“Thor: The Dark World” is the second Phase Two MCU entry, but first film to feature a crossover event with Marvel’s TV series “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Though the tie-in wasn’t terribly related, it essentially showed the behind the scenes work required by S.H.I.E.L.D. to clean up after rampage of heroes and villains like Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Loki (Tom Hiddleston), and the Dark Elves. “The Dark World,” doesn’t feature as many Easter eggs as past, and future films, at least insofar as alluding to later Marvel productions, but there’s still a lot to explore.
In “Thor,” a sign advertising for tourism in New Mexico read “Land of enchantment…journey into mystery.” This snapshot references Thor’s first comic appearance in Journey into Mystery. A similarly phrased sign in London asks “Is your journey really necessary?” Good one Marvel. Although “The Dark World” isn’t the most connected to the MCU, plenty of comics references abound. Dr. Erik Selvig’s (Stellan Skarsgard) blackboard is littered with tidbits from the comics. Notably, a diagram of the Nine Realms is centered on the blackboard, but surrounding the drawing are hints at the 616 Universe, The Fault, The Crossroads, and the Nexus of All Reality. How Selvig managed such groundbreaking discoveries, well, that’s not explained. What Culture has a neat breakdown of the blackboard.
The Nine Realms aren’t new at this point, but there’s a sweet shot of a few of the worlds. We see Vanaheim, where the film opens, Niflheim, and Muspelheim. Infinity Stones, likewise, aren’t novel, but play a central role in “Thor: The Dark World.” The Aether is an Infinity Stone, and Odin (Anthony Hopkins) explains the existence of the Aether, along with the Dark Elves’ origin, with an ornate book. Furthermore, the post-credits scene shows The Collector (Benicio del Toro) who receives the Aether from Lady Sif (Jamie Alexander). We already met Thanos (Josh Brolin) at the end of “The Avengers,” and we know he’s searching for the Infinity Stones, and Infinity Gauntlet. Ultimately, this proves central to the MCU, as we see later in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and in the upcoming “Avengers: Infinity War” parts 1 and 2.
While not as packed with winks and nudges as past and future Marvel films, “Thor: The Dark World” still plays a prominent role in the MCU. Our glance at “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” reveals arguably the most important tie-in of the entire cinematic universe to date. Find out soon…