The Norse god and popular Marvel super hero Thor is flying back onto the big screen. The second movie in Marvel's phase two lineup and sequel to the original Thor is bringing a lot more action to the big screen. It's also spending a lot more time in his homeland of Asgard over Earth.
Chris Hemsworth returns to the role, along with most of the cast from the original, including Thor's villainous adopted brother Loki, who perhaps has the most interesting part in the film. Thor: the Dark World sets us up with a bit of back story, showing us an attack on Asgard ages ago by a race known as the dark elves. We find out how their leader, Malekith, was defeated the first time around. The movie then quickly picks back up in a post-Avengers Asgard where Loki is being held captive for his crimes.
We then move on to Earth, where Thor's earthly girlfriend Jane Foster (played by Natalie Portman) continues to pine over the hero, while at the same time trying to move on with her life. It doesn't take long for her to get involved once again when Jane unknowingly brings a dangerous weapon back to Earth that could be used to overthrow Asgard, Earth and pretty much the rest of all existence. Malekith awakens along with his desire for power, as he comes after Foster.
The humor in Thor: the Dark World is much more abundant in this amped up sequel. Kat Dennings returns as Darcy, an intern working for Jane, and is responsible for many of the laughs. But Tom Hiddleston's Loki brings just as much humor to the plate. Hiddleston is probably the best part of the sequel. The chemistry between him and Hemsworth is nearly perfect. We also get to see Hiddleston's Loki redeem himself in a way after the chaos he started in The Avengers.
Thor: the Dark World also feels much more lived in. In the previous film, Asgard and Earth alike both felt incomplete for some reason. While aesthetically beautiful, Asgard was much too pristine and almost came off as a fully CG world. As for Earth, the New Mexico town they are in feels more like a ghost town.
While the movie largely succeeds in bringing the comic book action and laughs, it's not without flaws. The heroes are great in this movie, but the threat seemed to seriously be lacking. Mostly speaking in their foreign tongue, the dark elves seemed extremely one dimensional. This was most obvious with their leader. We know he wants to wipe out everyone and everything that gets in his way, the motivation just didn't seem to be there. It was sad to see a great actor like Chris Eccleston not get any real chances to shine as Malekith. While obviously a serious threat, we just don't get to know the character.
Overall, Thor: the Dark World is a worthy addition to the hugely successful Marvel movies. It may not be the best of the super hero stories, but it's easily a step above the first Thor.
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