Disney and Marvel’s big screen comic adventures continue with Thor: The Dark World which, like Iron Man 3, takes place after the events of Avengers Assemble.
Busy fighting to restore order to the Nine Realms, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) unexpectedly runs into girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) who has attracted the attention of Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), the leader of an ancient enemy of Asgard.
Pursuing Thor and Jane first to Asgard and then to Earth, Malekith is determined to retrieve a powerful weapon that Jane has managed to accidentally plunder so that he can secure dominion over all creation.
While I enjoyed much about the original 2011 Thor, I’ve always rated it as the least good of the first wave of Marvel films – in part because too much of the screen time was spent reconciling Norse mythology with the comics’ own continuity.
With Thor now firmly established this follow-up is free to get on with telling the story and does so with all the trademark humour that audiences have come to expect from the Marvel saga.
In fact, despite the title, this film is possibly more humorous and light-hearted than any other in the franchise to date and has plenty of gags and some nice character moments which allow audiences to really warm to both Thor and Jane.
Tom Hiddleston is back as Loki, Thor’s troublesome and troubled brother but after dominating Thor and Avengers Assemble the sibling rivalry is dialled down and their story advances to a new stage.
Eccleston’s Malekith is a more menacing, less playful foe than Loki – confronted by a threat to whom he has no family connection Thor is able to be ruthless in his pursuit and defeat of his adversary.
The film’s biggest treat is the extensive use of London throughout the film – especially Greenwich’s historical Royal Navy College which features in the explosive climax.
At the film’s press conference, Marvel boss Kevin Feige said the decision to shoot in London was directly down to the UK Government’s tax credit system for films and TV shows.
Based on the stylish, sweeping and heroic depiction of the city, the scheme is worth every penny and long may it continue to bring big tent pole movies such as this to our shores.
Packed with two hours of thrills, gags and excitement, Thor: The Dark World is in cinemas from October 30th.