Thor: The Dark World
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAlan Taylor
Screenplay by
Story by
Based on
Produced byKevin Feige
Starring
CinematographyKramer Morgenthau
Edited by
Music byBrian Tyler
Production
company
Distributed byWalt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • October 22, 2013 (2013-10-22) (Leicester Square)
  • November 8, 2013 (2013-11-08) (United States)
Running time
112 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$150–170 million[2][3]
Box office$644.8 million[4]

Thor: The Dark World is a 2013 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Thor, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to Thor (2011) and the eighth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film was directed by Alan Taylor from a screenplay by Christopher Yost and the writing team of Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. It stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor alongside Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Christopher Eccleston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Tadanobu Asano, Jaimie Alexander, and Rene Russo. In the film, Thor and Loki (Hiddleston) team up to save the Nine Realms from the Dark Elves.

Development of a sequel to Thor began in April 2011 when producer Kevin Feige announced plans for it to follow the MCU crossover film The Avengers (2012). In July, Thor director Kenneth Branagh withdrew from the sequel. Brian Kirk and Patty Jenkins were considered to replace him as director before Taylor was hired in January 2012. The supporting cast filled out in August 2012, with the hiring of Eccleston and Akinnuoye-Agbaje as the film's villains. Filming took place from September to December 2012 primarily in Surrey, England, as well as in Iceland and London. Taylor wanted the film to be more grounded than Thor, inspired by his work on Game of Thrones. He hired Carter Burwell to compose the score, but Marvel replaced Burwell with Brian Tyler.

Thor: The Dark World premiered at the Odeon Leicester Square in London on October 22, 2013, and was released in the United States on November 8, as part of Phase Two of the MCU. The film was a commercial success, grossing over $644 million worldwide and becoming the tenth highest-grossing film of 2013, but received mixed reviews. It received praise for the performances of Hemsworth and Hiddleston, visual effects, and action sequences, but was criticized for its generic villain and lack of depth. Retrospectively, Taylor has expressed dissatisfaction with the film, stating that Marvel substantially altered it from his original vision during post-production. A sequel directed by Taika Waititi, Thor: Ragnarok, was released in 2017, while a fourth film, Thor: Love and Thunder, is scheduled for release on July 8, 2022.

Plot

Eons ago, Bor, father of Odin, clashes with the Dark Elf Malekith, who seeks to unleash a weapon known as the Aether on the nine realms. After conquering Malekith's forces, including enhanced warriors called the Kursed, on their home world of Svartalfheim, Bor safeguards the Aether within a stone column. Unknown to Bor, Malekith and a handful of Dark Elves escape into suspended animation.

In present-day Asgard, Loki stands imprisoned for his war crimes on Earth.[N 1] Meanwhile, Thor, alongside warriors Fandral, Volstagg, and Sif, repels marauders on Vanaheim, home of their comrade Hogun; it is the final battle in a war to pacify the Nine Realms following the reconstruction of the Bifröst, the "Rainbow Bridge" between realms, which had been destroyed two years earlier.[N 2] The Asgardians soon learn that the Convergence, a rare alignment of the Nine Realms, is imminent; as the event approaches, portals linking the worlds appear at random.

In London, astrophysicist Dr. Jane Foster and her intern Darcy Lewis travel to an abandoned factory where such portals have appeared, disrupting the laws of physics around them. Separating from the group, Foster is teleported to another world, where she absorbs the Aether. Heimdall alerts Thor that Foster has moved beyond his near all-seeing vision, leading Thor to Earth. When Thor finds Foster, she inadvertently releases an unearthly force, and Thor returns with her to Asgard. Odin, recognizing the Aether, warns that the Aether will not only kill Foster but that its return heralds a catastrophic prophecy.

Malekith, awakened by the Aether's release, turns Algrim into a Kursed and attacks Asgard. During the battle, Malekith and Algrim search for Foster, sensing that she contains the Aether. Thor's mother Frigga is killed protecting Foster, and Malekith and Algrim are forced to flee without Foster. Despite Odin's orders not to leave Asgard, Thor reluctantly enlists the help of Loki, who knows of a secret portal to Svartalfheim, where they will use Foster to lure and confront Malekith, away from Asgard. In return, Thor promises Loki vengeance on Malekith for killing their mother. With Volstagg and Sif stalling Asgardian soldiers and Fandral assisting their escape, Thor, Loki, and Foster head to Svartalfheim.

