By Laurie Coker

Rating: B

Decent entertainment – my two word take on Thor: The Dark World. As with most Marvel adventures, the plot of Thor 2 matters far less than do the visual effects and its characters, and in that vein, the film shines. Chris Hemsworth reprises his role as the title character and Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Sir Anthony Hopkins, among others join him for this new installment. This charming, cast makes all too familiar action sequences tolerable, and their witty banter keeps us engaged.

Quipping little retorts, cute cameo appearances (I won’t spoil with details) and a thrill-packed final act make Thor: The Dark World worthy of a look. Director Alan Taylor, who helms this sequel, taking the wheel from Kenneth Branagh and Joss Wedon, stuns with his visually vivid rendering of Stan Lee’s comic hero and his world. It is Hemsworth, however, and his broad, sexy shoulders and cape clad, casual, yet authoritative air and the ever evilly charming Hiddleston who keep the film super entertaining and valiantly engaging.

Crisp dialogue penned by a plethora of screen writers and the stars’ pitch perfect delivery offer some hilarious moments. When the brothers, Thor and Loki, banter back and forth, I laughed out loud. Hiddleston is as at home being silly as he is sinister, and Hemsworth fills muscle-hugging armor with confidence worthy of a demigod. He shows the ladies what’s under all that leather and metal too. Woo hoo!

The film’s opening act lumbers a bit with Odin (Hopkins) narrating the back story of the wicked Dark Elves, who seek to return the universe to darkness. Their leader, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) looks to get his hands on an all-powerful, crimson concoction of dark energy called Aether that manages to find its way into Jane (Portman), taking Thor back to Earth and Jane back into his arms. Portman, too, provides loads of humor as does television’s Kat Denning (2 Broke Girls), although I couldn’t get past the fact that her two personas (Max Black and Darcy Lewis) are pretty much interchangeable.  Darcy’s as snarky as Max and now has her own sub-intern to boss around.

Delightful moments between Portman and Hemsworth and a snippet involving Jane’s dip into dating during Thor’s two-year absence garner laughs. Ultimately, most of this sequel’s more enjoyable moments come for the cast chemistry than it does from super adventures and battling the baddies. Jane’s scientific mentor Erik (Stellan Skarsgard), suffering manic PTSD, pulls off some crazy antics that having him sporting his tighty-whities and a wildly disheveled look.

For followers of the Marvel series, I don’t think Thor: The Dark World will disappoint. With its Anglo-Saxon war epic feel, sci-fi gadgetry and space crafts and a hero to rally literature’s Beowulf, it will indeed please a wide audience.  I needed, fun, mindless entertainment and I got it. I am gladly giving it a B.


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