After much success with Thor back in 2011, fans were expected to react as crazily as they did at the release of the sequel of the god of lightning’s adventurous journey (not to mention the eye candy featured along with it). Thor: The Dark World features more laughs, less Loki, and much more of the cookie-cutter, save-the-world-from-ultimate-destruction story line that Marvel is so notorious for.

The movie begins with some background information: thousands of years ago when The Dark Elves were at war with Asgard, fighting to veil the universe in darkness. They’re back now for a second shot, seeking the “aether”, a dark floating mass of something that looks somewhat like red Kool-aid (therefore not exactly threatening).

Loki
Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is held prisoner as punishment for bringing mass destruction to earth, as depicted in Marvel’s ‘Avengers’ released in 2012.

Loki (Tom Hiddleston), meanwhile, is stuck in his cage, left to contemplate more evil ways in which to trick his friends and enemies. It’s a given that he’ll be let out for a walk sooner or later, so it’s no surprise when he escapes later in the movie. Back on planet earth, Jane (Natalie Portman) is attempting to date and forget about the hunk of man she met two years ago, albeit unsuccessfully. Immediately viewers can guess that Jane will somehow become involved with the aether, and soon she does; along with her intern (Kat Dennings) and her intern’s intern Ian (Jonathan Howard) she travels to an old house in London and stumbles upon the portal to other realms. She’s sucked into one of the wormholes and her blood stream is infected with the evil red Kool-aid.

Enter Thor, saving the damsel from her distress and ridding the cloud of smoke. In the meantime, Malekith (leader of the dark elves, played by ex-Doctor Who actor Christopher Eccleston) has awoken from his nap and is seeking out the aether. Thor enlists the help of Loki to defeat him, and, knowing Loki’s reputation, we can already tell that this won’t end well.

Loki, as always, remains one of the primary draws to the Thor movie franchise. Not only is Hiddleston superb at playing the villain, but his character is enticing, as gods of mischief are expected to be. The scene between him and Thor, while displaying their brotherly distrust, served as a great method for comic relief; Loki uses his interesting power to change into several people Thor might “trust”, including Captain America, which made for a big laugh from the audience.

Once more, there’s nothing but positive feedback for actor Chris Hemsworth, as he takes on the role of Thor so strikingly well. His presence and voice are powerful and dominant, his character is likable, and he does a great job of leading the story forward.

Another one of the best things about Thor: TDW were the visuals: very Star Wars meets Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings. Producers really outdid themselves in depicting Asgard as a tall, shining city of golden buildings and giant bodies of water. Though I did forget, for a second, whether I was watching a Marvel film or Star Wars during Thor and Jane’s heart-to-heart on the balcony overlooking the beautiful Asgardian landscape.

The movie’s conclusion follows soon after Thor’s mother is killed protecting Jane–not a good enough reason in my opinion–and they hold a fairly sentimental funeral for her amidst a river of candles. After that the big fight begins, and Loki is wounded, the aether is destroyed, and Malekith is killed. Thor’s favorite brother, however, is revealed to be alive at the end of the movie, a pleasant outcome for many fans, including myself.

Thor: TDW proved to be a solid sequel to its 2011 predecessor. It isn’t a must-see, but it surely provided a nice follow-up with enough action to keep viewers interested, astounding special effects, and more funny moments than the last film. Sure, there wasn’t enough Loki for some fans’ tastes, and it was quite the same let’s-save-the-world relay from other movies, but it’s a solid superhero film made to spice up a boring night when you find some popcorn in the pantry. Score: 7/10.

Nataly Capote/A&E Editor

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