Thor: The Dark World is the second Thor film based on the titular Marvel Comics hero.
Natalie Portman plays Thor's love interest Jane Foster.
Chris Hemsworth as protagonist Thor in the sequel.
Jamie Alexander as Sif in Thor.
A still from Thor: The Dark World.
Lying in wait for battle?
Tom Hiddleston as the deviant brother Loki.
Thor: The Dark World
Direction: Alan Taylor
Actors: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman
Rating: *** 1/2
In the Marvel movie-verse, it is hammer time again. In other words, the comic-book icon is once more called on to save the cosmos from the forces of darkness. In the aftermath of his introductory big-screen adventure (Thor, 2011) and the subsequent superhero smack-down (Avengers Assemble, 2012), the titular thunder god (Hemsworth, one of the few charismatic actors of the current generation) embarks on his most perilous mission yet.
A terrifying new foe led by an accursed warrior (Christopher Eccleston) is determined to wreak vengeance on the protagonist’s heavenly abode. Reunited with his earth-bound love interest (Portman) and forging a tenuous alliance with his antagonistic adoptive brother (Tom Hiddleston), Thor strives to stave off a trans-dimensional Armageddon.
Taking over the reins from Kenneth Branagh who helmed the first stand-alone film, incoming director Alan Taylor whose experience includes several episodes of the TV show, Game of Thrones, cannily blends mythic drama with human emotion.
The smash-happy action is complemented by wondrous visuals and techno-chic production values. The climactic London-set battle royale, with Thor’s magic mallet ever primed for slinging, holds the viewer in a vice-like grip.
To his credit, Taylor also injects a large dose of humour into the proceedings. Besides spirited supporting performances by old timers Anthony Hopkins and Rene Russo as Thor’s parental deities, there are a couple of obligatory post-credits surprises (no, we’re not revealing them, so do stick around till the very end).
A $200 million-plus son-et-lumiere spectacle, Thor is recommended for those with a taste for a decidedly funny fantasy.