Tom HIddleson LokiDark Elves, monsters and Tom Hiddleston as Loki in ‘Thor: The Dark World’ — what can go wrong? Not much, really. Audiences seem to agree:

Marvel Studios and Disney’s Thor: The Dark World thundered its way to a $86.1 million domestic launch as it continued its global assault, finishing the weekend with a sizeable $327 million in worldwide ticket sales.

That’s an impressive start considering the first Thor, which debuted to $65.7 million domestically in May 2011, grossed $449.3 million globally in all. The sequel nabbed one of the top November openings of all time in North America, although it couldn’t quite match the $88.4 million earned by Skyfall on the same weekend a year ago.

Marvel Studios is making it look easy at this point, which is rather impressive given the number of moving parts each of these films have. Kevin Feige, President of Production at Marvel Studios, must be eating his Cheerios or Wheaties over the last couple of years, because his job performance has been strong.

Anyone who goes to ‘Thor: The Dark World’ looking for a complex plot will be disappointed: Creatures of darkness want to fill all of existence filled with darkness. Thor must stop them. He does. The end.

Those who are looking for a little action, a little adventure, a helping of humor and a good dose of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki making everything he touches awesome will be pleased. Adopted kid who has all sorts of issues with mother, father and brother constantly plots and plans ways to show that he loves them  — and hates them — to death. The end.

Chris Hemsworth does a fine job as Thor — he looks the part, is believably noble and worthy of Mjolnir — but it’s the nature of his relationship with his adopted brother Loki that makes the trek to the movie theater worth it. Hiddleston, in many ways, is the glue that holds the whole thing together. Without him, ‘The Dark World’ becomes an exponentially duller film. It may seem sad that, in his own movie, Thor needs Loki in order to achieve his full box-office potential, but is it really? You can’t have Yin without Yang, and you can’t fully appreciate Thor’s honor without holding him up to the actions of his mischievous brother.

At one point in ‘The Dark World’ Thor says, “Mother wouldn’t want us to fight.” Loki’s response: ” But she wouldn’t be that surprised.” Note to Thor: moviegoers want you to fight. We like when the anger and the jealously and the sibling rivalry plays out on screen because in our own mini-Asgards we deal with it every day. Do we overcome the pettiness and achieve great things, or do we give into our darker half and do as Loki would? If we see ourselves as manipulators, do we manipulate to serve our own selfish ends, or do we manipulate others so that they might soar? Seeing that struggle as depicted by Hiddleston is what elevates Marvel’s second Thor movie from “I’ll wait until it’s on Netflix” to “I’ll be there opening weekend sitting one row behind the girl with the Thor outfit on.”

If you’re looking for a fun “popcorn” movie to see this November, make a trip to see Thor’s second solo movie. If you want to see something that is critically acclaimed that doesn’t lend itself to carelessly flicking popcorn into your mouth, see “12 years a slave.”

Note: To the person who sees Marvel movies and then continues to leave as soon as the end credits begin to roll, I have a question for you: Why? You know you’re not supposed to, but you do it anyway. I say this out of love: Get with the program, already.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

62 comments

  1. Meh. It was okay. I don’t really buy into the hype of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for a few reasons I’d like to tell you about but that I don’t have the time for right now.

    1. I really enjoyed the movie. The only real MCU misstep, in my opinion, has been Iron Man 3. Where else but in Marvel do you get elves piloting spaceships? That is awesome.

      Overall, they’ve handled the MCU much better than their current comics, to be sure.

    2. “I really enjoyed the movie. The only real MCU misstep, in my opinion, has been Iron Man 3.”

      *Cough* Iron Man 2 and the First Thor movie *Uncough*

      “Where else but in Marvel do you get elves piloting spaceships?”

      Wow…and here I thought you got out more than Doug . 😉

    3. Iron Man 2, after I rewatched it recently, wasn’t as bad as I initally thought. And I enjoyed the first Thor movie as well.

      And yes, Doug, it is cool.

    4. I think RDJ saved Iron Man 2. It was obviously rushed … but he’s so good as Tony Stark that he could make a movie that should be a bomb entertaining.

