Now that Tony Stark has hung up his armor for now we'll head off to the nine realms to see how our favorite god of thunder is doing. Not you Gebeleizis, you go back in the corner! Our story begins with Thor traveling around the 9 realms cleaning up several uprisings caused by the destruction of the Bifröst bridge from the first movie. While this is going on Loki is being sentenced to life in prison by Odin for his little attempt to conquer earth, and Odin makes it very clear that if not for the favor of his wife Frigga (played by Reine Russo) Loki would be dead for his crimes. Not that Loki gives a crap it just conifirms in his crazy head that Odin never gave a crap about him in the first place.
Because yeah he totally doesn't care about his adopted son that otherwise would have been left to die alone by savage frost giants. Odin's totally on par with Gendo Ikari, Bing Crosby, Steel Ball Run George Joestar and Tenjuro Banno for worst dad period, we're so behind you Loki you poor, poor wooby.
Back on Earth Jane is in London observing an odd phenomenon called the Convergence where basically the Matrix is glitching out. Gravity is losing its hold and portals are opening to other realms. And wouldn't you know it Jane happens to fall into one where she accidentally uncovers an ancient artifact from Asgards past called the Aether. (Which along with the Tesseract are actually two of the six infinity stones.) That sub-sequentially awakens an evil force called the Dark Elves lead by Malekith the Accursed (played by Christopher Eccleston) who wants to reclaim the Aether to destroy all the 9 realms during the convergence because basically the Dark Elves are Black Lanterns in that they want to destroy all life in all of reality because they see life as a blight in a perfectly dark universe and blah, blah, blah.
But yeah seeing as how his girlfriend is possessed by demonic Kool-aid Thor heads back to Midgard to bring Jane back to Asgard to see if their medical technology can identify what the Aether is and how to safely extract it from her. However Malekith sent in a monster to free Asgard's prisoners to cause a distraction while his forces invade to recover the Aether. They find Frigga and fridge her when she refuses to tell them where Jane is which Odin, Thor and Loki don't exactly take well. Odin's grief clouds his thinking so Thor executes a plan to get Jane out of Asgard to protect the populace. But it requires getting Loki out of jail since Odin closed down the Bifröst.
The plan works and Malekith extracts the Aether from Jane, but Thor fails to stop him from escaping and Loki ends up dying in battle. Which is exactly why we see him later in Thor Ragnarok, but we'll get to that much later. Back to this movie the Convergence is about to commence in Greenwich and Thor has to keep Malekith busy until it passes. It works and Malekith is killed back in the Dark World, Thor and Jane are back together and Loki has disguised himself as Odin and has taken control of Asgard to unspeakable ends. As for the Aether, the source of all this madness?
Many people are split between this, Iron Man 2 and The Incredible Hulk as the worst of the main MCU movies, as for me I'm in the Iron Man 2 camp. But just because I think this movie is better then Iron Man 2 it doesn't mean that I can't find some serious flaws in this one. Now let's just get this right out of the gate, Malekith is one of the worst villains in the MCU. Seriously his design is uninspired, his plan generic and has about as much personality as Troy from Power Rangers Megaforce. I never once felt nervous or intimidated by him as a villain and the reasons behind his whole goal of destroying all life period is stock, emo and stupid. Now his plan itself made sense and how it wold be carried out but aside from that noting made me interested in seeing this character.
Also there was honestly no reason to have Stellan Skarsgård and Kat Dennings in this movie, or at least as much screen time as they were given. Skarsgård I get; to see how he dealt with being possessed by Loki in Avengers but other then that I can't think of any reason, especially not to see what his dick looked like!!! Kat Dennings was also mostly just comic relief and lead Jane to discovering the portal to the Aether but aside from that she's not needed. Now look I don't find her to be ungodly annoying or anything like that she kind of hits the marks of adorkable for me but unless you have meaningful things for a character to do in your story don't use them. Like for example, Hogun, there wasn't much need for his character in this movie outside of establishing the discord among the 9 realms after the destruction of the Rainbow Bridge, so they had his scene and done.
On to the better aspects of the movie, which was mostly any scene involving Thor with Loki. Honestly if Loki wasn't here with his quips, pathos and charisma to offset the black hole of interest that is Maleketh this movie definitely wouldn't have worked. I liked the back and forth that he and Thor had since it was both entertaining and interesting to see how Thor treats him now after all of the horrible things he's done. We can tell that Thor still cares for him but isn't so naive to just let him off the hook just because they're family, he knows that somewhere his brother is still there within this psychopath even if he says otherwise. Its not limited to just Thor, Odin and Fregga know what needs to be done but you can tell it hurts them to do it even if they can't show it to maintain their rule, that even family is no exception to the laws of the realm and their consequences for breaking them. They do still care despite his actions and becoming such a distrustful, raging lunatic.
Now before I forget this movie is actually critical to the overall plot of the MCU. Since as I mentioned earlier Dark World established that not only is the Aether one of the infinity stones, but it also retconned the Tesseract from Captain America and Avengers to be one too. So as much as people want to ignore it, we have no choice but to watch for a full recap. So the Stone count for now is 2 with the Reality Stone (Aether) in possession of the Collector and the Space Stone (Tesseract) inside of Odin's vault. Two down, four to go.
So to sum it up there's the seeds of a great movie in here but it's held back with some superfluous characters and the MCU's biggest reoccurring problem, a truly compelling, entertaining or well rounded villain who isn't named Loki. I can definitely see why people rank this movie as low as they do but I can still get some fun out of it. Next time there's no debate to the quality. As the March to Infinity has us in pursuit of the Winter Solder.
Special thanks to my Patreon backer Jesse for his support.
Thor The Dark World is owned by Marvel Studios, produced by Keven Feige based off the comic by Larry Leiber, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
The Ren & Stimpy show is owned by Bob Camp, John Kricfalusi, Spümcø, Games Animation and Nickelodeon.