‘Thor: The Dark World’ Review: Laughs and Character Make for One of Marvel’s Best

Tufts placed 14th out of 22 teams at the 30th Duke Nelson Invitational golf tournament hosted by Middlebury College on Saturday and Sunday.

Tufts brought five athletes to the tournament - juniors John Wawer and Alex Zorniger, and sophomores Jay Wong, Matt Lesnik and Brendan Koh. The scores of the top four on the team over two days were added together to create the team's final score of 631.

Wawer had the best round for the team on day one, shooting a five-over-par 75, which put him seven shots behind leader Rob Donahoe of host Middlebury College. Donahoe's two-under 68 that day was the best round played all weekend.

Wawer led the Jumbos again on day two shooting a 76, good for a 151 weekend score. His team-leading score was good enough to tie for 21st in the entire field. Wong was close behind, scoring a 153, which put him at a tie for 28th overall.

"As a golfer, you always see the negatives in your rounds, thinking of missed opportunities," Wawer said. "In that sense, you're never completely pleased. But with some very respectable rounds, I was pleased with both my and the team's performance. Even those who didn't score especially low had some tremendous nine-hole stretches."

Zorniger shot a 160, placing 65th overall, and Lesnik and Koh both shot 167, tying for 85th overall. Interestingly, Lesnik and Koh both shot 81 in the first round and 86 in the second round. Both players will look to push each other in the future for the fourth scoring position on the team.

"I thought the team took a positive step this weekend," Zorniger said. "We had some kids that played well and put up some decent numbers. We didn't get the full team effort that we hoped for, but we were very competitive."

According to Zorniger, consistency is the key to the team's future success.

"Of the kids that didn't play as well, it's still an inconsistency that we need to work on," Zorniger said. "We had some kids, including me, put up some of the best and the worst golf in their careers in the same round. Continuing with a constant practice regimen will work that out."

In fact, the Jumbos were able to put together a more impressive performance this past weekend than the scoreboard showed.

"If you look at the scores, we were only a couple of strokes away from the top 10, which would've been a good result in a tournament with the depth and size of the Middlebury field," Zorniger said. "We know we can play better, but it was a much better effort than last week," he said.

Instead, the weekend was less an example of poor performance, and more of squandered opportunity for a young Tufts team.

"As for the course, it was there for the taking," Zorniger said. "Very fair and the scores showed that. Our result this year would have been quite a few spots higher in last year's field."

Four of the five Tufts players, besides Wong, shot better rounds on Saturday than they did on Sunday. Seven of the 22 teams scored better as a whole in the second round than in the first, while Tufts was one of the many teams that went the other way, shooting nine shots worse on Sunday.

The Jumbos' next test will come this weekend at the Williams Invitational.

While Kenneth Branagh struggled to define a world in the original ThorAlan Taylor has the gift of audience familiarly with its sequel Thor: The Dark World. Branagh’s original film took a long time to find its footing and never quite explored how great the characters of Thor and Loki could be. That second issue was ironed out in The Avengers.

So Thor: The Dark World hits the ground running with fully realized, charismatic and confident portrayals of all the characters involved. It’s defined by Thor being an ultimate hero and Loki being a mischievous villain. That, coupled with plenty of Avengers-size action, laugh-out-loud humor and Marvel Cinematic Universe easter eggs help make Thor: The Dark World one of the best Marvel films to date.

After an epic, Lord of the Rings opening, Thor: The Dark World picks up almost immediately after the events in The Avengers as Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is brought back to Asgard by his “brother,” Thor (Chris Hemsworth). Concurrently, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is researching some new anomalies on Earth and finds herself in a very, very bad place. This place even gets the attention of her celestial boyfriend. From there, an ancient villain named Malekith (Christopher Eccelston) is awoken, hellbent on taking over the galaxy while Thor whisks Jane up to Asgard.

Yes, there’s a lot going on with the plot of Thor: The Dark World, and that’s a good thing, because the good can outweigh the not-so good. The not-so-good, surprisingly, is Malekith. The whole character feels underwritten and simple. Even with the whole universe at risk, his motivation and journey are familiar and kind of forgettable. Plus he rarely distinguishes himself in battle, unlike his second in command, Kurse (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). Basically, he’s there as an excuse to delve into Asgardian exposition and show off Thor in some very cool, contrasting action scenes. These scenes vary between gritty, Game of Thrones, battlefields and fast paced, Star Wars-style dogfights. Then the finale is like something out a popular video game that would most certainly be a spoiler. Save for the last scene, the action isn’t exactly innovative, but it’s almost non-stop and well-paced enough to keep things moving along.

So while Malekith isn’t particularly exciting as a villain, what is exciting – and makes the movie so good – are the relationships. Specifically those between Thor and his interstellar love Jane, as well as Thor and Loki, the latter of which has fully accepted his dark side. When Hemsworth is on screen with either Hiddleston or Portman, it’s insanely watchable and captivating both because of the performances, and the actors’ comfort and chemistry with one another.

There are a lot of laughs in these interactions too, creating what’s probably Marvel’s funniest movie to date. Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgard and Chris O’Dowd also provide some nice levity in the film.

But really, this is the Tom Hiddleston show. Hemsworth is better than ever as the all-mighty Thor and Portman elevates Jane from the first film, but Hiddleston’s Loki has such beautiful subtlety in Thor: The Dark World, it’s no wonder they added more scenes just for him. He’s certainly a supporting character, but a supporting character that resonates from beginning to end, keeping everything on edge. Even when he’s not on screen, you feel his presence, and that gives the film great energy.

Thor: The Dark World is as funny as it is exciting. A slick balance of action, humor and comic book sensibilities. Fans are going to find so much to like about this movie, not only because it’s fun, but because of its place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Besides the two credits scenes, Thor: The Dark World has ramifications that’ll be felt for years to come. So while the film might not have the psychological complexity or sheer scope of the previous two Marvel movies, it’s more balanced and feels weightier.


Fans are going to find so much to like about this movie, not only because it’s fun, but because of its place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Besides the two credits scenes, Thor: The Dark World has ramifications that’ll be felt for years to come.

3.7 stars