      I vaguely remember when Marvel announced the release date, Jon Favreau was basically like, “Umm, that’s news to me.” I think he was under the impression he’d have another year to figure it all out, and then they moved up the date. I’m sure it had to do with everything getting set up for The Avengers, but it still hurt the movie.

      I think I read somewhere that they also had a tough time writing everything because it had to be a stand alone film that didn’t mess up any of their plans for The Avengers. Like I said in this post on ‘The Dark World,’ there’s a lot of moving parts. These movies are tough because they’re all intertwined. That’s what’s so cool about the Marvel movies, but it also makes it harder for the writers and directors — especially on a tight deadline.

    5. Indeed, Doug. It’s definitely not an easy undertaking, but they’re doing an excellent job at it. The heroes of the MCU are more heroic than the heroes in any contemporary comic from Marvel or DC.

      And yes, Emmanuel, I think the idea of elves in spaceships is cool. You wouldn’t see that in LOTR, which I also enjoy, and that’s what it makes it unique.

  2. Fantastically written this blog you have on Thor.. I just saw Thor for the first time a month or so ago. I hate looking at ugly creatures and I don’t relish in anger or fighting. But I’m a woman, and his Nobility was irresistible !!! And Funny!! So I want to see the next one for sure. Yours Truly, Joyce Stanley 954-594-7627

    >

  3. “Iron Man 2, after I rewatched it recently, wasn’t as bad as I initally thought.”

    You’re right, it was A LOT worse. I mean, when I first say it in theaters I thought it was cool, but after watching it again and again I realized that I was feeling as empty as I was, not because of over-hyped expectations, but because the movie was as substantial as what’s left in the toilet after I eat a hot-pocket and drink Hot Cocoa.

    “And I enjoyed the first Thor movie as well.”

    Did you especially enjoy the insufferable so called ‘chemistry’ between the male and female lead and the tremendous anti-climax and waste of an epic potential fight scene with the Destroyer, even though in the comics, that thing was hella tough to bring down? 😛

    1. No, I mean, it was better than what I had initially thought. Iron Man 3 was okay, but it was definitely worse than number two.

      And I thought that Thor and Jane Foster had decent chemistry together. I think you’re nitpicking here. The Destroyer wasn’t supposed to be the final villain… it was Loki.

    2. “No, I mean, it was better than what I had initially thought. Iron Man 3 was okay, but it was definitely worse than number two.”

      That’s like saying that a shiny turd on a cookie is better than a turd that ain’t so reflective like on another cookie.

      At the end of that day, if you eat either of them, it’ll leave a bad taste in your mouth even if there’s good stuff because the bad stuff over-powers the good stuff.

      “And I thought that Thor and Jane Foster had decent chemistry together.”

      Thor: You’re hot!

      Jane: And your Swedish!

      Thor: Jaaaa! Ikea!

      *Cue gratuitous make out session*

      Yeah, ‘decent’ chemistry right there.

      ‘I think you’re nitpicking here.’

      No…Nitpicking would be like criticizing Thor for not having his helmet on most of the time and some of the effects.

      “The Destroyer wasn’t supposed to be the final villain…”

      Nope nope, stop right there. This is the same kind of logic that allowed a cool villain like the Mandarin, who was SUPPOSED to be a big epic obstacle for the hero to overcome to be utterly butt raped by Hollywood endorsed anti-con truther nonsense. In a frickin’ THOR movie, I want, expect, and NEED for a massive threat like the Destroyer not be completely pussified and defeated by Thor just flying through him with Mjolnir and preferably with more than a small New Mexican town with nothing large enough for anybody to give two shits about being destroyed.

      “…it was Loki…”

      I refer you to the Nostalgia Critic laughing:

      In all seriousness though, yes. I could very well see Thor going after Loki and beating down his ass as easily as he did and dropping him down a weird space/time disturbance…in a movie where their relationship was better fleshed out and thus that fight would have had a lot more drama and impact and/or a movie where the fight with the Destroyer wasn’t as disappointing as it was.

