Thor: The Dark World is currently in cinemas and it's lain down the gauntlet, and hammer, to all its Marvel counterparts in terms of sheer science-fiction silliness. However there is a scientific rationale or root behind each Bifrost, singularity grenade and magic super hammer tossed about the screen with abandon. With a legion of distinctive tech levels on display throughout The Dark World's 112-minute runtime, let's take a quick look at some of the more outlandish technology contrasted to their more mundane real world physical counterparts.
The Dark Elves - Dark Energy
It's not spoiling much to say the crux of The Dark Worldconcerns Malekith's search for the mysterious Aether. A scifi pseudonym for Dark Energy, this hypothetical energy permeates the entirety of space, with an unexpected tendency to accelerate the universe's expansion. Independent of the inherent gravitational attraction between masses, Dark Energy is actually a repulsive pressure. It pushes everything outwards and is currently the most popular hypothesis to explain the universe's apparent expansion.
Mjolnir - Gravity
We'd be remiss for not pointing out the perplexing gravity-enhancing properties of Thor's trusty way-too-heavy-for-anyone-but-me-to-pick-up hammer. Not only can Mjolnir defy the constant attractive properties of Gravitation, the weakest but most far reaching fundamental physical force, but it seems to multiply (exponentially!) the gravity acting upon it at any time. According to some bloke called Einstein, the phenomenon of gravity itself is a by-product of Spacetime's curvature. It causes dispersed matter to coalesce and remain intact. Examples include galaxies, stars, planets. Basically if you can see it, Gravity!
Bifrost - Einstein Rosen Bridge
So Heimdal's Bifrost (he only owns it in the sense that Idris Elba owns every scene he's in) is essentially a teleporter. We're all agreed on that yeah? And what's a teleporter but a wormhole, a shortcut through space and time? The typical, wildly inaccurate analogy is to imagine a sheet of paper. Good. That paper is everything. The Universe. Spacetime in all its enormity. Now fold two of its corners into each other, so they overlap. Bridge!
A topographical spacetime feature, these bridges would hypothetically operate like a tunnel, with each end at separate points astronomically apart, but taking only a few moments to traverse.
Hmmm. Sam Neil explained it better in Event Horizon.
Malekith's Starship - Invisibility
Malekith's distinctive floating T flagship has a cloaking device. It's a common enough Sci-Fi trope but there's some basis for it in science fact. Invisibility in its most natural form regards any body which neither reflects nor absorbs light. This ties in nicely with the whole Dark Elf motif. In the natural world, the phenomena Colour change (self explanatory) and counterillumination (producing light to match an illuminated background) are your closest bet. For example, the Enope Squid employs bioluminescence to enhance its undercarriage, matching the brightness of the sea's surface.
Svartalfheim Weapons/ Asgard Artillery/ Odin's Lance - Lasers
Pew Pew! One of the main draws of Thor: The Dark World is how vibrant and dynamic its colour scheme is. This is helped, and in no small part, by the generous helpings of golden Asgardian particle beams and crimson and indigo Dark Elf blasters. Light Amplification via Stimulated Emission of Radiation exists in the real world, be it via sight-saving laser eye surgery, follicle singing hair removal treatments or play enabling lasers within your preferred games consoles. There have been some forays into military applications, for example Boeing's YAL-1 missile defence system and the spectacularly designated ZEUS Laser Ordinance Neutralization System. The latter detonated land mines... However due to limited usage, massive power requirements and insufficient funding, these projects haven't been pursued all that much.