There, Loki tricks Malekith into drawing the Aether out of Foster, but Thor's attempt to destroy the exposed substance fails. Malekith merges with the Aether and leaves in his ship as Loki is fatally wounded while killing Algrim. Thor, cradling Loki in his arms, promises to tell their father of his sacrifice. Afterward, Thor and Foster discover another portal in a nearby cave and reunite in London with Lewis and Foster's mentor Dr. Erik Selvig—who was briefly institutionalized due to the mental trauma he suffered during Loki's attack on Earth. They learn that Malekith plans to restore the Dark Elves to dominance by unleashing the Aether at the center of the Convergence in Greenwich. Thor battles Malekith through various portals and across multiple worlds until one portal separates them, leaving Malekith unopposed on Earth. Thor returns in time to help his mortal comrades use their scientific equipment to transport Malekith to Svartalfheim, where he is crushed by his own damaged ship.

Thor returns to Asgard, where he declines Odin's offer to take the throne and tells Odin of Loki's sacrifice. As he leaves, Odin's form transforms into Loki, who is alive and impersonating Odin.

In a mid-credits scene, Volstagg and Sif visit the Collector and entrust the Aether to his care, commenting that with the Tesseract already in Asgard, having two Infinity Stones so close together would be unwise. As they leave, the Collector states his desire to acquire the other five Stones. In a post-credits scene, Foster and Thor reunite on Earth, while somewhere in London, a frost monster from Jotunheim—accidentally transported to Earth during the final battle—continues to run amok.

Cast

The cast of Thor: The Dark World at the world premiere in London. Top to bottom: Hemsworth, Portman, Hiddleston, Elba, Eccleston, Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Dennings (Scrollable image)

Additionally, Alice Krige portrays Eir, an Asgardian physician,[45] while Talulah Riley plays an Asgardian nurse.[46] Chris O'Dowd was cast as Richard,[47][48] a suitor of Jane Foster's. Benicio del Toro, who plays the Collector in Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy, appears in a mid-credits scene with Ophelia Lovibond, who plays his aide Carina.[49][50][51] Jonathan Howard plays Ian Boothby,[52] Darcy's intern. Tony Curran plays Bor, Odin's father, based on the deity of the same name.[53][54] Clive Russell plays Tyr, based on the deity of the same name.[55] Richard Brake portrays a captain in the Einherjar.[55] Chris Evans makes an uncredited cameo appearance[56] as Loki masquerading as Captain America, while Thor co-creator Stan Lee makes a cameo appearance[57] as a patient in a mental ward.

Production

This article contains too many or overly lengthy quotations for an encyclopedic entry. Please help improve the article by presenting facts as a neutrally worded summary with appropriate citations. Consider transferring direct quotations to Wikiquote or, for entire works, to Wikisource. (October 2019)

Development

"In both cases, it's using the conceit of a fantastical, alien world to make fresh what is really a domestic drama. In Game of Thrones, seeing Tyrion battle with his sister Cersei, seeing the relationships between children and their fathers... It's all the stuff we're interested in at a psychological level because we're living it all the time. But it takes place in this otherwise fantastical, foreign realm. I think the same thing is true in Thor. The brilliant thing Ken Branagh did in launching it was making it very much a story about two brothers, a story about brothers competing for the love of their father. So it's small, confined and human at the same time it's this blown-out, intergalactic world."