      Such as things are though, I think I’ll take the ending to Man of Steel over the end of the first Thor movie any day. Better action, better destruction, better effects (even if it is kind of hard to tell what’s going on at times and if they are kind a rubbery at times) and generally more emotional and gripping, especially for a first outing.

    3. What!! No!! Iron Man 3 was tons better than the 2nd. But I like all the Marvel movies, truly. Thor TDW is one of the best, if not the best, solo films! XD

    4. Wow. That’s some serious praise for TDW. I actually thought the five minute trailer for Winter Soldier was impressive. I’m pretty excited for that one, even if I’m worried about some of the political messaging they’re likely to insert…

    5. *Shakes head* Whatever, dude. You’re over-analyzing things here. I agree with you regarding the Mandarin, obviously, but there’s no comparison between the changes they made to him and the Destroyer. The Destroyer was pretty much the same entity as seen in the comics.

    6. I didn’t really have high expectations for the first Thor movie, honestly. I never really liked him in the comics growing up. He was always sort of a goof to me. Basically, when I went into the theater for the first one I just didn’t want to cringe during the movie. As you say in your review, it’s a gorgeous film. Great cinematography, gents. In some ways I just didn’t want them to screw up the momentum leading up to the first ‘Avengers’ flick. In my mind, mission accomplished.

      Your review makes some good points, and I suppose looking back on it I probably didn’t need to see it. But…it’s a Marvel movie. I’m going to see it. I think kids growing up now are spoiled. They don’t know what it’s like to be tortured for YEARS on a big screen Spider-Man film that never shows up. Years and years and years of rumors never panned out until they finally did in 2002. I’m not going to lie, I cried a little bit as ‘Spider-Man’ started because I wished for it to happen since I was a little kid. I think on some level I just have to see all (or most) Marvel movies just because I remember a time when a big budget Marvel movie was just a pipe dream.

      In short, yes, I liked ‘The Dark World’ more than the first movie.

  4. “I think RDJ saved Iron Man 2.”

    No…just…no. Even his hammy Johny Depp like overacting couldn’t save that less than to exactly mediocre waste of good potential, even if a great deal of the music for the soundtrack was better than the previous Iranian dude’s.

    Why? I’ll let Captain Logan explain in ways that my lackadaisical writing would fail at:

    “Where else but in Marvel do you get elves piloting spaceships?”

    Ummm…as a watcher of Atop The Fourth Wall (at least, before Linkara went all out liberal on us), I thought that you would know, even if Doug didn’t, that being laughably ludicrous is a hallmark of the comic book industry (especially superhero fiction) in general, and that no one company or brand holds a monopoly on the sheer levels of awesomeness and craziness of the medium.

    Now that my serious response is out of the way, here’s my snarky anti-Marvelite pro-DC response:

    “Oh yeah, well does Marvel have its Heroines FIGHTING SUPER INTELLIGENT GORILLAS WITH ADVANCED WEAPONRY!?”

    1. I never said that any company had any monopoly on craziness or awesomeness. And I’m a fan of both Marvel and DC. I don’t have a preference for one company or the other.

    2. For me it’s not a popularity contest. I like both Marvel and DC. I don’t see why you’re making a big deal out of my elves and spaceships comment.

    3. I know, I know. I’m a fan of both too (though, not the comics wok of either now adays. Much to liberal for me). I was just having a good natured ribbing at your expense is all.

      (Marvel, after all, does have ROBO BEAR VS. CYBER GORILLA).

      I did say that my DC was response was the snarky and not serious one, didn’t I?

    4. “I don’t see why you’re making a big deal out of my elves and spaceships comment.”

      Well, the logic behind my earlier comment was that you made it seem like crazy stuff didn’t happen like that all the time in non-marvel related comics (which it does) or media based on non-marvel comics (see first parenthesis).

      Again, I’m not angry at you, just pointing out how exclusive your statement was, as though the rest of the comic book industry was sane compared to Marvel being insane. 😉

    5. I gave this review 12:30. I think that’s pretty generous. Here’s the most interesting lines from the first half of the review:

      “I think it is overall it’s a riot of a movie. It’s often wildly funny and it’s easy to get lost and its charms and ignore the problems. This is a movie I’ll happily watch again.”

