Thor: The Dark World
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Christopher Eccleston
Director: Alan Taylor
It must be tough being a Norse god. Poor Thor has barely had a chance to lay down his big hammer after saving the world from his trickster brother Loki (in 2011’s Thor) and preventing the destruction of New York (Avengers Assemble), yet it looks like he’s going to have to come to the rescue again – this time to save Earth and eight other-worldly realms (including his home planet of Asgard) from a baddie called Malekith (Eccleston). On the plus side, it’s Thor’s human lady love Jane (Portman), who has discovered the nefarious ethereal goo that Malekith needs to become all-powerful, so at least they get to be reunited – even if the threat is so bad that Thor (Hemsworth) has to turn to traitorous Loki (Hiddleston) if he is to stand any chance of saving the day (again). After a slow start, this sequel delivers just what you want from a comic book adaptation – sly wit, superb effects and bucketloads of fisticuffs and action. The director Taylor (best known for helming episodes of Mad Men, Sex and the City and Game of Thrones), deftly packs it all in as the action flits from Asgard to London, and characters such as Thor’s dad Odin (Anthony Hopkins), the slightly batty scientist Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) and the all-seeing Heimdall (Idris Elba) make welcome returns. While Hemsworth smilingly supplies the muscle and the tongue in cheek, once again it’s Hiddleston who steals the show and his deliciously sarcastic performance is one of best reasons to check out this hugely enjoyable blockbuster. Fans should note that there are two scenes during the end credits to stay in your seat for – one part of the way through that introduces a new character into the Marvel universe, and another at the very end of the credit sequence.