—Alan Taylor, director of Thor: The Dark World and several episodes of Game of Thrones[58]

In April 2011 before the release of Thor (2011), Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige stated that following The Avengers (2012), "Thor will go off into a new adventure."[59] Kenneth Branagh, director of Thor, responded to his comments, saying, "It is kind of news to me. Here's what I would say to that: It's that I'm thrilled they're that confident. I shall wait for the audience to tell us whether there should be a second one, and then if that's a nice conversation to be had [among] all of us, that'd be thrilling. But I've got too much Irish superstitious blood in me to assume that Thor 2 will happen. But if Marvel says so, then I guess it must be true".[60] Feige later explained that Marvel Studios would gauge how well Thor did at the box office before announcing sequels, but stated, "Don Payne is working on story ideas for a part two. We've got various options with Ken [Branagh] to discuss coming back, but right now the focus is on the first one. Don is, slowly but surely, thinking about where to take the character next should we be so lucky".[61]

In June 2011, Walt Disney Studios set a July 26, 2013, release date for the Thor sequel with Chris Hemsworth reprising his role as the title hero. It was also reported that Branagh would not be returning as director but would likely be involved in a producing capacity.[6] The Los Angeles Times cited the long commitment necessary for a special effects-heavy epic and the pressure to start the script process right away as reasons for Branagh's departure, although he was initially enthused by the chance to direct the sequel.[62] Branagh noted, "It was a long time [making the first film] and they were way too quick for me to get straight back into another, [but] it was a pleasurable experience and a film I'm very proud of."[63] The following day, Marvel formally hired Payne, one of the credited writers of the first film, to script the sequel.[64] In August, Brian Kirk entered early negotiations to direct the Thor sequel. The film would have marked Kirk's first time directing a big-budget motion picture, after having directed television series for HBO, Showtime and the BBC, including Game of Thrones.[65]

In September 2011, Tom Hiddleston confirmed he would return in the sequel, speculating that in the film, "[Loki will] have to take responsibility for what he's done".[16] Patty Jenkins, the director of Monster and the pilot episode of AMC's The Killing, entered early negotiations with Marvel Studios and Disney to direct the film, after Kirk had passed due to contractual sticking points that arose during negotiations.[66] Later in the month, Feige stated the sequel would "take Thor literally to other worlds" and would "primarily be the journey of that character, of he and Jane Foster and how the new dynamic with his father is working out, as well as what are the broader stakes for The Nine Worlds".[67] On October 13, 2011, Marvel confirmed that Jenkins would direct the sequel and Natalie Portman would return to star.[10] Disney also moved the release date for the film to November 15, 2013.[68]

Pre-production

"The main difference I have [from Branagh's approach] is really to do with look and tone. Things look really dirty. The first Thor was quite shiny and it was a very conscious, smart choice. When I came in, I wanted to get more of a sense of the Norse mythology: the Viking quality, the texture and weight of the history. He’s a superhero, but he’s been around for thousands of years. His dad is god!"

—Alan Taylor[20]

In December 2011, Jenkins exited the project, citing "creative differences".[69] She stated, "I have had a great time working at Marvel. We parted on very good terms, and I look forward to working with them again".[70] Jenkins felt she could not have made a good film "out of Thor 2 because I wasn't the right director... I could have made a great Thor if I could have done the story that I was wanting to do. But I don't think I was the right person to make a great Thor out of the story they wanted to do." Jenkins had intended to create a film based on the premise of Romeo and Juliet, where Jane was stuck on Earth with Thor forbidden to come save her. After Thor eventually does travel to Earth, he and Jane would have discovered that Malekith was "hiding the dark energy inside of Earth because he knows that Odin doesn't care about Earth, and so he's using Odin's disinterest in Earth to trick him".[71]

Three days later, it was reported that Marvel was looking at Alan Taylor and Daniel Minahan as prospective directors to replace Jenkins, and were also in the midst of hiring a writer to rewrite Don Payne's script, with the shortlist of possible writers consisting of John Collee, Robert Rodat and Roger Avary.[72] At the end of the month, Alan Taylor, best known for directing episodes of the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones, was chosen to direct the sequel.[73] Feige mentioned Taylor's work on the series Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones as reasons for his hiring, saying "With Alan's direction we got a few more layers of patina, of texture, of reality into our golden realm."[14] As Feige looked at what worked for the first Thor film and thought what he could retool from that, Taylor decided to "bring some Game of Thrones to it" in order to make a darker and more grounded sequel in comparison to Branagh's work in the previous film.[74] By January 10, Marvel Studios had commissioned screenwriter Rodat to rewrite the sequel and Hiddleston stated that filming was expected to begin in London in the summer of 2012.[75][76] Hemsworth later confirmed that filming was scheduled to begin in August.[77][78] Hemsworth also revealed that the film would have a more Viking-influenced feel, elaborating "I think the science fiction element to Thor … the danger is it falls a little bit into the world of it's 'tough to throw a light to.' I think of big waterfalls and mountains and a Viking influence, where the Norse mythology kind of grew from. Having that in Asgard is going to make it all the more special and that's what Alan [Taylor] wants to bring to it."[77] Feige said "while the relationship between Loki and Thor certainly has changed [after the events of the movie The Avengers] and has progressed, a lot of Thor 2 is picking up where it left off in terms of Jane, who you just saw for a moment on a computer monitor, and also what's been going on in the nine realms without the Asgardians being able to use the Bifrost." Feige also said that while Loki has a part, "there will be a different villain, another big villain".[78]

