More than any other Marvel film, the first two Thor movies require so much explanation right out of the gates. Theres definitely a lot going on, but it’s never a great start when the first 5 minutes of the movie require an Anthony Hopkins voiceover to explain the background. Especially after we’ve already met Thor and the whole crew just 2 years prior.
I haven’t watched Thor 2 since I saw it in theaters in 2013. All I remembered about this movie was that all kinds of stuff got destroyed in London. Thats it.
Before we get into the review though I have to point out one thing. THANK GOD THEY FIXED THOR’S EYEBROWS. I mentioned it in my review of Thor 1, but it’s something that bothered me for a decade because I could never quite put my finger on what it was.
Okay now that thats been addressed we can move on amicably.
So we begin with Loki being sentenced to a lifetime of prison in the Asgardian tombs for his crimes in Thor 1 and The Avengers.
Thor drops into save the day on another battle that his team is fighting for some reason or another. Apparently after the bifrost was destroyed (its fixed now) all the other realms rebelled for some reason so the Asgardians are trying to get all nine realms to bend the knee once again. In a common theme in this movie, it doesn’t really matter why.
Back on Earth Jane (Natalie Portman) is in London investigating science stuff (again doesn’t matter why) when she stumbles upon a rift in dimensions of some sort. Gravity is all wonky and they discover a wormhole of sorts when they throw trash, bricks, and car keys into the portal only to have them disappear entirely. Jane then gets sucked into one of these wormholes and comes into contact with a dark force. Doing so appears to have awoken the Dark Elves that Thor’s grandfather banished so many years ago.
It’s only when Thor goes to talk with Heimdall and asks about Jane do they realize somethings wrong; Heimdall can’t see her. So Thor bombs down to London to check on her. When the cops show up and try to arrest Jane for trespassing she goes Super Saiyan and nearly blows the guy away. Unsure of what the hell is going on Thor takes her back to Asgard for help. Odin recognizes this dark force as the Aether, which his voiceover from the beginning of the film explains how the Dark Elves weaponized thousands of years ago.
“Their leader, Malekith, made a weapon out of that darkness, it was called the Aether. While the other relics often appear as stones, the Aether is fluid, and ever changing. It changes matter into dark matter, and seeks out host bodies, drawing strength from their life force.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; Asgard has the absolute WORST security in all of the MCU. In each of the Thor movies a villain sneaks into Asgard somehow undetected and sets off an explosion. In. every. single. movie. In this instance, one of the Dark Elves poses as a prisoner being transported to Asgard Jail. Anddd about 10 minutes later this Dark Elf breaks out (with an explosion) and starts a full scale prison riot.
“It is as if they resent being in prison,” one of Thor’s warriors hilariously quips.
Heimdall spotting an invisible ship trying to sneak into Asgard and taking it down with a nothing but a couple of daggers is low key the best scene in the movie.
Thanks to the prison riot distraction the Dark Elf faux prisoner is able to knock out the Asgardian castle’s defenses so Malekith and his army can roll right up to the front door. He’s looking for the Aether, which currently lives inside Natalie Portman.
Now in return for helping hide Natalie Portman from Malekith, Thor’s mom is rewarded with a sword through the back. Thor chases Malekith and the dark elves out of Asgard. With their defenses destroyed Oden opts to wait for the intruders to return leaving Asgard and its people as sitting ducks.
Thor doesn’t exactly agree with his father and concocts a plan to use Jane as bait to draw Malekith out of hiding. With the bifrost closed and the Tesseract locked away, Thor needs a little help sneaking off Asgard.
Quick aside: Scottish actors have an absolute lock on these Viking roles as the Mrs. sniped Game of Thrones actor Clive Russell as one of Oden’s Asgardian generals, who is best known for playing the Blackfish.
I understand that Viking culture is Viking culture, but there are a lot of similarities to Game of Thrones in this movie. Welp, turns out the director of Thor 2, Alan Taylor, has also directed several episodes of Thrones. Small world.
Anyways, with a little help from Sif and the Warriors Three, Thor is able to get off Asgard alongside Loki and Jane.
Back on Earth: Another annoying thing about this movie is that Professor Erik Selvig is legitimately crazy the entire movie, running around naked at one point before getting arrested,
only to become completely normal again in the final act of the movie. The only explanation given is his quip “I’ve had a God in my brain, I don’t recommend it” and him throwing out a bag of prescription pills he’s been popping. I guesss Loki’s mind control from The Avengers is having some residual effects, but I don’t know. Again, doesn’t really matter why.
Time to science.
Now that Thor and Loki are on the Dark World, they need to defeat Malekith and destroy the Aether. Loki breaks out some A+ trickery in the final 30 minutes here stabbing his brother and chopping off Thor’s hand as a ploy to catch Malekith off guard as he pulls the Aether from Jane. (This whole movie has a very X-Men 3: Dark Phoenix vibe to it and thats not a good thing.) Except it doesn’t really work. Malekith takes the Aether and jets while Loki dies protecting Thor, or so we’re led to believe.
Stuck on this random Dark World with no way home Marvel introduces the most blatant deus ex machina that I’ve ever seen. Remember that random portal Jane and friends were throwing trash into in the beginning of the movie? Welp it’s a direct gateway from London to the random Dark World cave that Thor and Jane are in right now!
It’s not really until the end of the movie that I even understood what Malekith’s motives are and why the final battle is in London. Basically all nine realms are converging and when that happens it’s like a massive solar eclipse. It also gives him the opportunity to bring darkness (destroy?) all of the realms at once. Bringing it back to the heyday of the dark elves, who actually ruled the universe before Thor’s grandfather defeated them. Well the center point for this whole convergence is Greenwich, London.
I’m shocked they didn’t go with the Powerman 5000 soundtrack for the final scene of the movie when worlds literally collide.
Final battle between Thor and Malekith ensues. Thor defeats the bad guy and contains the Aether.
A nice twist at the end though as Thor goes to tell his father he will refuse the throne and as he walks away we see that it is actually Loki posing as Oden!
Mid credits scene: We are introduced to The Collector for the first time and it’s revealed that the Aether is in fact an Infinity Stone as Sif leaves it with him for safe keeping.
Post credits scene: Thor returns to London for some smooches. Thor will return.
Final Rating: 6/10
This movie isn’t bad per se, it’s just a bit nonsensical at times and overall forgettable. Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston’s likeability are the only thing that really redeem the movie because the plot is confusing, the villain is a faceless bore, and the motives of everyone involved are murky. But due to the brilliant rapport of Hemsworth and Hiddleston the movie is a decent way to kill 2 hours.
Up next in The 300s Marvel Cinematic Rewind is Captain America: The Winter Solider!