Thor: The Dark World is a big, loud live-action version of a cartoon version of a comic book story. The effects are good, the surprises are enjoyable and the comic relief is so random that some hardcore fanboys may get upset.
Chris Hemsworth is a better Thor this time than he was two-and-a-half years ago. He’s less stiff and more comfortable doing all those Thorian things he does.
As Thor jumps back and forth between his fantasy realm and our good ol’ ordinary modern Earth, bad guys who existed before time began (not sure how they managed that trick) plot to destroy Asgard. To defeat them, he calls upon his weasel brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), even though Thor knows he can’t really trust him.
Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), Thor’s earthly love, is a walking billboard for girlish pursuits of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), long thought to be the domain of males. Her chum Darcy is played by Kat Dennings, who keeps ‘em covered up in TTDW. You’ll have to watch “2 Broke Girls” to get that Kat fan service.
They come to the rescue of eccentric science guy Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) who they spot on TV being arrested for walking around naked at Stonehenge. He, like everyone in the cast, is waiting for the “convergence” when, supposedly, many things will hit the fan. He generates a good number of TTDW’s chuckles and sets up Stan Lee’s cameo line. Selvig also has a hand in the film’s climax.
After Thor fights these wicked and particularly ugly dark world rivals in parts unknown (actually Iceland, on whose stark terrain battles were filmed), they follow him to modern day London to be clobbered again with that mighty hammer.
Thor: The Dark World is not a perfect movie. But it has a near perfect vibe for this story and this Marvel superhero. It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway), don’t leave until the screen goes dark and the theater staff comes in to clean up.