EDITORIAL: What THOR: THE DARK WORLD Must Do To Succeed

With Thor: TDW’s release just around the corner, reviews have started to spread online. So before my views are tainted by what actually happens in the film, I break down my key points for this sequel to succeed. Hit the jump for more.

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By EdwardNashton - 10/29/2013
While there’s not much overtly wrong with it, Thor is one of my least favorite Marvel movies. Maybe they’ve set the bar too high for themselves on occasion, or maybe it was just a run-of-the-mill adventure movie that happened to star a comic book character. Nevertheless, I’m still excited about Thor: The Dark World. Hearing things like a more Norse-influenced Asgard and an exploration of the nine realms already give me hope for this one, but here are some more items I believe need to be addressed to ensure the greatest success possible.

1. Earn the Darkness



I blame The Dark Knight for instilling this ‘darkness’ theme into so many movies. If The Dark World wants to be dark, then great, but that means thematically, and not just visually. Using a grainy color palette and an emphasis on realism does not qualify as ‘dark’. If they’re to embrace this concept, then I want to see evil and despair. The villain should be less cartoony than Loki (we’ll get to that) and the stakes need to be dire (i.e. people actually dying). I want to see Thor stop his wisecracks for a bit because he’s so broken and angry, and I want that feeling to carry over to the end of the film, otherwise, what's the point of the darkness?

2. Make Loki a Background Character



Yes, everybody loves Loki, he’s charming and we all love to hate him, I get it. But the movie is called Thor, not Loki. It’s all well and good if he tags along as a foil to his brother for a bit, but I do not want him stealing the show (although it might be too late for that). We’ve already seen Loki star in two films, meaning he’s been developed and we already have a good sense of who he is. This is Thor’s film, so he should be used sparingly, not overstay his welcome, and he should not be stealing time from either our hero or the real villain...

3. Develop Malekith Into a Worthy Adversary



The dark elf is here for a reckoning that has something to do with Bor and reclaiming his lost world. There have been comparisons to Nero from Star Trek, and I do not know if that’s good or bad, but it at least gives a sense of the character. For someone to have Odin as concerned as he sounds in those trailers, Malekith better be one hell of a villain. After two face-offs with his malicious brother, I think Thor's due a more calm villain, one whose stoic manner will make his headstrong nature all the more obvious. And if Malekith's cause really is righteous, we better have enough time with him to actually care about it.

4. Place Importance on Earth



One of my biggest annoyances with Thor comes from a climax that completely lacked gravitas. Thor defending some tiny town in the middle of a desert? Who cares? The stakes were nowhere near high enough after we’d spent half the movie in larger-than-life fantasy landscapes. If Earth is to be a key setting in the film, which, judging by the trailers, it is, more of it needs to feel truly threatened. It appears as if Malekith will reach Earth, specifically London, before the end of the film, so it is important that his threat feels large-scale or risk losing much of the danger he presents as a villain.

5. Balance the Tone



Part of my unhappiness with Thor stems from the constant jump in tone. It went from Shakespearian family drama to fish out of water comedy to fantasy action film to science-fiction. The genre was all over the place and The Dark World needs to balance it out better. There should be a consistent feel throughout the film that’s highlighted with bits of these other genres. For example, I want to see a fantasy film that incorporates humor and action, not a fantasy-action-science fiction-comedy.

6. Link to the Rest of Phase 2 and Beyond



If there’s one thing Marvel is exceedingly brilliant at, it’s setting up their sequels and expanding their universe with each film, and I expect this outing will be no different. It seems all but confirmed that The Collector will appear, setting up next year’s Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s also been fan speculation that Surtur may be revealed as the true force behind Malekith and could be set up as a future villain. In any event, there’s no specific reference or easter egg I want to see, but with the broad scope and setting of this film, there ought to be at least some hint at what’s to come.

