Two years after the events of the first film in the franchise (and after Avengers Assemble), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is still trying to subdue the uprisings in the nine realms caused by the destruction of the Bifrost, all while pining after Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who is holed up in London doing her science thing.
While Thor broods (with his top off for some of it - thank you, director) Jane heads out on a date - the first of many funny scenes in the film.
Because while Thor: The Dark World is trying to be a serious film (with limited success), where it really engaged the audience was with the comedy - the quick quips and moments like Thor hanging his hammer up on a coat rack had people in stitches, as did one scene between Thor and Loki (Tom Hiddleston), which I won’t spoil for you, but which had the second of two guest stars I completely wasn't expecting.
On the serious side, the interplay between Thor and his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) feels a bit clunky, and the bad guys (a race of evil guys led by an unrecognisable Christopher Ecclestone who want to destroy the nine realms) are just bad guys, with little depth. This is not a perfect superhero film, but there are some really strong moments. Hemsworth’s boldness and kinglike strutting shows that this is his film - he's definitely a king, whatever anyone else says.
And the quieter moments, in between all the huge set piece fighting scenes (seriously, the Avengers can save New York, but they leave Greenwich in THAT state?) are brilliant too. There is a heartbreaking but beautiful scene roughly a third of the way through found me struggling to get rid of whatever was causing my eye to water.
But really, how can I talk about Thor: The Dark World without talking a bit more about Loki?
He’s so, so bad, but so, so good. Just the right side of pantomime villain, Hiddleston knocks it out of the park with his portrayal of the confident, cocky, sarcastic yet broken Loki, and the more I saw him on screen, the bigger my crush on him grew. Loki is a bit of a scene stealer in Thor: The Dark World, but no one can begrudge him his screen time - he'll have you laughing, crying and sighing in despair.
There are other characters who provide great support - Jane is as sweet and tough as she was in the first film and Idris Elba just exudes power as Heimdall - and then there are those who are a little caricaturist - mainly I'm thinking of Darcy (Kat Dennings), whose role is to be the sidekick and whose every action you could see set up miles off.
Despite its faults, Thor: The Dark World is a solid superhero film, and is perfectly set up for a sequel, so there’s no chance of Marvel getting tired of superhero films soon. Let’s hope we don’t either.