So the Norse gods are still right in the middle of fighting everybody all the time, Thor is still “all muscly”, as Darcy (Kat Dennings) rightly points out, and Asgard still looks like a giant pipe organ, so all’s right with the world(s), basically. And pretty much the whole gang is back from the first Thor, and / or The Avengers, which is always nice to see in a sequel.
So the Norse gods are still right in the middle of fighting everybody all the time, Thor is still “all muscly”, as Darcy (Kat Dennings) rightly points out, and Asgard still looks like a giant pipe organ, so all’s right with the world(s), basically. And pretty much the whole gang is back from the first Thor, and / or The Avengers, which is always nice to see in a sequel. There was even an extra bonus (at least for me) in the addition of Zachary Levi (Tangled) as swashbuckler Fandral, though he’s almost unrecognizable under all that blond hair.
And Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is still in trouble, too, but that’s hardly a surprise. He’s rotting in an Asgardian prison cell while his “brainless oaf” of a brother, Thor (Chris Hemsworth, Red Dawn), is being groomed to take over as king from Odin (Anthony Hopkins, Red 2). But Thor, of course, is still pining for the mortal Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who’s probably still a terrible driver but at least doesn’t get the chance to run Thor over yet again.
Meanwhile, Dr. Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) has gotten weirder, or at least I don’t recall him being quite so, erm, quirky last movie. He seems to think wearing pants somehow interferes with his thought processes. He’s got a lot to think about, since he’s somehow discovered that there’s a conjunction of the nine worlds approaching. These are not nine planets, mind you, but the nine worlds of Norse mythology, so I’m not sure exactly how he figured this out, but just go with it.
A dark elf named Malekith (Christopher Eccleston, even less recognizable under all that pallor) is also very aware of this conjunction, and hopes to use it to unleash a doomsday weapon called the Aether that will send the universe back into primordial darkness. I guess you can’t blame him; he must get the most awful sunburn in about two minutes. But the Aether isn’t where he left it 5,000 years ago, as it’s latched onto a certain mortal woman. Guess who that might be?
They finally delve a little into the love triangle of Thor, Jane, and Sif (Jaimie Alexander, The Last Stand), but aside from that there’s a little too much going on for any of that character development stuff. And while it certainly has its funny moments (Thor politely hanging up his hammer when entering a mortal home; any scene where Darcy has a line), it seems like they didn’t have room for as much fun as last time, either. It ends up feeling like a Star Trek movie at times, with dark elves instead of Romulans, and at the end turns into an episode of Doctor Who, with our heroes racing around London using cobbled-together technology to defeat a foe with far superior resources. Christopher Eccleston (aka the Ninth Doctor) must have felt right at home. But it never quite felt like a Thor movie overall, and that’s kind of a shame.
But it gets a respectable three and a half out of five. Idris Elba (Pacific Rim) as Heimdall is still terribly underused, but that’s nearly always true for the poor guy. Basically, the whole film simply fell victim to the usual sequel syndrome, though I’ve seen much worse cases. And by the way, don’t leave before the credits are done. Just don’t. The two other groups of people who stayed along with me (only two!) started chatting as they were leaving and referred to all those who left after the first, mid-credits teaser scene as “amateurs”. So be a movie professional like me (*ahem*) and catch both teaser scenes, okay?