Well I guess that went down a little in my estimation. I couldnt really find major fault with the film but it did not hold my interest as much since I knew the plot and what was going to happen. Its got some nice character moments and I do think the acting is better this time around with richer portrayals from all involved (at least in Asgard) but the plot unfortunately suffers from we gotta start getting these Infinity Stones out there for Avengers 3! Guardians would do a better job at least keeping the film moving along even though its straddled with the same exact baggage. There are also a lot of plot contrivances to get the story to the finish line but I think the film moved briskly enough that you dont dwell on them during the actual viewing.
Hiddleston steals the show effortlessly. I think hes a fine enough actor but he was not very well written in the first Thor film. His motivations were pretty muddled. Post-Avengers though, he and Hemsworth can really dive into the fraught relationship between these two brothers borne out of what occurred in the films weve seen thus far rather than a confusing past history were told about. Do I hate my brother? Do I hate my father? Do I love my mother? Speaking of which, its Lokis love for Frigga that really brings him to the forefront. I wish more time had been spent on the inter-personal relationships of the royal family. There is a lot to mine there but apparently we cant let that get in the way of the action.
The visuals were also pretty well done. The funeral was a beautiful and somber sequence conveying the cost of the Dark Elves attack with a truly cinematic visual over some perfunctory summation at a war council. Another highlight is the final battle as Thor and Malekith battle through different portals and watching Mjolnir prepare to cross the cosmos to be reunited with its master. Asgard feels more lived in this time around rather than just a green-screen background. It felt like an actual place over some idea. If we had spent more time there and on the actual characters and their shifting alliances, it could have made for a stronger film. Game of Thrones was going strong at this time. People like the intrigue. Give us more of that!
The romantic sub-plot is . . . whatever. Thor and Jane are not really a romance for the ages. Although I will say I did like the tag where he returns on her balcony. It was a nice button to the film even if you couldnt really care less about this romance. Skarsgård is wasted and saddled with an unnecessary insanity subplot. I guess Hawkeye was better able to handle being under kind control. And Ill only mention Eccleston as Malekith to point out our first Doctor as villain in the MCU. This may be the worst villain yet. Utterly forgettable. Tennant will blow him out of the water in Jessica Jones. Waiting on you, Matt Smith!
I dont really have too much else to say that others have not covered. Im going to give Thor: The Dark World 5/10. I still think its worth a rental. Obviously you need it for the ultimate end game for the Infinity Stones at the finale of Phase Three, but its diverting enough. It just doesnt hold up under multiple rewatches unless you really happen to love Thor. Hemsworth and Hiddleston continue to shine and will hit their peak in Ragnarok.
1) Iron Man
2) The Avengers
3) The Incredible Hulk
4) Black Panther
5) Iron Man 3
6) Captain America: The First Avenger
7) Thor: The Dark World
9) Iron Man 2