Thor: The Dark World – Steelbook (Blu-ray)

May 20, 2014 9 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton and Matt Malouf

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?

Since this is the same disc, fans can (thankfully) expect the same terrific transfer as before. This is certainly a visual film and the image is never less than stunning. The AVC (2.40:1) image delivers in full glory. Stubble, stray hairs and that’s just the actors. Asgard is given plenty of screen time in this film and that gives plenty of room for the image to show off, so to speak. The earth scenes are also strong. None of the colors appear washed out or faded in any way. They’re deep and bold and do justice to the film. This package also contains a 3D disc, but that version isn’t reviewed here. I felt compelled to mention its inclusion, nonetheless.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The DTS HD track starts strong and never gives up. This is one of the better tracks I’ve heard in a long time. This is a great compliment to the transfer as well. Vocals are always strong, but the action is what drives this film and the track delivers on all fronts. Nothing to report here. Sit back and enjoy.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This edition is the 2 disc Best Buy exclusive steel-book which is something of a hard find, at least at the moment. There may or may not be an extensive second run, but I purchased it the day it was released and there were very few copies. This was right when the store opened too. The image is quite nice with Thor: The Dark World embossed on the front. It has rear art and inner art of all of the main characters. As mentioned, this is a 2 disc set, but don’t be alarmed. There is a third slot for a disc on the left hand side, but nothing is missing. My hunch is that a DVD was supposed to be included at first, but maybe that was dropped at the last minute? An insert inside the case also includes a digital copy code. Outside of the packaging, don’t expect any new features, however.

  • Marvel One Shot: All Hail the King – This continues from the plot twist from Iron Man 3. I hated the twist and this short helped ease the pain in a sense. Ben Kingsley reprises his role. This is certainly worth watching and one of the better Marvel-based features I’ve seen.
  • A Brother’s Journey: Thor and Loki – Divided into 2 parts, this looks at the relationship between Thor and Loki.
  • Exclusive Look – Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier – A preview for the second captain America film.
  • Scoring Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World – This looks at the film’s score. This is interesting if you care about the music heard in the film. I don’t.
  • Deleted/Extended Scenes – 6 scenes that can be viewed with or without commentary. Don’t expect any gems here, but they’re worth a look.
  • Audio Commentary – The director and a few others provide a running commentary for the film. It is worth a listen and provides some nice tidbits.
  • Gag Reel – Self Explanatory
  • Sneak PeeksCaptain America: The Winter Solider preview.

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