      “So the idea of Tony refusing to accept his own mortality because it conflicts with the identity he’s built for himself is my favorite idea in the film and the one that most pays off in a subtle and sophisticated way.”

      So the guy goes to the theater and really enjoys it. He says he’ll “happily” watch it again. He believes that the most essential idea that the film is trying to explore (i.e., how we confront our own mortality) pays off in “subtle and sophisticated” ways. And yet I’m supposed to believe the movie is a complete waste? Sorry, not buying it. It definitely had its problems, but it wasn’t horrible.

      It’s only after analyzing the film to death, in a 23:26 video (that was really a hell of a lot longer with writing, multiple takes, and final editing for YouTube), that it becomes a “bad” movie.

      Essentially, this guy is admitting that it’s a good “popcorn” flick. He enjoyed it while he was eating popcorn in the theater — just like you apparently did. So while it has its problems, it’s still a decent movie. I’d give it a ‘B-‘ if I was grading it. Like I said, Robert Downey Jr. saves the flick. Even the reviewer says he saw “fantastic action and … incredibly entertaining performances from Robert Downey Jr. and … Mickey Rourke.” He says that “charisma, charm and lovable arrogance” are all there and that he “loved” Don Cheadle. For a movie that is so bad, this guy went to great lengths to talk about its positive points.

    6. I still watch the show, although I’m considerably less enthusiastic about it than I once was, and on more than one occasion I’ve considered dropping the show altogether. It just hasn’t been funny recently and I’ve lost interest in the storyline, since the past two have dragged on forever. Plus like Emmanuel said, Linkara lately hasn’t been exactly shy about his political views on the show. He claimed to be a conservative in a recent review (seriously), but when it comes to social views, he has more in common with liberals than conservatives. One commenter called him a RINO.

    7. Sounds less RINO and more “socially liberal, economically conservative” which Jonah Goldberg’s always claimed doesn’t exist so we better send Linkara to AEI stat!

  5. “Indeed, Doug. It’s definitely not an easy undertaking, but they’re doing an excellent job at it.”

    Yes, I suppose on a pass or fail scale, doing an excellent job would be REAL hard…

    1. I’m calling DC fan who has a serious case of “sour grapes” right now. You’ve got some mighty big blinders on if you can see how great of a job Marvel Studios has done since its inception. All movie studios have clunkers (e.g., Elektra), but overall Marvel has learned from its mistakes and has really been hitting its stride lately. It’s a shame they can’t get their comics in order… but that’s another story.

    2. ‘Sour Grapes?’ At what?

      All I’m ‘Sour Grapes’ about is all this largely undeserved praise for Marvel Studios because most of the films they’ve turned out are just average or slightly above with a few gems of legitimate B to A ratings, yet everyone here seems to act like everything they’ve made are the Citizen Kanes of superhero movies.

      I’m not denying that the box office success of the MCU films is gonna help DC get into shape and finally stop letting Marvel and their fans trample all over it in Film (except comics and animation. In comics, the crap to quality factor for both is about even and in animation, we see a reverse trend than the one seen in film between the two companies) like I hope the GOP finally gets into shape and stops letting the Democrats trample over it.

      What I AM denying is that the quality of the majority of films Marvel Studios has put out are anything to get as hyped up as people tend to be about them.

      In fact, speaking of hype, I contend that that has been the primary force behind the success of even the weakest of these films. For it was inside that hype, we had the HOPE that Marvel would finally create a cohesive Cinematic Universe that were like actual comics in how they interconnected and people would like that kind of Serialized fiction in Cinema rather than shun it and that said bit of serialized fiction would be ‘good enough.’ A hope that was largely fulfilled by the success of The Avengers.

      In summation, I propose that the reason the Marvel Cinematic Universe has done so well is primarily because of the hope, some might say, FAITH, that it would get better, and in light of Iron Man 3 and Thor 2, I propose that this faith is still THE primary factor, with The Avengers just being a special animal that is the exception rather than the rule that justifies this faith.

