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In Not Guilty, we look at movies and TV shows that the general consensus tells us we should feel bad for liking, but that our hearts tell us we should give a second look — “guilty pleasures” we don’t feel guilty about. This time around, we turn our attention to the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Thor: The Dark World.
I’ve always had a strange love for the Thor movies in the MCU. Until Thor: Ragnarok, these weren’t really the most popular of the franchise. The first Thor movie has its strengths, between the excellent casting and Kenneth Branagh at the helm. The second movie doesn’t have Kenneth Branagh, but it more than makes up for it by just being ridiculous.
The first two Thor movies are unique, in that the female love interest, Natalie Portman, actually has quite a large role. In Thor: The Dark World, she’s not just pivotal to the story — there wouldn’t be a story without her. By bonding with (merging with? being infected by?) the Aether, she sets off a chain of events that awakens Malekith, the Dark Elf.
Admittedly, she spends the bulk of the movie playing the damsel in distress, but Jane’s weapon has never been her muscles. It’s her mind. And she wields it in the best way she can.
As she’s being examined by the Asgardian doctors, she’s able to understand the technology they are using, even though they’re light years ahead of humans. And she’s always trying to learn more about her situation and how to help herself; she’s not comfortable relying on the Asgardians for protection.
This movie has Zachary Levi and Chris O’Dowd in it
Chris O’Dowd might have forgotten he actually was in this movie, but he lives on in our hearts. And Zachary Levi is nigh unrecognizable in the role of Fandral, one of the Warriors Three.
Idris Elba gets his hero moment
Idris Elba pretty much stayed in one place for the duration of the first Thor movie. It was really exciting that he got the chance to move during The Dark World. In fact, he took down an entire Dark Elf ship basically by running and jumping on it and then stabbing it.
Malekith isn’t actually physically dark
Despite being called a “Dark Elf,” Malekith doesn’t actually have dark skin. This may not matter to most of you, but as a kid who grew up on Tolkien and worlds inspired by Lord of the Rings, can I just say it gets really old when the good, light, amazing elves are pasty skinned and blond haired, while the bad elves always have dark skin and evil hearts?
It was so refreshing, then, to finally see a dark elf villain that has white skin? Thank you, Marvel, for not being racist. At least, not in this particular instance.
Thor and Loki working together after everything they’ve been through
When Thor goes to Loki for help smuggling Jane off Asgard, I always cheer. The Thor movies are best when these two are working together, however reluctantly. Loki can’t help but turn everything into a joke, even when the stakes are at their highest, which gives The Dark World some much-needed levity.
I’m not going to lie, this might be the main reason I love Thor: The Dark World. I’m a sucker for a good movie score; I listen to them all the time while I’m working. I love a grand orchestral theme, and I adore a soundtrack that makes me feel something, just through its music. That’s how I feel about The Dark World soundtrack.
Brian Tyler builds on Patrick Doyle’s themes from the original movie to put together a film score that honestly doesn’t have a dull moment. There’s not a lot of subtlety here, but we’re talking about a man with long blond locks who rides around a rainbow space bridge wielding a magical hammer and wearing actual armor and a red cape. If you’re criticizing the soundtrack of this movie for not being more subtle, have you even seen a Marvel movie?
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's, and do not necessarily reflect those of SYFY WIRE, SYFY, or NBC Universal.