In May 2012, Mads Mikkelsen began talks to play one of the villains in the film and Anthony Hopkins, who played Odin in the first film, committed to returning in the sequel.[21][79] Benedict Cumberbatch, who eventually joined the film series as Stephen Strange / Doctor Strange, was also in the running to play Malekith the Accursed.[80] At the end of the month, Disney moved up the release date for the film a week ahead of the previous date to November 8, 2013.[81] By June 2012, much of the first film's supporting cast was confirmed to return, including Idris Elba,[24] Jaimie Alexander,[40] Ray Stevenson[34] and Stellan Skarsgård.[22] Also in June, Joshua Dallas announced that he would not be reprising the role of Fandral.[82] Dallas had initially intended to return,[83] but had to bow out due to his commitment on the television show, Once Upon a Time,[82] and Zachary Levi was cast in his place.[36] Levi was originally up for the role in the first film but scheduling conflicts with Chuck forced him to drop out.[37]

In July 2012, Mikkelsen stated he would not be appearing in the sequel due to prior commitments, "That's not happening unfortunately. I had a meeting with [the filmmakers], but it was a bit too late and then Hannibal came in...It's just not happening".[84] At the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con International, it was announced that the film would be titled Thor: The Dark World.[85] At the end of the month, residents near Bourne Wood in Surrey, England were notified that a film going by the working title, Thursday Mourning would be filming in the area.[86][87] In August of that year, Christopher Eccleston entered final negotiations to play Malekith,[26] and the film was scheduled to shoot in Iceland, where Taylor shot parts of Game of Thrones.[88] By August 22, Kat Dennings was hired to reprise her role as Darcy Lewis and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje was cast as Algrim.[29][33] At the end of the month, film crews for Thursday Mourning began set construction at Stonehenge near Amesbury, England.[89]

Filming

Film set for Thor: The Dark World at Bourne Wood, Surrey, England
Film set for Thor: The Dark World at Bourne Wood, Surrey, England

Principal photography began on September 10, 2012, in Bourne Wood, Surrey, England,[90] under the working title Thursday Mourning.[86][87] A few weeks later, Clive Russell was cast as Tyr, and Richard Brake was cast as an Einherjar captain.[55] At the end of the month, Jaimie Alexander was injured on the London film set, after she slipped while walking in the rain.[91] On October 12, 2012, production moved to Iceland with filming taking place in Dómadalur, Skógafoss, Fjaðrárgljúfur and Skeiðarársandur. Iceland Review described the shoot as being among the most extensive film projects to have ever taken place in Iceland.[92] The film's official synopsis was released, which revealed that Christopher Yost and Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely had also contributed to the screenplay.[93] Markus and McFeely said Feige had approached them in between writing drafts for Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) to work on the Dark World script.[94] Three days later, Disney announced that the film would be released in 3D.[95] In late October, filming commenced at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London.[96] Filming also took place at Shepperton Studios and Longcross Studios in Surrey between October and December 2012.[14][97] Other filming locations included Wembley, Borough Market, Hayes and Stonehenge.[14] Alexander tweeted that principal photography wrapped on December 14, 2012.[98] In a 2013 report on film production costs for films from FilmL.A. Inc., indicated a gross budget of $170 million, with a UK tax offset of $17.3 million for Thor: The Dark World.[2] In 2016 Disney company accounts stated the budget spend was $237.6 million on Thor: The Dark World but $37 million of this was offset by payments from the UK tax authority.[99]

