A third Thor movie was recently confirmed by Marvel Studios. In a move that shocked no one, the highly successful franchise will be continued with another movie sometime after the The Avengers: Age of Ultron. This may at first seem to be just another drop in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s ocean, but I think there is plenty of cause for excitement.
When I walked out of Thor: The Dark World last November, I was afraid that we might not see another film appearance for Thor outside of the Avenger’s team-ups. The completely unexplained cliffhanger ending was nearly unbearable because there was no resolution in sight – no sequel had yet been announced, and Asgardian issues being featured, let alone resolved, in an Avengers film seemed unlikely. But now we know that we will indeed be treated to an explanation of just what on earth (pardon me, what on Asgard) Loki was up to in those last moments.
While we are on the subject of Loki, I might as well say that he is the character that stole the show in The Dark World, and it would have been a great waste if we had never seen his character again – another reason to celebrate this sequel. Tom Hiddleston, the British actor who brings the erstwhile prince to life onscreen, is something of an internet phenomenon. His portrayal of the character has inspired impressive levels of fan devotion including a petition to Marvel Studios to produce a solo Loki film. The Free Loki petition has over 52,000 signatures (and counting).
The fan devotion is indicative of just how special the Thor movies are. They blur the lines between science fiction, fantasy, comic book films, and Shakespearean dramas. The backdrop of space creates a cosmic canvas against which anything can happen – nothing is out of bounds when the main character is literally a space god. The family drama is nothing short of epic (here we may safely apply the word Shakespearean). The broken familial bonds are the stuff great stories are made of, particularly the twisty, painful relationship between Thor and Loki. There is so much that could still be mined here. And the actors, Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston, have brought intense emotion and credibility to these roles since the beginning. Their scenes are a joy to watch. The Thor movies are both fun and dramatically satisfying – the combination is a rare thing to see.
Now as much as I love the Thor universe, I really must mention that there are a few things I hope the filmmakers avoid in this third outing. The Dark World, apart from the always stellar Hemsworth and Hiddleston, was riddled with problems. The story was full of unexplained plot holes, which is entirely unacceptable, particularly after Marvel has set the story-telling bar so very high in its previous Avengers-related movies. The story in this third film has really got to be tighter. The villain(s) must also be better. Malekith had great potential: he was an ancient evil bent on destroying the universe and vengefully laying waste to Thor’s heart and home. And he was to be portrayed by the ever fantastic Christopher Eccleston, a British actor of Doctor Who fame. All this was for naught, however, as the role of Malekith was rather one-dimensional and underdeveloped. Eccleston was wasted in the role, and it is a shame.
It must be said that even with these detractions, Thor: the Dark World was great fun to watch. With the crackling wit of Loki, the hammer-wielding power of Thor, and the boundless setting of space, the Thor universe is a wonderful place to visit. And if the third film can feature a story and a villain that can match these wonderful elements, then we will be treated to a truly wonderful film. So, when the third Thor film finally releases, I will be in line, probably wearing a Loki shirt and still hoping for that Loki movie, but supporting the hammer-wielding hero all the way. Because I love these movies and I love the Marvel universe.
No release date has yet been announced, but Thor will return to the big screen in summer 2015 in the highly anticipated The Avengers: Age of Ultron.