Plot: What’s it about?

It’s Hammer Time!

Sorry. I couldn’t resist.  The Marvel Universe is nearly infinite and I don’t think Stan “the man” Lee will rest until each and every one of his characters he created has had a feature film made.  Then again we keep seeing them, so why not keep making them?  With 2012’s The Avengers being one of the highest-grossing (if not the highest-grossing) film of all-time, there’s plenty of motivation from Marvel’s standpoint to keep shoving these super humans down our throats.  I know it seems like I’m complaining, but in all actuality – I love all of these films.  They’re well made, entertaining and for someone who grew up on Marvel comics – I simply can’t get enough.  Of all of the Marvel movies, I probably prefer X-Men, but the emphasis seems to be on the Avengers side of things with Captain America, Iron Man and now Thor each having at least one movie under their collective belts. Odds are that if you’re reading this or have seen the movie, there’s really nothing I can say that will affect anything. That or you’re like my wife and just want to ogle Chris Hemsworth for two hours.  Hey, she admits it. At any rate, let’s dive in and see what the God of Thunder is up to since we last saw him in The Avengers

There’s a lot going on in this film, but to net it out the main focus is on Malekith (Christopher Eccleston).  Bor, grandfather of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and father of Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins) had previously taken care of him when he attempted to turn matter into anti-matter with the assistance of Aether. As it so happens, Jane (Natalie Portman) has stumbled upon some Aether and has thus allowed Malekith to return.  He’s set to launch a full out attack on Asgard and after the events of The Avengers, Loki’s (Tom Hiddleston) failed coup has left him in not so good standing with the powers that be. Still, Asgard must be saved and Thor has to rely on his cunning brother to help save the world.  And to further complicate matters, the nine realms are aligning for the first time in 500 years which doesn’t exactly help matters.  Thor has his work cut out for him as he’s set to save Jane, Earth and 8 other realms before he can call it day.  Of course this begs the question – can he do it?

Admittedly I’m more of an “origin story” type of guy, so I’d have to say that I preferred the first Thor movie to this one. That and with the inclusion of so many characters, some even in other movies, it seems that they had to give everyone some extra screen time. Take, for example, Heimdall (Idris Elba) and Darcy (Kat Dennings) – it just seemed that they had way too much to say when it wasn’t necessary. When I watch Thor, I want to see Thor, Loki and Odin. That’s it. I think the unsung hero of the movie is Loki and the amazing performance by Tom Hiddleston who originally auditioned for the part of Thor.  Hiddleston has given a complexity to the character that’s made him one of the most interesting, if not the most interesting, character in the Marvel Universe. By no means was this a bad movie, it delivered on every level and will no doubt serve as a segue to Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the next Avengers movie. Oh and there is the obligatory scene with Chris Hemsworth sans-shirt, so ladies…there ya go.

Video: How’s it look?

If Thor: The Dark World looked anything less than perfect, I’d be very surprised. The film was a beast at the box office, is one of the first titles from Marvel Studios and comes with very high expectations. Thankfully this 2.40:1 AVC HD image does deliver on all levels.  The movie has a variety of landscapes, ranging from the CGI views of space (and time) to the bleak and greenish streets of London.  Hemsworth’s hair is longer than in the first film, he’s got a five o’clock shadow and every bit of texture from his outfit shines in the pristine detail thanks to this HD image.  Contrast and black levels are both strong and consistent, we see a bit too much of  Erik (Stellan Skarsgård) in one scene, but by and large this looks exactly the way I figured it would – amazing.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The DTS HD Master Audio mix takes things up a notch and this has to be one of the most robust soundtracks that I’ve heard since Pacific Rim.  My sub was going crazy. Mjolnir (Thor’s hammer) shook my room, the front speakers never stopped spitting out sounds, the surrounds were busy with battles and other effects and the center channel was spewing out dialogue left and right.  Like the video presentation, this one that’s just fun to crank up the volume, sit back and relax. I could say more, but I think that our score says it all.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Thor: The Dark World comes to Blu-Ray in a variety of different forms, this is the 2 disc edition reviewed.

  • Marvel One Shot: All Hail the King – In the tradition of the “Marvel One Shot’s” those familiar with the character of The Mandarian from Iron Man 3 will be treated to a 13 minute segment featuring his highness.  Naturally we don’t want to give away what happens, but it’s all a part of the Marvel Universe and what keeps us coming back for more.
  • A Brother’s Journey: Thor & Loki – Divided into two parts this focuses on the love/hate relationship between Thor and Loki. It explores the growth of both the Thor and Loki characters, their progression through the films and even where they might be heading.  Clearly the appeal of the Thor films is the tension between these two and this segment does justice to that relationship. Part I focuses on the first film and Part II the second.
  • Exclusive Look – Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier – And why not?  I don’t think this movie will need any help at the box office, but this promo for the forthcoming (at the time of this writing, anyway) film gives us a sneak peek at the next Marvel film. And if you look closely, you might just see Cap pop up in Thor: The Dark World.  Be quick, though – blink and you’ll miss him.
  • Scoring Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World – Brian Tyler, the composer of the film, is given his due when we see some behind the scenes footage of him and his work on the score for this film. Admittedly I’m not much of a music person, but this is pretty interesting.
  • Deleted/Extended Scenes – A series of six deleted and extended scenes available with or without audio commentary, we’re treated to the excerpts from the cutting room floor.
  • Audio Commentary – Director Alan Taylor, Producer Kevin Feige, Tom Hiddleston and Cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau collaborate for a pretty interesting track. We learn a lot of things and right off the bat this is the first movie to showcase the new Marvel logo!  Yeah, how about that?  Actually it is a very informative track with Hiddleston giving input on the acting side of things, Taylor and Feige give the view from the top and the more technical side of things comes from Morgenthau.  I really enjoyed this track.
  • Gag Reel – Essentially what you’d expect.
  • Sneak Peeks – A preview for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, just in case you missed the featurette.