  6. I know Chris Hemsworth acted rather marvelous, but you are right. If Tom was not in this movie as Loki…well….the movie probably would have been quite a flop. I enjoyed it immensely, I did. Haha, but Loki (Tom) took Thor TDW to heights it otherwise would not have reached.

    1. Thanks for the read and comment, Sammy Jo. I really appreciate it. Yes, Tom does an amazing job with Loki. I hope they have him under contract for a few more flicks. He’s a great asset.

  7. “I’m calling DC fan who has a serious case of “sour grapes” right now. You’ve got some mighty big blinders on if you can see how great of a job Marvel Studios has done since its inception.”

    I agree, Doug. I don’t like the whole immature “Marvel vs DC/which one is better” fights, since, as I mentioned, I’m a fan of both. Plus I think it makes fandom look bad.

    And DC is in the process of getting its Cinematic Universe off the ground. I think the success of the Avengers certainly helped with that possibility and made studios realize that you can do movies with multiple superheroes and be successful. It’s no longer just a dream.

    1. That’s the thing: it’s not a zero-sum game. They act as if Marvel benefiting means DC is losing something. Well, actually, Marvel benefiting means that Hollywood producers are going to give any number of DC properties a second or third look.

    2. Indeed, it will encourage them to consider adapting characters other than Batman and Superman for a change. I see nothing but positives for DC, because the MCU’s success convinced studio heads that you can do a live action superhero flick with multiple, different superheroes.

  8. I enjoyed Thor TDW more than the first. I’m also going to say I thought it was the best comic book movie I had seen all year.

    I’m going to see Gravity on Wednesday. My other half has her new darts league meetings on Wednesdays so I’m going to see all the films she doesn’t want to see on Wednesdays.

    1. “I’m also going to say I thought it was the best comic book movie I had seen all year.”

      Me: HAHAHAHAHAHA…wow…you really don’t have a functioning set of standards then, do you?

      *Gets a grip of self*

      I’m sorry if my laughter has offended you. I truly am.

      I will give you that Thor 2 is a somewhat better film than the first one. I’ll also give you that it was better than Iron Man 3, and I’ll give you that Iron Man 3 was better than that below average to mediocore film known as Iron Man 2, but saying it’s the best you’ve seen this year?

      On what grounds do you hate Man of Steel so much to say it was worse than this slightly above the ranks of above average film known as Thor 2?

  9. I have liked all of the Iron Man movies (two was my least favorite of the 3). The Thor movies were also good.
    Good popcorn films.

    1. And that’s all they need to be. When I see a superhero film, if I’m entertained and they don’t get political and/or deviate too much from the comics (although I understand that the movies are a different medium), I’m cool with it. I’m not expecting “Casablanca” or Citizen Kane when I see a superhero film.

    2. @Carl

      You know Carl…you’re the reason comic book movies sucked way back when. If you see this post, I’ll respond to you and explain better, but for right now, I’m still ‘seething’ with complete and utter contempt for the statement, “And that’s all they need to be.’

      Look. You’re a nice guy. Definitely more conservative than I am and less filled with complete and utter wrath and other sin. If I had your home situation, I probably would have snapped and physically assaulted your sister. Lord knows I’ve wanted to do that to my sister and if my sister ever evolved into YOUR sister…

      *Pinches bridge of nose*

      Anyways Carl, don’t take this personally, but I have this to refer to your opinion. Not you personally, just your opinion.

      Love the sinner but hate the sin and all that:

    3. Uh, ok, I don’t really see how I’m the reason why comic book movies sucked way back when. I don’t know why you’d get worked up over my statement. I’m not trying to argue with you. Don’t really see how you’d be “seething” at that statement.

      I do know how to control my anger, although it can be tough, and I like to think that I’m getting better at doing so.

    4. And I’m not a violent man by any stretch of the imagination, but I would never assault my sister. Although I’ve often expressed cynicism about her, I hope (perhaps futilely) that she’ll grow up someday.

      I wouldn’t call it my home situation so much, since she no longer lives at home and I have a pretty good relationship with my folks.

    5. Thanks, Doug. I think we ought to go back to what you said much earlier in the thread: a DC fan is having sour grapes right now and has blinders on regarding the success of Marvel Studios.