What does Thor: The Dark World need to satisfy you? Do you agree with my points, have some of your own? Let me know in the comments
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12 Comments
vandinejd - 10/29/2013, 1:27 PM
So if Thor is your least favorite then which Marvel film do you like the best?
npamusic - 10/29/2013, 2:07 PM
I'm hoping for the film to succeed.
StatenMan18 - 10/29/2013, 2:53 PM
As long as the it's exciting the action is epic and the humor doesn't kill alllll of the tension, then it'll be fine for me. Apparently the dark elf villain isn't as evil as he should not does he have sufficient screen time but I hope he's good.. I want this movie to be sick
dellamorte1872 - 10/29/2013, 4:03 PM
i wated to see this specifically bc of being a huge Dr Who supporter, but it w. maybe orries me the thing ive been hearing maybe i shouldnt go to the theater for this either i refused to see IM3 in the theater this nonsensical humor needs to stop!
dellamorte1872 - 10/29/2013, 6:09 PM
why arent there any GOOD villains any more? we gt 2 great ones out of how many attempts?
Transforminator - 10/29/2013, 6:24 PM
LMAO you're probably going to only get 2 out of all those things you've put on the wish list for this film.
dellamorte1872 - 10/29/2013, 6:25 PM
2 GREAT - JOKER, LOKI
4 OK - RED SKULL, WAR MONGER, SCARECROW, DR OCK
5 DISMISSAL - BANE, RAS AL GHUL (DUCARD HYBRID?), GREEN GOBLIN DAFOE, CATWOMAN, TALIA AL GHUL
6 HORRIBLE - VENOM, GREEN GOBLIN FRANCO, SANDMAN (OTHER THAN LOOK, HIS APPEARANCE IS SPOT ON), LIZARD, ALDRICH MANDARIN + ALL OF IM3'S STUPIDITY, WHIPLASH (NEEDLESS DYNAMO REFERENCES IF NOTHING COMES OF IT ULTIMATELY), JUSTIN HAMMER, CHITTAURI, ABOMINATION (WHATS WRONG WITH BEING A RIVAL SCIENTIST TRYING TO STEAL BANNER'S FORMULA?)

NO COMMENT ON ZOD A LA SHANNON I HAVENT SEEN THE FILM YET WAITING FOR CABLE
dellamorte1872 - 10/29/2013, 6:26 PM
sorry more than 6
SauronsBANE1 - 10/30/2013, 11:17 AM
Wow great article, this deserves more thumbs up and comments. I completely agree with you about the first Thor movie. I didn't hate it, but it just wasn't memorable. Very average.

I agree with you for the most part with your points. Unfortunately, Marvel clearly does not. As you said, I hear that Loki definitely steals the show here. Marvel knows the positive fan reaction to Loki, so I'm sure they will milk every last bit out of him.

Unfortunately it seems they played up Loki at the expense of fleshing out Malekith. He apparently only gets a few scenes total, which is incredibly disappointing to hear.

As for the tone, I've also heard it jumps all over the place. Very serious and somber scenes will immediately be followed up by Darcy and her boyfriend acting dumb and making dumb jokes. It's apparently very jarring.

I'll still check it out, but my expectations are definitely lowered. As long as it's better than the 1st movie, I'll be happy
Wallymelon - 10/30/2013, 6:05 PM
This is a nice article man. I however really liked Thor. I felt it balanced all the genres quite nicely. The movie left the majority of people wanting to see more of that world. I really think Thor is one of the hardest characters from on of the hardest books to portray on film/get across to audiences. I mean that because Thor has to exist within a world of guys that build robot suits. The first Thor did just that.

I can truthfully admit that I went to to the film expecting complete crap and was greatly surprised. That is a bias I can put aside to say the film is solid. Not amazing and the 3rd act and some of the aesthetic could have been much better. As a whole it's a nice little sci-fi fantasy hybrid.

The sequel does seem like it has gone in the right direction, but we have to be really happy that Kenneth Brannagh was hired to direct the first film, and cast the cast that we have, and really help define that balance of modern comedy and Shakespearian drama.

MaximusRodd - 10/31/2013, 3:20 AM
Well, I for one had NO faith in Taylor. G.O.T. left me cold. I was afraid he'd piss on Kirby. It is yet to be seen, so I have hope. Still, if you notice, the weak link is that Portman who if you examine her as a person has little interest actually in acting. Good thing for her. She can't. Bad thing for us. All the weak shit comes out of her mouth. Even Kat Dennings is Kat Dennings, but I buy it. Not Portman's Foster. Think about it, it says something. Hemsworth gives it is all and has to react to "THAT".
bbman182 - 11/7/2013, 10:46 PM
Just saw it... I think it encompassed all those things. Great movie.

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