Continuing on from the Huge success of 2011's 'Thor' 'Thor: The Dark World' advances the story of the Marvel Comics superhero Thor (played with muscular brio by Chris Hemsworth) created by the legendary Stan Lee (co-creator of Spider-Man the Hulk the Fantastic Four Iron Man X-Men and more) a super-powerful alien from the planet Asgard and wielder of the mythical hammer Mjolnir. Set after the events of 'Thor' and 'The Avengers' Thor is tasked with restoring order to the universe in the face of a new threat: the Malekith an ancient and vengeful race hell-bent... on dragging the cosmos into a new darkness. Thor must endure his most daunting and terrifying task so far to defeat this new and cataclysmic threat. In order to do so he must reunite with his duplicitous brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) devilish trickster-god and antagonist of the first film. With an all-star cast that also includes Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgård Idris Elba as well as Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins as Thor's father Odin don't miss out on getting a copy of this marvellous blockbuster that is guaranteed to be a hit for the entire family! [show more]
It's good, but it's no "Avengers".
That's the general sense you get after watching "Thor: The Dark World", a sequel both to the original Thor movie and the subsequent (and wildly-popular and critically-acclaimed) Avengers crossover film that manages to be perfectly entertaining in its own right, while simultaneously never quite hitting the heights of Marvel's most successful movie so far. Having said that, it does manage to improve on the original Thor film in a number of ways, and is still well worth a look for superhero fans, or those who just want a bit of Friday-night escapism.
The story reunites Norse god Thor (Chris Hemsworth) with his villainous half-brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), as well as his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and his Earth-bound love interest Jane Foster (Natalie Portman, who was mysteriously absent from the Avengers movie). It gets us up to speed with the current status quo of the characters quite quickly - Loki is imprisoned in the otherworldly realm of Asgard due to his actions in the Avengers movie, while Thor and Jane are still separated - before throwing us into an all-new adventure involving evil Elves, cosmic dark-magic as old as time, and teleporting cans of Vimto (yes, really).
It's the usual fantasy/sci-fi mashup that we've come to expect from the Marvel movies, and even if the plot is a bit nonsensical and never really manages to provide much motivation for the evil machinations of lead-evil-Elf Malekith (played by an unrecognisable Christopher Eccleston, buried in prosthetics and makeup), there's always enough in the way of large-scale action and witty one-liners that we never have a chance to get bored.
Even if the overarching story is a bit silly and vaguely-defined, director Alan Taylor does some good work in the smaller details of the movie. Notably, he makes the Norse Gods' home realm of Asgard feel a bit dirtier and more lived-in than the gleaming, clean architecture of the original Thor movie, and he also shows us a lot more of the normal day-to-day moments in Asgard that help to make it feel like a real place, rather than just a fantastical alternate dimension. He also gives a bit more attention to supporting players like cosmic gatekeeper Heimdall (Idris Elba), who was barely a presence in the first movie but benefits from a beefed-up role here, including a great action scene in which he single-handedly takes on a Star-Wars-style spaceship with his bare hands.
Taylor also demonstrates good instincts for comedy, always knowing just how far to push some of the film's more light-hearted moments (like Thor having trouble navigating the London Underground, or Jane Foster's ex-mentor Dr Selvig running around in a state of half-naked madness for most of the movie) without undermining the sincerity of the main story. There's also a fantastic extended cameo from Chris O'Dowd (of The IT Crowd) as a potential 'normal' boyfriend for Jane - his scenes were some of the funniest in the movie, and I found myself wishing he could have stuck around for longer.
But while the mixture of fantasy and reality seems a bit more confident and assured here than in the original "Thor", and there are a couple of moments of decent drama (mostly involving Loki) that help to add a slightly serious edge to the story, there's still no getting away from the fact that - without a decent villain or a truly well-defined threat - this feels like a bit of an empty and hollow story compared to the grandeur of the Avengers movie. Perhaps it's unfair to compare the two directly - this is only a solo Thor movie, after all, not the big superhero crossover event that the Avengers was - but this second Thor film doesn't help matters by featuring a similar structure, particularly when it comes to the climax involving a massive alien attack on a well-known city (this time it's London, rather than New York, that's under threat).
So if you come to this after watching the Avengers movie and hoping for more of the same, you're probably going to be disappointed. But on its own terms - as a fun, silly, imaginative fantasy-action-adventure movie with a decent cast and some nice aesthetic choices - there's enough to keep you entertained here, at least until Avengers 2 rolls around.
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Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 (Europe) or region Free DVD Player in order to play. Action adventure sequel which sees Chris Hemsworth reprise his role as the Marvel Comics superhero Thor, based on the mythical Norse God of Thunder. After the events of 'Marvel Avengers Assemble' (2012), Earth and the Nine Realms come under attack from the powerful Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) and his age-old army that have existed since even before the creation of the universe. With the enemy proving near impossible to defeat, Thor approaches his adoptive brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) for help, despite his villainous past. Meanwhile, the hero becomes reacquainted with the woman he loves, astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), and takes her to Asgard in an attempt to protect her from harm. The cast also includes Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgård, Kat Dennings and Zachary Levi.
Action adventure sequel which sees Chris Hemsworth reprise his role as the Marvel Comics superhero Thor, based on the mythical Norse God of Thunder. After the events of 'Marvel Avengers Assemble' (2012), Earth and the Nine Realms come under attack from the powerful Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) and his age-old army that have existed since even before the creation of the universe. With the enemy proving near impossible to defeat, Thor approaches his adoptive brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) for help, despite his villainous past. Meanwhile, the hero becomes reacquainted with the woman he loves, astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), and takes her to Asgard in an attempt to protect her from harm. The cast also includes Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgård, Kat Dennings and Zachary Levi.