As Marvel fans, we’ve gotten a lot of enjoyment over the last decade with introducing our kids to these stories; first watching at home, then as they got older, seeing them in theatres and witnessing them flip out with giddy excitement at character reveals and plot twists. But recently we realized: we’ve never watched all of them as a family, and certainly not in release order. And that’s left some gaps in their understanding of the relationships between all these heroes.
Thus, as a family, we pledged to embark upon an epic MCU rewatch before we see Avengers: Endgame in the theatre, and answer the all-important question: should you watch these with your kids?
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Again with this… Fresh off the disappointing Iron Man 3, we return to tell another standalone story, this time featuring Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston). At least this movie is good-looking, with plenty of CGI to create sweeping, spectacular views of Asgard and other realms.
In London, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and her assistant Darcy (Kat Dennings) are investigating an area of an abandoned factory where the laws of physics don’t seem to apply. While there, Jane is transported to another realm and infected with a mysterious red liquid. Heimdall (Idris Elba) warns Thor that Jane is in danger, and he uses the reconstructed Bifrost Bridge to go to her and bring her back to Asgard.
Asgardian scientists determine that the liquid infecting Jane is the Aether, a dangerous weapon sought after by a group of Dark Elves. Their leader, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), wants to use the Aether to plunge the Nine Realms into darkness during an event called Convergence. It certainly sounds grandiose when I type it! Ooh, this high fantasy stuff is really something.
To stop them and save Jane, Thor must reluctantly recruit his brother Loki, who has been in prison on Asgard as punishment for his actions in The Avengers, when he was the Big Bad. [Six year old spoiler alert!] All you really need to know is that the Dark Elves attack Asgard and Thor and Loki’s mother, Frigga (Rene Russo) is killed protecting Jane. The brothers do eventually succeed and kill Malekith, but Loki appears to sacrifice his life in the process.
So, should you watch it with your kids? Mmm, I’d say no, unless you’re a Marvel completist. The plot is needlessly convoluted, and while the movie is pretty to look at, it’s not exactly essential viewing in the canon.
Bottom line: Skip it.