Kramer Morgenthau, who worked with Taylor on Game of Thrones, was brought in as the director of photography. Morgenthau said, "We wanted a grittier, boots-on-the-ground feeling, inspired by what Alan and I had done on Game of Thrones. We wanted the realms to feel grounded, like a real place, while at the same time respecting the magical 'planet of the Gods' feeling and theme." Thor: The Dark World was Morgenthau's first time shooting a feature film digitally. For the film, Morgenthau chose the Arri Alexa Plus, although he tested with the Sony F65 but found the Alexa to be more pleasing. In addition to the Alexa, Red Epic and Canon EOS 5D Mark II cameras were used for second unit filming. With the Alexa, Morgenthau used Panavision anamorphic lenses. Morgenthau said, "The lenses brought some of the magic and mystery of photochemical back to digital, that big-movie look." Morgenthau also stated that Thor: The Dark World was easily the most technically complex project that he has worked but said, "It's all the same concept and the same principles as in a smaller film. You just scale it up. You do a lot more prep. We had three months of prep and loads of time to pre-rig stages. Part of it is having a really good crew—it's definitely not a one-man show."[100]

Post-production

In April 2013, McFeely said that "a lot" of writers had contributed to the film's script, and he and Markus were uncertain if they would receive final screenwriting credit on the film;[94] Markus and McFeely along with Yost received final screenwriting credit, with Payne and Rodat receiving story credit.[101] In July 2013, Dennings told reporters that the film was about to head into reshoots.[102] In August, Taylor said he shot extra scenes with Hiddleston and was about to shoot more with Hopkins. Taylor explained that it was all a part of the "Marvel process" saying, "We're doing full scenes, scenes that were not in the movie before. We're adding scenes, creating scenes, writing scenes for the first time. The one [involving Loki] was a fun connective scene... We realised how well Loki was working in the movie, and we wanted to do more with him. So it was that kind of thing, it was like, 'Oh, we could do this, we could jam this in here' because he's such a wonderful guy to watch do his stuff."[103] Also in August, IMAX Corporation and Marvel Entertainment announced that the film would be digitally re-mastered into the IMAX 3D format and released into IMAX 3D theaters internationally beginning October 30, 2013.[104]

Taylor said Marvel's The Avengers writer/director Joss Whedon rewrote several scenes in the film explaining, "Joss came in to save our lives a couple of times. We had a major scene that was not working on the page at all in London, and he basically got airlifted in, like a SWAT team or something. He came down, rewrote the scene, and before he got back to his plane I sort of grabbed him and said, 'And this scene and this scene?' And he rewrote two other scenes that I thought had problems."[105] In October 2013, Tony Curran tweeted that he would be portraying Odin's father, Bor, in a flashback sequence.[53][54] In November 2013, Feige stated that the film was intended to be the conclusion of the "Loki trilogy", which examined the relationship of Thor and Loki throughout Thor, The Avengers and this film.[106] Loki was originally intended to die in the film, however, after test audiences did not believe he was actually dead, Marvel Studios decided to alter the character's ending.[107] The film's mid-credits scene was directed by James Gunn, the director of Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy.[49][108] The film underwent multiple changes during the reshoots and editing process, with Taylor believing his initial version "had more childlike wonder", including starting the film with children, and an overall "more magical quality". He noted the reshoots "inverted" the original plot in certain ways, such as Loki no longer dying.[74]

Photo of the Lofoten islands off the coast of Norway, taken in July 2008
The same islands used in the film with CG Asgardian structures added by Double Negative

The film's visual effects were completed by seven special effects studios, including Double Negative and Luma Pictures.[109] Blur Studio was the lead studio behind the film's prologue sequence taking place 5,000 years before the start of the film, on the Dark Elves homeworld of Svartalfheim. The sequence consisted mostly of computer graphics with live-action shots interwoven throughout. The use of CG allowed for greater freedom of movement by the characters as the live-action costumes were too constrictive.[110]

