Thor: The Dark World (3 1/2 out of 5)
Directed by: Alan Taylor (The Sopranos, Mad Men)
Written by: Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFreely, story by Robert Rodat and Don Payne
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman Tom Hiddleston, Renee Russo, and Anthony Hopkins
Marvel adds another piece of its puzzle, to both the Avengers Universe, and to the story of the God, Thor. Each film, has built on to the lore of where the story is about to go, with both mid, and final credits, except for Iron Man 3. Together these films do such a great job of creating a cannon of stories which all feed into one big Universe, but to me Thor has been the most consistent franchise.
Thor: The Dark World starts with a story told from Odin (Hopkins) about a battle his father fought with the dark elves. The dark elves lead by Malekith tried to send the universe into darkness using the Aether. The warriors from Asgard are successful in stopping the dark elves, and hide the Aether "in place no one would find it." Cut the the present day, and two years after Thor first showed up on Earth and entered Jane Foster's (Portman) life. Foster and her intern Darcy (Kat Dennings) discover an anomaly like when Thor first showed up; she is sucked into a wormhole and she disappears. Thor has brought peace to the 9 realms, and once he discovers Darcy's disappearance he goes to Earth to find her and brings her to Asgard, and the battle against Malekith begins again.
In briefly reading the negative reviews of this film, I have to say that critics/bloggers sometimes just need to let go. One person compared this to the recent release of Man of Steel, the difference is Man of Steel tried to take the Christopher Nolan approach, and become deeper more meaningful film experience. Man of Steel was not. One critic said "can't these movies be about someone saving a puppy and not the end of the Universe?" No they can't. Thor is the best example of live action comic book fun brought to life, the film franchise is the most consistent, increasing the magnitude of whats at stake, and getting into Asgard more than ever before.
This was Alan Taylor's first feature film; he is a regular and highly acclaimed television director for shows like The Sopranos, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, and Nurse Jackie. I think Dark World is a great accomplishment for him for two reasons. The first is the action is great, and he realizes the humor within the script. Two the film is better than the first, and even critics who knock this film agree. Dark World achieves something wonderful, the film is beyond entertaining, and does not try to be something other than a good comic book movie.
At the end of the day the humor is what saves this film, Chris Hemsworth hanging his hammer on a coat rack, or jovially laughing after he bests a creature to bring peace to the nine realms. Hemsworth was the perfect choice for Thor he is great. While Hemsworth is great as Thor, the real scene Stealer is Tom Hiddleston as Loki. Loki is locked away in Asgard, but released to help his brother defeat Malekith. Hiddleston brings even more light, fun, and entertainment to this film; he is the best part of this movie. There is one bit where he uses his mischievous cloaking to change both he and Thor into different characters, its one of the funniest moments, and great fodder.
At the end of the day Thor: The Dark World, is a fun action packed, romp filled with a great blend of humor, that makes the movie an enjoyable experience.