Running Time: 1 hour 52 minutes
When we last saw Thor (Chris Hemsworth) he was returning a defeated Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to Asgard to pay for his crimes. In Thor: The Dark World we see that Thor has been dispatched by Odin (Anthony Hopkins) to travel the Nine Realms and restore peace and order after the chaos that had erupted after the destruction of the Bifrost. Fighting with his trusted warriors at his side, Thor seems to have quelled the last of the uprisings when his thoughts return to earth and the woman he was forced to leave behind. During Thor's absence Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) has devoted all of her efforts to finding him again when she accidentally discovers a rift between the realms and comes in contact with a very dangerous weapon of destruction, The Aether.
An enemy from Odin's past who was thought to be long dead has returned at last to wreak bloody vengeance on Asgard. The leader of the Dark Elves, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), was defeated by the Odin's army and watched as his world was consumed in the battle. He swore that one day he would recover The Aether and use it destroy not only Asgard, but every realm under Odin's protection. After Malekith's assault on Asgard results in the death of his mother, Thor realizes that he cannot defend his home and protect his beloved Jane from the Dark Elves without Loki's help.
I agree with most critics that Thor: The Dark World is a more fun and action-packed film than it's predecessor, but I didn't think that it had as much style as the original. While the story moves at a swift pace and has a lot of brilliant action sequences, there were times where the movie was flat. That aside, the positives easily outweigh the negatives. Chris Hemsworth is a fantastic Thor and he gets better every time he picks up the hammer; embodying Thor with a charmer's smirk and a cocksure bravado. I also like the expanded roles of Rene Russo as Thor's mother and Kat Dennings as Darcy because of the added warmth and humor that they give the movie.
I was torn a little on Malekith because while I liked the work that Eccleston does in the movie and I loved the design of the character, they didn't tell us much about him and his motivations are never more than murky (He craves darkness!), to say the least. Lastly, I get almost zero chemistry between Portman and Hemsworth, and when a man is willing to walk away from a throne and his home for the woman he loves, you want to feel a little more heat from the two of them. It is very telling that many of the people who saw the film were lobbying for Thor to leave Jane and get together with the Lady Sif (Jamie Alexander). With another Captain America and Avengers movie on the horizon, Thor: TheDark World comes across as an appetizer to the main course, but it is a delicious appetizer. B+
Thor: The Dark World was definitely more fun than its predecessor. The strength of the film rested on two elements, the first was the creativity of the action sequences, and the second was the outstanding performance by Hiddelston as Loki. Hiddelston made the Avenger's movie outstanding, and I was hoping that he would have a larger role in this film because his character is so deliciously wicked.
Where I thought the movie was lacking is the relationship of Portman and Hemsworth. I agree with Scott, these two have almost no chemistry. If they make a third Thor movie, this relationship needs to end, or at least the filmmakers need to replace Portman with a more dynamic actress.
As much fun as I had while watching the movie, I found Thor to be quite forgettable, because it only works on the surface. There is very little depth of feeling, and our central bad guys, the Dark Elves, are not developed enough to make me care about their motivations. B-