Taylor wanted Asgard in this film to have a more natural look than its predecessor. To achieve this, crews filmed the coast of Norway with an Arri Alexa camera for three days in a helicopter, capturing six hours of footage. Double Negative then embedded their CG rendering of Asgard on shots of the natural landscape. Double Negative visual effects supervisor Alex Wuttke said, "The benefit of that is that you have some real-world terrain to work with – so you have buildings that have to convey natural features. Then from there we went in there populating the terrain with different buildings."[110] For scenes taking place on Svartalfheim, production filmed in Iceland with Double Negative adding ruins, mountains, Dark Elf ships, and skies.[110]

For the shot of the levitating truck, which was used in the film to demonstrate the strange phenomena brought on by the coming of the alignment of the worlds, filmmakers attached a cement truck to a large hydraulic rig, which could be programmed to change speed and movement.[110] In order to create Algrim's transformation into Kurse, Double Negative morphed live action performances of Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as both Algrim and Kurse. Double Negative then added in smoke and lava-like effects.[110][infringing link?]

The film's climactic battle sequence takes place through the nine worlds by the use of portals. Visual effects supervisor Jake Morrison said, "We ended up calling this 'time toffee', so as you punch through from one realm to another it's almost like cling film or a slightly gelatinous membrane you have to pass through. It bends a little bit then rips and spits the person out. The other thing we wanted to do was to make sure it was quite fast from an editorial point of view. In the fight scenes there are times when Thor and Malekith are portaling all over the place, quite frankly. We made sure we always kept up the momentum and never stopped the fight. It was a way of making sure the audience weren't conscious there was an effect going on."[110]

Music

Main article: Thor: The Dark World (soundtrack)

In August 2012, Patrick Doyle said that he had discussions with the director about potentially returning to score the film.[111] By April 2013, Carter Burwell had been hired to compose the score,[112] but by the following month he left the film over creative differences.[113] In June 2013, Marvel hired Brian Tyler, who scored Iron Man 3, to replace Burwell.[114] Tyler said the previous film had an "attitude and [was] grounded in limitations" whereas the Thor film allowed for "all-out regal themes that could be as epic as I could make them." The composer described The Dark World as "science fiction meeting classic medieval war", leading to a score that drew from works of both genres such as Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings.[115] Azam Ali is a featured vocalist on the score.[116] The soundtrack was released digitally on October 28, 2013.[117]

Marketing

Hiddleston as Loki at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con to promote the film
Hiddleston as Loki at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con to promote the film

In March 2013, Marvel announced the release of a two-issue comic book prelude by writers Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost and artist Scot Eaton in June 2013.[118] In April 2013, Marvel released the first trailer for Thor: The Dark World. Forbes said, "This trailer fits nicely into that larger marketing push for Marvel's brand. It puts all of the recognizable characters from the first film front and center, presents the action as a team event reminiscent of the Avengers, and once again Loki—who was quite popular with audiences—makes an appearance."[119] The Los Angeles Times said, "Evident throughout the trailer is director Alan Taylor's influence; the Game of Thrones director's hand can be seen in the battle sequences, and Asgard—a bright and shiny kingdom under Thor director Kenneth Branagh—seems grittier in the sequel."[120] In July at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International, Hiddleston introduced footage from the film to audiences in character as Loki.[121] Also in July, Gameloft announced that a mobile video game titled, Thor the Dark World: The Official Game, would be released in conjunction with the release of the film in November.[122]

The theatrical poster for the film was released in early August 2013. Kirsten Acuna of Business Insider criticized the poster for its lack of originality, noting its similarities to one of the posters of Iron Man 3, both of which included the female lead clinging to the male lead, with both looking in opposite directions, antagonists prominently displayed in the background and supporting characters featured "on the side".[123] Additionally, Marvel released a second trailer for the film as part of YouTube's Geek Week.[124] Forbes said, "this 150-second trailer is basically just an extended version of last April's 106-second teaser" and that "this trailer fails to showcase what's new this time around... making audiences question if they really don't have much else to offer."[125] The Los Angeles Times said, that the trailer suggests "an ominous, epic scale for the sequel" and that "the collaboration between Thor and Loki promises to be especially interesting."[18] Later in the month, producer Kevin Feige and cast members Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins presented additional footage at Disney's D23 Expo.[126]

