February 21, 2014

Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment

112 mins. PG-13
16x9 2.40:1

Format
Blu-Ray

Audio
English - DTS 7.1 HD Master Audio
English - DD 2.0
French - DD 5.1
Spanish - DD 5.1

Subtitles
English, French, Spanish

Extras
Gag Reel, Deleted Scenes, Featurettes, Short Film, and more...

Starring
Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Chistopher Eccleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard

Review by
Guido Henkel


Rating



(2013)

Superhero movies have truly come of age, with each new Marvel release trumping its predecessor in terms of story and frenetic energy. "Thor: The Dark World" is no different, and now the sequel to the original "Thor" movie has arrived on Blu-Ray Disc.

The Dark Elves, defeated millenia ago by Odin, are planning a return, trying to throw the world into Darkness. But as mythical time of the Convergence approaches, space anomalies create inter-dimensional portals and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) stumbles into such a portal while exploring the phenomenon. On the other side she is possessed by the Aether, the powerful energy that fuels the Dark Elves.

With the powerful energy running through her, and her body unable to handle the flow, Thor must save her before she dies, but also before the Dark Elves, led by the evil Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), can reach her and obtain the power of the Aether. But already, the Dark Elves are planning a full scale invasion on Asgard where Thor tries to keep Jane safe. The only way for Thor to succeed is to acquire help... from the most unlikely of allies. His deviant brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston).

Unsurprisingly, "Thor: The Dark World" is a much darker movie than the original "Thor" was, centering the story firmly around the Dark Elves and not so much around the introduction of the characters. As such, the film comes out of the gates guns blazing, and it does not let up until the last frame. There is nary a quiet minute in the film as one action set piece chases the next one. Don't be fooled, however. All that actions does not limit the film to shallowness. Instead it uses it to great effect to propel the story forward while the characters try to figure out what happens to them and how to react to it - including Thor, who appears "almost" out of his depth when he realizes that the Dark Elves are a lot stronger and bountiful than he had ever expected.

Chris Hemsworth is once again giving Thor a cool personification that is both rash and likable, yet at the same time oddly collected despite everything going on around him. It is Tom Hiddleston, however, who once again steals the show as Loki, a part that seems tailor-made for the actor. The subtleties of the character and the part he plays in the story are what make Hiddleston's performance stand out. You never know what he's up to next, with his mischievous smile on his lips.

Running like an out-of-control bullet train, "Thor: The Dark World" is a powerhouse and the Blu-Ray transfer reflects that perfectly. It is a bold 1080p high definition presentation that revels in detail and brings to life the superhero universe with a richness and color that is simply mesmerizing. Whether it's the tiniest of details in the production design or costumes, or the brilliance of Asgard's magical sets, the Blu-Ray always reproduces the film in its full glory. Black levels are perfect, never too dark, never too bright, making sure each of the film's settings is played up to full strength. From the nethers of the Dark Elves to the secret chamber of the Aether, to Asgard and anything in-between, the image always carries plenty of visual depth and shadow definition without every losing information.

If you thought, the image presentation of the film is bombastic, wait until you hear this Blu-Ray Disc. Featuring a DTS 7.1 HD Master Audio track, the film has the makings to blow your speakers to bits. With an incredible frequency extensions and basses that can shake your house to its foundation, the track is as super-powered as Thor himself. Surrounds are implemented aggressively, making full use of the split surrounds at all times. Whether Thor's Hammer is whining through the air around you, whether buildings collapse or whether there is an intimate scene of dialogue, the soundtrack perfectly captures each of them with its incredible dynamics, adding tremendously to the movie's fun.

The release is packed with bonus materials, such as gag reel, and a selection of extended and deleted scenes. There's also a Marvel Short film on the disc, called "Marvel One Shot: All Hail The King" as well as various interview and behind-the-scenes featurettes on the making of the movie.

In addition you will find a number of materials on the disc, relating to the upcoming second "Captain America" movie.

"Thor: The Dark World" is energetic and powerful bombast. Leaving out no opportunity to throw mayhem at the viewer, the film is nonetheless very well paced and put together. Unlike many other action films where the action is incessant and becomes mind-numbing, the pacing here is meticulous and the characters' actions do have relevance. Therefore it becomes a much more satisfying experience, making "Thor: The Dark World" another phenomenal entry in Marvel's line of superhero adaptations. Go, get it now!

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