This is part of a series of blog posts, discussing my rewatch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe FOLLOWING my viewing Avengers: Endgame on opening weekend. If you HAVE NOT seen Endgame, I suggest you wait to read these posts as I will be mentioning and referencing plot points from the most recent film(s) including Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame.
8. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Thor: The Dark World is a very different film than Iron Man 3, and yet it has much in common with it.
”When you speak, do I never hear Mother’s voice?” - Thor to Odin while turning down the throne.
It is one of the most unloved of the entire MCU canon, although that may change in light of it being a key plot point for Avengers: Endgame. I’m still at a loss as to why Natalie Portman doesn’t love this franchise. I do understand that her role is limited but is it anymore limited than the latest rom-com she cashes a check for? She’s great here, and she and Thor and she and Darcy have great chemistry. The scenes with her and Friga are particularly good here as well, and there was real tension between her character and Lady Sif (that would have made excellent fodder for a sequel).
The big thing that was noticeable on this viewing was the design of the spaceships of the Dark Elves, the shields around Asgard and then the introduction of the Collector in the mid-credit sequence. While the various interstellar species don’t have uniform technology or ships, there is a similarity to these things even from this early appearance across the Guardians franchise and now in Captain Marvel & the Infinity War films. Space looks the same in the MCU, many of the space-faring species have similar means of travel and they’ve clearly copied or adapted similar technology. This adds to the consistent feel of the Marvel universe, and it’s one of the things I love most about rewatching them all like this. It’s the kind of thing you almost can’t notice without repeat viewings, but knowing that Kevin Feige and his teams do notice it makes me very, very hopeful for the future.
The Loki at play here is going to be closer to the Loki we see in the TV series than the one that appeared in Ragnarok & briefly in Infinity War, that’s my guess at least. Closer to antihero or villain than actual hero, and as likely to stab our other heroes as save them. I’m actually fine with that, I think it’s where Hiddleston shines. I wish I could find anywhere where Malekith shines in this film, as I quite like Eccelston, but this is, for me, the very bottom of the Marvel villain barrel. Though I don’t love the character in the comics, what they do to him in this film makes him even more forgettable.
My favorite part of the film is Eric Selvig, his breakdown after being “possessed” by Loki and the Mind Stone (which we still didn’t realize was an Infinity Stone yet) are wonderful, both funny but also perfectly sensible as how else would a mortal mind react to that sort of knowledge and invasion? Finally, he’s got one of the best lines in the film as Jane realizes the convergence is happening and Malekith is likely on his way to try to destroy the universe when Thor calls Mjolnir and Selvig says dryly, “I guess I better get my pants.”
One other thing that struck me in this watch that never had before: Extremis as presented in Iron Man 3 is VERY similar to Kurse stones as depicted in The Dark World. I’m SURE there was originally a plan to tie these two things together in some fashion, the effects are just too close, but it’s one of the potential threads that never went anywhere (probably because neither one of these movies is much loved by fans).