Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Christopher Eccleston, Idris Elba, Kat Dennings, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgaard, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
At long last. Although it feels like a lifetime has passed since the God of Thunder's original outing, it's been a mere two years. Crazy that. I'm also pretty sure I'm one of about 17 people that feels that way, as 2011's Thor seems to be the most underrated adaptation taken on by the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far.
Although the first instalment managed to gross almost $450 million and achieve a 77% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, for some reason, the character still hasn't been able to resonate with viewers the way say, Iron Man, Hulk and maybe even Captain America have. But fear not Thor fans, as that's sure to change after one viewing of Thor: The Dark World.
The film picks up after the events of The Avengers, with Thor comfortably back home in Asgard, and Jane, Selvig and Darcy (Portman, Skarsgaard and Dennings respectively) taking residency in London. Doing their sciencey stuff or whatever. Our hero is brought back to our world after Jane is possessed by the Aether – an omniscient force sought after by the dark elf, Malekith (Ecclestone) who wants to inhabit the Aether for himself . Thor is forced to band with adopted brother and current outlaw Loki (Hiddelston) to free Jane, crush Malekith and keep Asgard in check. Easy.
Kenneth Brannagh's out and Game of Thrones director, Alan Taylor's in. So in. Taylor's used his days on Thrones to his full advantage, as Asgard has never gleamed with such prestige. The battle scenes do bite from Lord of the Rings in part, but that’s to be expected. Mother Frigga (Rene Russo), Jane and the other earthlings are utilised much more than in the previous instalment, while screenwriters Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have paid special attention to how much Loki is adored in the real world, without overdoing it.
Alas, The Dark World is not without it's problems, as a few pivotal plot points are almost blink-and-you'll-miss-it fast while The Warriors Three might as well have been left out completely. Oh, and it may be a bit too Star Wars-y for it's own good. Other than that, the film is a strong yet emotionally raw addition to the franchise, and features many more surprises and teasers of what the Marvel team have in store over the next couple of years.
Hopefully we'll get another sequel.