Thor: The Dark World
Directed by Alan Taylor (who will oversee the next Terminator film), Thor: The Dark World follows the continuing adventures of everyones favourite hammer-wielding Asgardian.
We last saw Thor (Chris Hemsworth) battling his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) on the streets of New York in Avengers Assemble. Now back in his home realm, he is facing a greater threat from an ancient race of elves who are pursuing a swirling special effect called the Aether that could plunge the universe into darkness.
When the safety of Asgard is compromised to the point that Odin (Anthony Hopkins) himself can no longer protect it, Thor must seek help from a far more unlikely source...
Back in London, his very long-distance girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is quickly brought back into the mix when portals to other dimensions mysteriously open. She is joined by Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) who has seemingly lost all of his scientific marbles.
Rene Russo and Idris Elba return as Frigga and Heimdall respectively. The IT Crowd's Chris O'Dowd also makes an appearance while optimistically trying to capture Jane's affections.
While the first half an hour feels quite slow, the rest of the film more than makes up for it. Highlights include Loki, who continues to be one of Marvel's greatest on-screen characters, and Kat Dennings (2 Broke Girls), who delivers some of the funniest lines as Jane's assistant Darcy. London itself proves a great source of entertainment too, as well as a refreshing change of environment. For anyone wondering why Thor doesn't simply call in the Avengers for assistance this time, he more than holds his own here as a one-man army.
The only real lowlight is the rather forgettable dark elves (with Christopher Eccleston as their leader Malekith). Feeling as generic as Loki's Chitauri army in Avengers Assemble, they serve primarily as a storyline catalyst rather than a point of interest. But with so much else going on, it doesn't really matter.
Packed with laugh-out-loud moments, Thor: The Dark World is Marvel's most comedic entry to date. The moments of levity are much needed too as the film also contains some of the series' darkest scenes. Surprisingly powerful, hugely entertaining (once it gets going) and with another standout performance from Hiddleston, Marvel can seemingly do no wrong.
Final note: In traditional Marvel fashion, be sure to stay to the very end of the credits.
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