Also in August 2013, Disney announced plans to promote the film with an attraction at Disneyland.[127] The attraction called Thor: Treasures of Asgard, located next to the Stark Industries exhibit inside Innoventions in Tomorrowland, opened on November 1, 2013, and features displays of Asgardian relics and transports guests to Odin's throne room, where they are greeted by Thor.[128] The eighth episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., titled "The Well", takes place in the aftermath of the events of Thor: The Dark World. It first aired on November 19, 2013.[129] Jaimie Alexander reprised her role as Sif in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode "Yes Men", which aired on March 11, 2014.[130]

Release

Theatrical

The world premiere of Thor: The Dark World took place on October 22, 2013, at the Odeon Leicester Square in London.[131] The film was released theatrically in the UK eight days later, on October 30.[132] The film held its North American premiere at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, and was released into U.S. theaters on November 7, 2013.[133] Thor: The Dark World is part of Phase Two of the MCU.[134]

Home media

Thor: The Dark World was released by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment for digital download on February 4, 2014, and on Blu-ray Disc, 3D Blu-ray, and DVD on February 25, 2014.[135] The physical media release includes deleted scenes, extended scenes, a gag reel, audio commentary by the cast and crew, and a Marvel One-Shot short film entitled All Hail the King,[136] featuring Ben Kingsley reprising his role as Trevor Slattery from Iron Man 3.[137]

The film was also collected in a 13-disc box set, titled "Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase Two Collection", which includes all of the Phase Two films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was released on December 8, 2015.[138]

Reception

Box office

Thor: The Dark World earned $206.4 million in North America and $438.4 million in other markets for a worldwide total of $644.8 million.[4] It surpassed the gross of its predecessor after just 19 days of its release.[139] Deadline Hollywood calculated the net profit of the film to be $139.4 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues for the film.[140]

Thor: The Dark World made an estimated $7.1 million in Thursday night showings, more than double the midnight gross of its predecessor.[141] On Friday, November 8, 2013, the film topped the box office with $31.9 million (including Thursday night earnings), which is 25% higher than the original film's opening-day gross.[142] Through Sunday, the film remained at the No. 1 spot with $85.7 million, which is a 30% increase over its predecessor's opening weekend.[143] This was the largest November opening for a film distributed by Disney, surpassing The Incredibles.[144] Thor: The Dark World topped the box office in North America during its first two weekends,[145] before being overtaken by The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in its third weekend.[146]

On its midweek opening day of Wednesday, October 30, 2013, Thor: The Dark World earned $8.2 million from 33 territories,[147] including the United Kingdom and France, where it opened higher than its predecessor.[148] During its first three days, the film earned $45.2 million,[149] and by the end of the weekend, after expanding into three more territories, it totaled $109.4 million over five days, finishing in first place in all 36 countries.[149] Its largest openings were recorded in China ($21.0 million),[150] the United Kingdom ($13.8 million), and France ($9.94 million).[4] It topped the box office outside North America on its first three weekends of release.[145] In total earnings, its largest markets are China ($55.3 million), Russia and the CIS ($35.7 million), Brazil ($27.7 million), and the United Kingdom ($26.2 million).[4]

Critical response

Taylor at the world premiere of Thor: The Dark World in London
Taylor at the world premiere of Thor: The Dark World in London

The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 66%, with an average score of 6.2/10, based on 285 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "It may not be the finest film to come from the Marvel Universe, but Thor: The Dark World still offers plenty of the humor and high-stakes action that fans have come to expect."[151] It was the lowest-rated MCU film on Rotten Tomatoes until the release of Eternals in 2021.[152][153] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 54 out of 100 based on 44 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[154] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an "A−" average, based on a grading scale ranging from A+ to F.[143]

Ben Child of The Guardian said, "Thanks to Hiddleston and Hemsworth's impressive collective charisma, Thor: The Dark World is far from a franchise killer."[155] Justin Chang of Variety wrote, "This robust, impersonal visual-effects showpiece proves buoyant and unpretentious enough to offset its stew of otherwise derivative fantasy/action elements."[156] Alonso Duralde of The Wrap said, "Thor: The Dark World delivers the goods—action, otherworldly grandiosity, romance, humor—above and beyond its predecessor".[157] Simon Abrams, writing for RogerEbert.com said, "There's just enough tension and humor in Thor: The Dark World to make the film's otherwise listless proceedings worth watching, but only just."[158]

