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Thor: The Dark World (Blu-ray Review)

Thor-The-Dark-WorldThe second film in Marvel’s “Phase 2”, Thor: The Dark World, is coming your way on Blu-ray.  I was a bigger fan than most on the original Thor, and I really think that film was a good set up with the characters and introduction to the Thor-verse to take it to another level with this second film.  Those who may not have taken kindly to the first film or felt it wasn’t what they wanted might be more pleasantly surprised with this second visit to Asgard.  And that they did this second time around.  Everybody returns to gives us a solid, fun sci-fi/fantasy adventure complete with that wonderful Hemsworth smile.  Cool enough too, it also gives us our first little sneak peak at the upcoming Guardians Of Galaxy as Thor’s world is the most natural gateway into that.

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Film 

Following the events of The Avengers, Loki is imprisoned upon his return to Asgard.  Thor has just finished the final battle that will ultimate restore the Bifrost, the passage to all Nine Realms.  He also learns of the coming Convergence that will align the Nine Realms.  Because of this, portals have randomly opened up all over linking the all the Nine Realms together.  On Earth, Jane Foster discovers one of these portals and is transferred to a realm where she is infected with Aether.

When Jane is consumed with the Aether, she awakens Malekith and his people.  They are a group of dark elves who once tried to destroy the universe using their weapon, the same Aether that is consuming Jane.  Back in this time, Odin defeated Malekith and hid the Aether, leaving the dark elves into a suspended animation.  Hearing of Jane’s weird readings, Thor returns to Earth and takes her to Asgard to dig further into what has happened to her.

For his second outing, Thor turns in a grander scale film that more realizes the potential and visual creativity of his universe.  The film plays a fun science fiction fantasy adventure enriched with his all his personal relationships.  If anything, this film plays in a sense like I would have imagined an ultimate Superman universe to play out.  As a matter of fact, after Man of Steel last summer, I said I’d rather see a Krypton prequel than I would a sequel.  And here, Thor pretty much delivers upon what I was looking for there and then some.  It’s also got a sense of space action, dogfighting and the like that I really enjoy in Star Wars movies as well.  But all in all, it’s still a Thor movie through and through and never truly feels like it’s knocking anything off.  If anything “inspired” would be the good term to use.

Malekith ends up being the weakest piece of the film.  I was excited when they cast Christopher Eccleston in the role and also jumped for joy when pictures came out with the look of him and his minions.  However, the end result is a poorly realized, empty villain.  While he does commit an act in the film that should serve as importance, you never really feel the weight of it from him or the characters he’s facing.  I was reminded a lot of Eric Bana’s “Nero” from Star Trek (2009).  He’s nothing more than just “the bad guy”.  He’s just out for destruction and against are heroes and that’s literally all we get.  As a matter of fact, I have no hesitation at saying he’s easily the weakest villain in the entire Avengers series of films so far.  The Aether itself has more depth and development than he does, but in the end, maybe the Aether is the real villain of Thor: The Dark World.

We may have a weak villain in the film, but it really manages to overcome it with great chemistry in the cast, some terrific sets, costuming, humor and marvelous action sequences.  This is a universe I just get right on board with and want to have it continued to be explored further and further.  I love the melding of medieval and sci-fi with its cities, weaponry and outfits.  I also love that the film not only wants to have us thrilled with a big fight scene, they want us to laugh during it too.  It doesn’t take itself entirely seriously and it just wants you to have fun with it.  Everyone here has different comedic abilities, timing and have grown quite well into those shoes.

Thor: The Dark World is sort of a “next step” improvement upon the first film.  It opens up Thor’s world more and gives us a grander scale of action with some greater consequences this time.  While the film suffers from a weak villain character, the “good guys” are well developed and provide enough depth and fun to overcome it.  It’s got some fun sci-fi/fantasy action and should easily prove to be a good use of just under 2 hours of watching it.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2:40.1

Clarity/Detail:  This film delivers a picture high in detail and sharp as can be.  There was an impressive moment of an exterior shot at one point that had a brick building in the distance that you could make out all the individual bricks and mortar even though it was so far away.  Thor’s outfit is incredibly detailed as well as fabrics.  Also, all of the CG effects were clean and managed to look as lifelike as can be.

Depth:  Whether on Asgard or Earth, there is a nice array of depth to any of the 9 realms.  You can really get good sense especially when Thor’s hammer travel’s from far away right into his hand in front of the screen.

