Thor: The Dark World Blu-ray Review
THOR: THE DARK WORLD (aka Thor 2) is being released on Blu-ray and features the return of most of the cast from the first film. You’d think this would be a slam dunk for Marvel Studios after THE AVENGERS captured not only comic-book fans’ imaginations but the entire world last year. Sadly, this wasn’t the case with THOR: THE DARK WORLD receiving mixed (and many downright negative) reviews. Still, I managed to avoid just about everything related to this movie before getting to watch it for the first time, and I have to say that I disagree with many of the reactions. But is it worth your time?
THOR: THE DARK WORLD literally picks up right after THE AVENGERS with Loki’s return to Asgard while his brother Thor cleans up the mess that has been made of the Nine Realms since the Bi-frost was destroyed. Thor is no longer the spoiled young man from the first THOR; he has clearly lived through much and no longer cares for the frivolity given his earlier character. Loki has also grown, though through darker means. But when the long awaited convergence aligns the nine realms (*see too much exposition in the dictionary), the brothers have to give up their familial strife to try to save the universe from the dark elves and their leader Malekith. Along the way Thor gets to reunite with Jane Foster and their relationship blossoms thanks to the incredible chemistry of Hemsworth and Portman.
THOR: THE DARK WORLD plays with a lot of themes but is primarily a continuation of the story of Thor and Loki, though it also deals with other types of familial dischord. Thor is torn between his duty to his kingdom (and his eventual succession to Odin’s throne) and his love of Jane Foster and the human race. This should not be overlooked – this conflict could easily come off as a simple plot device if not for the chemistry between Hemsworth and Portman, both of whom give phenomenal performances in their roles. But the real star of the film is Hiddleston as the deeply troubled Loki. Given perhaps the most complete story arc in THOR: THE DARK WORLD, Hiddleston hits every beat perfectly. Truly, neither this movie nor THE AVENGERS would have been possible without Hiddleston’s heartbreaking performance.
I may have ended up sounding somewhat conflicted about THOR: THE DARK WORLD. I mean, how do you follow up one of the most successful franchises in history, hot off its most gleaming success? Marvel Studios chose to do it with THOR: THE DARK WORLD, the first true sequel to the aforementioned superhero team-up, and while I LOVED the first THOR (2011), I admit this one lacks some of the gravitas that made it such compelling fun.
However, when you step back for a moment and look at this movie through the lens of the THOR universe, I’m going to go against a lot of folks and say that this movie is far better than it has been given credit. While the depth of the first movie isn’t present despite a decent storyline, the deficit owes more to new director Alan Taylor’s replacement of heavyweight Kenneth Branaugh than anything else. There’s just something about this presentation that doesn’t feel as epic, as timeless, as the first. But, taken at it’s core, THOR: THE DARK WORLD remains true to the Thor we came to love in that first film and continues the story in a satisfying way. Further, the breakaway performance from Hiddleston simply shouldn’t be missed. Rent or buy, but definitely check it out.
THOR: THE DARK WORLD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2.40:1) The video is stunningly beautiful on THOR: THE DARK WORLD, creating an immersive experience into this comic book fantasy.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1) The audio is exquisitely presented for THOR: THE DARK WORLD and with Marvel’s presentation of these films we’ve come to expect nothing less.
Marvel One-Shot: All Hail the King (13:51) A digital short featuring the Mandarin’s life behind bars following IRON MAN 3. A couple of great moments from a timeless actor (Ben Kingsley) can’t solve Marvel’s first misstep (in my humble opinion) with their new universe but they do try to fix the mess they made of the Mandarin.
Audio Commentary with director Alan Taylor, cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau, producer Kevin Feige (who also happens to be the president of Marvel Studios), and actor Tom Hiddleston This is the kind of commentary line up you hope for, until you realize the two pairs (Taylor and Morgenthau, Feige and Hiddleston) didn’t record together. It’s still very informative but it loses an edge created by the chemistry of having everyone together.
A Brother’s Journey: THOR & LOKI (31:39) This feature on THOR: THE DARK WORLD is broken into two parts and focuses on the obvious chemistry, and dischord, between brothers Thor and Loki. Featuring moments from all of the Marvel movies featuring these characters, this is truly a pleasure to watch. Thank you to Kevin Feige for giving this relationship the treatment it deserves.
Exclusive Look – CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (03:25) Captain America returns this summer and is featured in this quick look into the Marvel film to succeed THOR: THE DARK WORLD.
Scoring THOR: THE DARK WORLD with Brian Tyler (05:21) THOR: THE DARK WORLD also has a special feature devoted to scoring a major motion picture event like this movie and it is very interesting for those of you interested in music in film.
Deleted/Extended Scenes (07:49) Six scenes from THOR: THE DARK WORLD are presented with optional (but very informative) Audio Commentary. They were all cut for good reason but there are still some interesting moments. If you liked the movie you’ll enjoy these scenes, which include: Extended Celebration Scene; Jane Learns About the Aether; Loki: The First Avenger; Thor and Frigga Discuss Loki; Dark Elves Prepare for Battle; and an Extended Vanaheim Scene.
Gag Reel (03:30) A funny look at some of the outtakes from THOR: THE DARK WORLD.