      I’m not trying to instigate an argument with Emmannuel, yet he always seems to go in with the wise guy sarcasm and try to start arguments with people for no reason.

    6. Look at his response to Andrew calling Thor: the Dark World: “HAHAHAHAHAHA…wow…you really don’t have a functioning set of standards then, do you?” What was that really necessary? He could’ve simply agreed to disagree.

    7. I’m with you Carl, let the comic stand on its own when adapting the movies; that’s why the characters got popular in the first place……..though, I must admit I’m curious to see the dots connected on how it’s “your fault” movies were bad before you were born or when you were a small child 😉; growing up in a time where we wished for more comics inspired movies; I’m glad they are at least getting them out there.

    8. I too am curious about how I’m somehow at fault for that, Pat, because I think his comments were more than a little uncalled for.

    9. I also remember- vaguely, mind you- an era before they started making more superhero films. Batman and Robin nearly killed the genre in 1997 before Blade and the first X-Men film revived interest in it.

    10. Blade was an incredibly important film for the genre. I remember when that came out… It was pretty awesome, and it showed the potential that existed for studios if they were willing to look into the vast library of characters Marvel/DC had at their disposal.

    11. Yes, I agree uncalled for, you were very polite and professional in your reply. Yes, I can’t even get to upset at batman and robin, when I was little all we had was Christopher Reeve’s movies and Lou Ferigno’s tacky green body paint! I do have fun memories of getting up obnoxiously early on Saturdays to watch the fantastic four and spiderman cartoons, I’d watch with my brother. Then there was a weird “friendly” Godzilla cartoon where he’d follow a research ship that somehow had kids on it…..this is why I like the amount of movies out today!

    12. I hadn’t seen Emmanuel’s reply but he has done his classic by assuming I hated Man of Steel.

      Fact is I go to watch comic book movies to be entertained. Thor was very entertaining thanks to another excellent performance by Tom Hiddlestone.

      As for Man of Steel, there are many problems with it but I didn’t hate it

    13. Same here, Andrew. But apparently Emmannuel doesn’t think that way and always goes for the cheap wiseguy comments whenever someone disagrees with him. You try to be tactful and not lose your cool, but some of his comments (like him insinuating that I’m specifically the reason why comic book movies sucked at one time) irritate me. Doug called him out on the sarcastic wiseguy act in the JCVD Volvo video he posted. He can dish it out, but can’t take it.

  10. @Carl

    “a DC fan is having sour grapes right now and has blinders on regarding the success of Marvel Studios.”

    *Pulls up sleeves*

    Hey Carl, I don’t wanna make Doug think I’m a bigger jerk than he already thinks I am, so do want to take this outside to your blog like gentlemen, sir?

    1. Hey Carl, I don’t wanna make Doug think I’m a bigger jerk than he already thinks I am, so do want to take this outside to your blog like gentlemen, sir?

      I don’t think you’re a jerk. I don’t even need to bother trying to define you because you’ve already defined yourself on multiple occasions:

      I’ve always been an angry person. I remember once, when I was a kid, that I took anger management classes in Grade school. Back then I was liable to, if I didn’t like people or certain situation, run away screaming and yelling and fall down somewhere kicking and scream. I’ve improved since then with only a few instances like that and a few where I punched my stronger and littler brother, but my anger hasn’t abated, it’s only been channeled into more healthy pursuits…

      Yeah, I am a bit a glass cannon kind of a stinker/ornery cuss, ain’t I? […] I am a ten-inch willy whose not half as smart or clever as he thinks he is and tends to go in half cocked when a topic comes up that I feel emotional about or don’t really have a dog in…

      I just don’t understand why you would continue to behave in a way that doesn’t particularly endear you to the individuals you’re trying to have a conversation with. Is your end game to convince Carl, Andrew and others to change their point of view? If so, taking the “ornery cuss” route with individuals who want nothing to do with ornery cusses is a bizarre method for achieving your goals.

    2. Indeed, this whole mantra of constantly starting arguments for the sake of doing is quite irritating. I just don’t see how having a differing opinion can warrant the kind of responses he’s given me in this particular thread and also at my blog.

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