After the destruction of the bridge between planets and the events of The Avengers, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has finally managed to restore peace to the Nine Worlds. However, a rare cosmic occurrence will once again bring him and his estranged lover Jane (Natalie Portman) together, while simultaneously awakening an ancient evil…
After the billion-dollar-plus franchise that The Avengers proved to be, it would be easy to imagine Marvel becoming complacent with their output. Thankfully this is not the case as the studio continues to prove that they’re the best at providing solid popcorn movie entertainment.
While the first Thor was modelled on a Shakespearean drama, this one is more comparable to a Tolkienian epic. Opening with an enormous battle sequence, we’re instantly reminded of the first scenes of in The Fellowship of the Ring, priming the audience for a movie of epic proportions. The latest installment in the Thor series is brought to us by Game of Thrones veteran Alan Taylor, and a similar swords 'n' sorcery vibe can certainly be felt here.
Like all Marvel movies, there are lots of references to the wider fictional universe. There is one cameo in particular that plays well for laughs that fans will adore. This really makes the whole affair a richer viewing experience for followers of the franchise, who will be constantly on the look out for Easter eggs pointing back to their favourite characters and clues to where the series is heading.
Thor: The Dark World is packed with stunning visuals, spectacular set pieces and brimming with genuine belly-clutching humour (one gag involving a coat hook left this reviewer chortling.) This is not a sour-faced affair that takes itself too seriously, a problem that plagued this summer’s Man of Steel—this film knows it’s silly and has fun with it.
There are weak points of course. Christopher Eccleston’s main baddie Malekith is as two-dimensional as they come, and it feels as if he is put here simply because every superhero movie needs a villain. He is spectacularly unmemorable and his motivations are head-shakingly clichéd; he could be a reject from an old Star Trek movie. Not to mention that the Dark Elf henchmen look like stormtrooper knock-offs, if a bit creepier.
Hemsworth is a charismatic lead and he inhabits the role of Thor, who actually manages to look like he could be a Norse god. Yet once again, Tom Hiddleston's Loki is the real star of the show. He oozes duplicitous menace as he treads a fine line between friend and foe.
The final showdown is definitely worth the wait, as our hero and villain traverse worlds in a mind-bending battle that amuses as much as it thrills.
Thor: The Dark World is a movie without pretension and, not unlike its titular hero, it’s a bold brainless wonder with a big heart.