Thor: The Dark World opens with a prologue set 1000 years in the past. Thor’s grandfather and an army of Asgard soldiers have a fierce battle with a demonic army of dark elves led by the vengeful Malekith (Christopher Eccleston). Malekith has created an evil power called the Aether, which he wants to use to plunge the Nine Realms into chaos and darkness. Luckily for the Nine Realms, the Asgard army triumphs, Malekith is banished, and the evil Aether is hidden deep in the depths of an unnamed planet.
Back in the present, Thor’s brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), has been imprisoned on Asgard for crimes committed in the first Thor movie. The Nine Realms are about to align, which happens only once every 1000 years. Alignment makes strange things happen, such as the temporary opening of doorways between realms. Unluckily, astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is accidentally transported through one of these doorways. She discovers the hidden location of the long lost Aether and becomes its unwitting host.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) finds out about Jane’s disappearance and travels to Earth. Much to the annoyance of his father, King Odin (Anthony Hopkins), Thor brings Jane back to Asgard. On Asgard, they discover that Jane has become host to the Aether.
The Aether’s possession of Jane’s reawakens Malekith and his army of dark elves. They wreak death and destruction when they attack Asgard to get back the Aether. Thor and Loki battle Malekith across the Nine Realms, trying to defeat him before he uses the Aether to destroy the universe.
Thor: The Dark World contains intense sequences of action violence, which is brutal at times, but it doesn’t show much blood and gore. There are, however, scenes that show mass death. For example:
- Several battle scenes feature multiple explosions. These scenes also show warriors shooting other warriors with laser beams and bolts of energy, and killing others with swords, spears and double-bladed axes. During hand-to-hand combat, warriors twists other warriors’ heads and snap their necks.
- During one battle scene a dark elf warrior transforms into a large horned warrior with a mummified face. The creature has super-human strength and slaughters numerous Asgard warriors. It strangles two guards and snaps the necks of others. In a later scene, it strangles a woman and runs her through from the back with a sword.
- After Jane is possessed by the Aether, a large red shock wave comes from her body and hurls several policemen through the air.
- During a prison breakout on Asgard, alien prisoners attack and kill Asgard guards with swords and axes. Although the scene shows lots of slashing and stabbing, it doesn’t show much blood and gore.
- One scene shows a highly stylised fight between Thor’s mother and a dark elf. Thor’s mother wields a sword and makes a lot of martial arts-like movements. She ends by holding the sword to the dark elf’s throat.
- During a fight between Thor and Loki, Loki uses a sword to cut off Thor’s hand at the wrist. The scene shows the stump but not much blood and gore. In a later scene, Thor cuts both arms off a dark elf. Both arms lie on the ground.
- In one of the movie’s more brutal scenes, a dark elf repeatedly bludgeons Thor, hitting him in the face and body with its fists.
- A fight on Earth between the Malekith and Thor rips apart streets, destroys buildings and crushes cars. At the end of the fight there are a couple of minor cuts on Thor’s face.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Thor: The Dark World has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:
- This movie has many scary creatures including the dark elves, who have pale skin and white eyes. There are also some human-like creatures with horns, and a giant lizard-like monster. Some scenes show these creatures transforming in different ways, and these scenes could be particularly scary for this age group.
- The Aether appears as a miasma of red-black smoky tendrils. It seems to have a life of its own. In one scene the Aether wraps its black smoky tendrils around Jane and enters her body. Another scene shows the Aether transforming into thousands of shards of red glass. Each shard penetrates a dark elf’s body as the Aether possesses the elf. When the elf opens his eyes, they glow red.
In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, Thor: The Dark World has some scenes that could scare or disturb children aged 5-8 years.
For example, in one emotionally intense scene a dead woman lies in the bottom of a funeral boat. The boat is set on fire and launched over a waterfall, along with hundreds of other boats containing Asgard warriors killed in battle.
Children in this group are also likely to be disturbed by the violent and scary scenes mentioned above.
Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.
Thor: The Dark World has some mild sexual references including a scene where Jane and Thor flirt with each other. They almost kiss, but they’re interrupted.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Thor: The Dark World shows some use of substances. For example, there’s a reference to Thor celebrating a battle victory with drink. One scene shows Thor sitting in a tavern-like setting alone, holding a tankard of unknown drink. He isn’t drunk.
Nudity and sexual activity
Thor: The Dark World contains occasional partial nudity and mild sexual activity. For example:
- Women wear low-cut tops.
- News footage shows a man running around naked. His genital area and bottom are pixelated.
- A couple of scenes show a man in his underwear. Apparently he thinks better if he doesn’t wear his pants.
- A man and woman kiss in a comical situation.
There is no product placement of concern in the movie itself, but associated merchandise is being marketed to children.
Thor: The Dark World has some coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Thor: The Dark World is a fantasy action movie targeted at adolescent boys and other fans of Marvel comics. The Dark World is a sequel to the movie Thor, but it’s darker than the first movie. It does, however, have some clever humour.
The movie’s M rating is well deserved. The movie contains sometimes brutal violence and scary scenes and characters, which makes it unsuitable for children under 12 years. We recommend parental guidance for children aged 12-15 years.
These are the main messages from Thor: The Dark World:
- Love triumphs over all.
- Responsibility and commitment to family needs to be balanced against your own needs. It’s important to find your own way in life.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include the following:
- Selflessness: throughout the movie Thor shows selflessness by repeatedly placing himself in dangerous situations to protect others and by placing the needs of others above his own.
- Family bonds: family tragedy forces Thor and Loki to put aside their differences for the greater good.
You could also talk with your children about how to decide what’s important and valuable in your life. Thor gives up a kingdom to follow his heart and keep his relationship with Jane.