Black Levels:  The Dark World was lusciously black and while it could get very dark, still managed to have an array of shades to it.  When it was steeped in black, it was actually very rich and complimentary to visible images onscreen.

Color Reproduction: As expected, the colors are well defined, saturated and bold.  Thor’s cape is such a gorgeous red and almost leaps off the screen.  This is a colorful film and the Blu-ray does its justice with replicating its palette.

Flesh Tones: Skin was consistent and solid with its colors.  Stubble, facial hair, cuts, scrapes, freckles and all sorts of marks were clear and extremely visible.

Noise/Artifacts: None that I was able to notice.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Descriptive Video Service, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese

Dynamics:  This was an incredibly engaging and explosive track.  A fully realized 7.1 audio scheme that truly brings that theatrical experience right into your living room.  Volumes measured geography and distance quite well, giving the viewer a wonderful sense of space and location.

Low Frequency Extension:  My subwoofer played a major player during battle scene.  You could feel every time Thor struck his hammer.  Also the big battles scenes rumbled and put my system to work.

Surround Sound Presentation:  There were plenty of instances in the track of taking full advantage of my rear and side speakers.  Vocals and off screen fights during battles filled up the channels as opposed to just score and ambience.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue was clear and crisp.  It was always audible and never distorted or drowned out by score or sound effects.

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Extras 

In addition to the Blu-ray comes a DVD copy and Ultraviolet copy of the film.  This array of extras is just the ticket and they have no fat to them.  None of the material is overdone or repeated through other features.  It’s a concise and focused effort.

Marvel One-Shot: All Hail The King (HD, 13:51) – Another fantastic entry into the “One-Shot” series that focuses on the faux-Mandarin from Iron Man Three, as a documentarian is doing a final interview with him on his life in prison.  As with the Peggy Carter One-Shot there’s another great cameo here in the credits.

Featurettes

  • A Brothers’ Journey: Thor & Loki – This is a making of feature that goes through the casting and events of Thor and The Avengers followed by a step by step through the story of The Dark World featuring interviews with cast and crew.

                        -Part 1 (HD, 16:58)

                        -Part 2 (HD, 14:41)

  • Exclusive Look: Captain America – The Winter Soldier (HD, 3:35) – A quick little bit featuring quick interviews from cast and crew of the upcoming Captain America sequel.  If you aren’t already privy about the identity of the Winter Soldier yet and would like to stay in the dark, avoid this.
  • Scoring Thor: The Dark World With Brian Tyler (HD, 5:21) – The composer takes us through his ideals and planning for themes in the score and then how to realize them as fully orchestrated piece.

Deleted & Extended Scenes (HD , 7:49) – Some material trimmed from the film (nothing incredibly important) that you can also play with commentary.

Gag Reel (HD, 3:30) – A montage of goofs and onset fun from the film.

Audio Commentary With Director Alan Taylor, Producer Kevin Feige, Actor Tom Hiddleston, Cinematographer Kramer Morganthau – Two separate commentary sessions have been melded together here as the four men go through scene by scene dissections.

Sneak Peaks – Trailers for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Marvel Phase 1 Blu-rays, Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, Ultimate Spider-man Season 3, Hulk & The Agents of SMASH, Need For Speed

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Summary 

Thor: The Dark World comes with an absolutely perfect presentation and a focused and not overdone slew of extras.  If you’re a sucker for the Marvel stuff like I am, then you probably decided you were buying this before you even read my review.  So, just know you’re getting your money’s worth when you pick it up.  Plus, Marvel continues to strike gold with their “One-Shot” series as evidenced with their further exploration of the Mandarin.  Definitely pick this one up, your Avengers collection isn’t complete without it.

Click Above Image To Pre-Order THOR: THE DARK WORLD On Blu-ray!
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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

2 Responses to “Thor: The Dark World (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Brian White

    Man everything sounds AWESOME here!!
    I can’t wait to get this tomorrow. I’m going straight to the One Shot featurette first!
    And I agree. When the first Thor came out I was not expecting to like it. I’m so glad I did and while this sequel is not perfect, it’s just fine by me. I had a blast with this one theatrically and can’t wait to relive it again on Blu-ray! Thanks Brandon!

  2. Brian White

    After watching the special features I only have three words here…MARVEL ONE SHOT!!!