It’s been said that you should not judge a book by its cover. In the case of Thor: The Dark World, judging the latest Marvel flick from its title might be a good idea for Christian families.
I didn't take my 12-year-old son with me to see it, even though he would have loved to have seen the sequel to Thor. When you advertise the darkness of your film in the title and your director (Alan Taylor) is famous for a dark, mythical television series (Game of Thrones) and your film has been given a mature rating, don't fault me when I take extra precaution with my kids. I feel justified in my caution.
In Thor: The Dark World, thousands of years ago, a race of beings known as the Dark Elves attempted to send the universe into darkness by using a powerful, dark weapon known as the Aether. A great-grandfather of Thor and warriors of old from Asgard battled against the Dark Elves and found a way to stop the evil horde.
The Aether was said to be destroyed. Truth be told, it was put somewhere thought to be inaccessible and forgotten. The leader of the Dark Elves, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), escaped into the darkness to await the call of the indestructible Aether.
Thousands of years later, in present day, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who has been waiting for the return of Thor (Chris Hemsworth), discovers an anomaly similar to the one that brought him to Earth in the first movie. While investigating the odd occurrence, she finds a wormhole and is sucked into it, eventually crossing paths with the Aether.
Thor has been trying to return to Earth, but he has been a bit preoccupied with the task of bringing lasting peace to the Nine Realms. Heimdall (Idris Elba), the all-seeing, all-hearing Guardian of Asgard discovers he can no longer see Jane and alerts Thor, who returns to Earth in search of her.
What Thor doesn't know is that Jane has unknowingly released the Aether, not only waking Malekith from his slumber but jeopardizing the survival of the Nine Realms as well.
Thor must keep the Aether out the hands of Malekith and the Dark Elves. To do so will take courage, good fortune and the aid of his brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who was locked up at the end of The Avengers.
Thor: The Dark World is typical Marvel. Lots of action, destruction and beautiful 3-D computer graphics. But then again, there was the darkness. The Dark Elves live in a world that was dark to the point of being opposite of everything we hold dear—think matter and anti-matter.
The darkness itself is a character in the film. There were a few minutes during the film that I, as an ex-U.S. Navy submariner, felt very uncomfortable. At that moment, I was quite glad I had not brought my pre-teen along. Can I recommend Thor: The Dark World as a family-friendly movie? No, I cannot. I do believe that sooner or later, my son needs to understand evil for what it is, but that time is not in a movie theater.
Thor: The Dark World is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content. There is a 30-second slow pan of Thor topless. There is one s-word said, and another gets interrupted. There are two or three uses each of damn and hell, plus several misuses of God's name. Plucked from Norse mythology, Thor, Odin, Loki and other Asgard characters are sometimes referred to as deities, just like in Thor. The battles are large, seemingly nonstop and intense.
Alan Mowbray is a husband, father of two children and technical writer for an Orlando, Fla.-area software company. Click here to visit his blog.