Verdict: 3.5 / 5
Chris Hemsworth makes a robust return for more intergalactic brawling in Marvel Comics’ hammer-hurling solo sequel featuring the thunder god and Norse deity, Thor. Thankfully, the post-Avengers Thor: The Dark World, a briskly amusing blend of science fiction and fantasy, comes packaged in a bigger, better and more lavish box this time around.
From the very first opening moments of nerdy glee, which lends ingredients from The Lord of the Rings, Hellboy, and Masters of the Universe, it cements the comic book hero as the new cornerstone in the impervious Marvel Studios’ current pantheon of superhero blockbusters.
Jane Foster: I saw you with the Avengers in New York!
Thor: I was defending the Earth!
Jane Foster: Is that your excuse?
Shackled by a desire to deliver a more promising outing this time around, new director and Game of Thrones veteran, Alan Taylor defies the odds by improving on the foundation built by Kenneth Branagh, conveying a buoyant and self-aware visual showpiece that stomps the previous Marvel line up (excluding Iron Man and Avengers). Paying attention to the cries of dedicated fans, The Dark World promises more Asgard and less Earth, subsequently qualifying it as a space-bound adventure where space ships, aliens, and glistening castles abound.
Most of what worked in the original works again in the sequel. We pick up the story shortly after 2012’s Avengers Assemble, with horned villain Loki (Tom Hiddleston) banished to a deep dungeon within Asgard’s prison. While the chiseled blonde Thor battles to reunite the Nine Realms, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) has set up post in London, studying anomalies and trying to find a way back to her knight in shining armour. It’s not long after that an ancient enemy (Malekith, an evil Dark Elf) arises to threaten the people of Earth and Asgard once again. Of course, all this leads to the return of the hammer heaving superhero, who finds himself facing off some of the galaxy’s most powerful baddies. But truth be told, they’re merely a distraction to the real fight; Thor’s battle to win Loki’s trust.
Loki: Look, why don’t you let me take over? I’m the best pilot in Asgard!
Thor: Yes, but out of the two of us, which can ACTUALLY fly?
While the first movie proved a bit of a bore, this time it moves at double speed. Thor: The Dark World is completely fun. Hemsworth has wholly embodied the character and Taylor provides sufficient flashes of humor (a lot of madcap one-liners from Kat Dennings) and action to keep audiences engaged and entertained. Whether this is done through a brief cameo by another superhero, a Stan Lee cameo or through the unconventional romance between Jane and Thor, it’s all handled with enough class to ensure a good time at the movies.
Thor: The Dark World is an enjoyable, emotionally engaging sequel that delivers on thrills, spectacle and laughs in equal measure. Highly recommended.
Make sure you stay until the screen is blank and the cinema lights turned on.