With Iron Man 3 having demonstrated that a post-Avengers movie focusing on “only” one superhero can still be a heck of a lot of fun, it now falls upon Thor: The Dark World to reinforce that point. While this blockbuster never quite reaches the giddy heights of the unexpectedly awesome Iron Man 3, it’s still a perfectly enjoyable exercise in superheroics, and much more fun to watch than Man of Steel.
Advance word promised more of Asgard this time around and, even more so than the first film, Thor: The Dark World qualifies as a space-bound adventure. There are awesome space ships, aliens (of sorts) and a number of different worlds.
The relationship between Thor and Natalie Portman’s Jane is re-engaged after having been ignored for The Avengers and it once again provides the emotional thrust of the movie.
The film suffers for the familiarity of its Macguffin – it is yet ANOTHER infinitely powerful weapon that could destroy the universe. But the guy who wants to wield it – a “dark elf” played by Christopher Eccleston – feels relatively original.
Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is often described as a “fan favourite”, but I, for one, am getting tired of his smirky shenanigans. Plus the film fails to come up with anything interesting for Thor’s band of merry men to do – they were one of the best parts of the first film.
Director Alan Taylor – a Games of Thrones veteran – doesn’t display Thor helmer Kenneth Branagh’s talent for creatively-staged action or tilty camera-work, but he steps up to the task of lending everything the requisite gravitas.
I felt a little action starved in the first half, but Thor: The Dark World perks up considerably in the final third. It may lack the surprise of the first film, but Marvel Studios is still making the best superhero movies around.