her out is probably for the best, and this frees up Thor to date Lady Sif, or Valkyrie, or perhaps Captain Marvel herself. Hey, why not even The Grandmaster, with whom, last we heard, is now bunking with Thor’s old housemate, Darryl.
What’s the takeaway for The Dark World? The Dark Elves aren’t important to the grand sweep of the Infinity Stone Saga. Jane and Darcy don’t matter. Erik still has a place on the science team (and here we find out he thinks better without his pants on). Loki both can and can’t be trusted. Thor Odinson has extremely dysfunctional family issues. And the Aether is (safely?) in the storerooms of The Collector. That’s it.
Skip this film if you’re in a hurry and you’ll be fine with that bit of info, unless you’re fascinated by the Infinity Stones/intrigued by the unusual form the Aether takes (which looks like a red “Obscurial”, a la Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them).