Conversely, Tim Robey of The Daily Telegraph said, "It feels entirely made by committee—the definition of house style, without a personal stamp in sight."[159] Leslie Felperin of The Hollywood Reporter said, "Although director Alan Taylor manages to get things going properly for the final battle in London, the long stretches before that on Asgard and the other branches of Yggdrasil are a drag, like filler episodes of Game of Thrones but without the narrative complexity, mythical heft or all-pervading sexiness."[160] Michael Phillips of the Los Angeles Times described Thor: The Dark World as having the "same old threats of galaxy annihilation spiced with fairly entertaining fish-out-of-water jokes".[161] Jeannette Catsoulis of The New York Times said, "the battle scenes are as lacking in heat and coherence as the central love story".[162]

Taylor expressed dissatisfaction with the finished film and blamed its mixed reception on changes Marvel Studios made during post-production, which he felt conflicted with his creative vision.[163] In 2015, he called working on The Dark World a "particularly wrenching" experience,[164] and said in 2021 that the experience made him hesitant to continue directing.[165] Taylor expressed interest in creating a director's cut similar to Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021), though he observed that Marvel was likely not interested in it.[163]

Accolades

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences placed Thor: The Dark World on its shortlist of potential nominees for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects but ultimately did not nominate it.[166]

Year Award / Film Festival Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
2014 IGN Best of 2013 Best Comic Book Adaptation Movie Thor: The Dark World Nominated [167]
People's Choice Awards Favorite Year-End Movie Thor: The Dark World Nominated [168]
ABFF Hollywood Awards Artist of the Year Idris Elba (also for Pacific Rim and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom) Nominated [169]
Empire Awards Best Supporting Actor Tom Hiddleston Nominated [170]
Saturn Awards Best Comic-To-Film Motion Picture Thor: The Dark World Nominated [171]
Best Supporting Actor Tom Hiddleston Nominated
Best Costume Wendy Partridge Nominated
Best Make-Up Karen Cohen / David White / Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou Nominated
Best Special / Visual Effects Jake Morrison / Paul Corbould / Mark Breakspear Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Shirtless Performance Chris Hemsworth Nominated [172]
Best Hero Nominated
Favorite Character Loki Nominated
Golden Trailer Awards Best Action TV Spot Thor: The Dark World Nominated [173]
BET Awards Best Actor Idris Elba (also for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom) Nominated [174]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Thor: The Dark World Nominated [175]
Choice Movie Actor: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Chris Hemsworth Nominated
Choice Movie Actress: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Natalie Portman Nominated

Sequels

Further information: List of Marvel Cinematic Universe films

Thor: Ragnarok

Main article: Thor: Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok was released on November 3, 2017,[176] directed by Taika Waititi.[177] Eric Pearson and Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost wrote the screenplay,[178] with Kevin Feige again producing.[179] Hemsworth, Hiddleston, Hopkins, Elba, Asano, Levi, and Stevenson reprise their roles as Thor, Loki, Odin, Heimdall, Hogun, Fandral, and Volstagg, respectively,[177][180][181][182][183] while Mark Ruffalo and Benedict Cumberbatch appear as Bruce Banner / Hulk and Doctor Strange respectively, reprising their roles from previous MCU films.[184][185] Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson, Jeff Goldblum and Karl Urban join the cast as Hela, Valkyrie, Grandmaster, and Skurge, respectively.[177]

Thor: Love and Thunder

Main article: Thor: Love and Thunder

A fourth film titled Thor: Love and Thunder is scheduled to be released on July 8, 2022.[186] Both Hemsworth and Thompson will reprise their roles, with Portman and Alexander returning after their absence from Ragnarok,[187][188] and Christian Bale joining the cast as the villain Gorr the God Butcher.[189] Portman will portray her character taking on the mantle of Thor, similar to the comics story arc.[190]

Notes

  1. ^ As depicted in the 2012 film The Avengers. The events of Thor: The Dark World are set a year after the events of The Avengers.[5]
  2. ^ As depicted in the 2011 film Thor.

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