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Thor: The Dark World Review: Unpretentious Entertainment

We are thrusted once again into the world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and fully into the realm of Asgard with the sequel to 2011's Thor, a movie that is unashamed of it mash up of fantasy and sci-fi. Thousands of years ago, the Dark Elves, led by Malekith the Accursed (Christopher Eccleston) tried to bring the universe back to a state of darkness, with a weapon known as the Aether, during a rare alignment of all the Nine Realms. But Malekith is stopped by Bor (Tony Curran) and the armies of Asgard. After the events of The Avengers, Loki has been taken to the prisons of Asgard, only to avoid a death sentence by the grace of his mother, Frigga (Rene Russo) as Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and his friends try to bring peace to the Nine Realms. Soon, Thor is drawn back to Earth when Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) makes a discovery of a strange an anomaly in London. Thor takes Jane to Asgard where the realm the Dark Elves attack with the fabric of reality at stake. The filmmakers of Thor: The Dark World go for the approach that bigger is better. There is more action, larger stakes, lots of fantasy and plenty of battles. TV director Alan Taylor, best known for his work on Game of Thrones shows great confidence with transition to film. The action is bigger and a improvement upon the first movie, getting massive battles and fights and more regular. Audiences can easily geek out as it blends medieval weaponry, magic and laser battles. Thor: The Dark World goes the whole hog with its blend of sci-fi and fantasy, from a Lord of the Rings style opening, the gravity anomaly in London looking like something from a Doctor Who episode and the use of spaceships. It is a movie that is completely unashamed about its comic book origins and 10-year-old boys and the 10-year-old inside all of us will love it. The events on Earth and Asgard are juxtaposed by two different styles. The action in Asgard is treated seriously with the full embraced of the fantasy, whilst the Earth scenes are much more light hearted. Kat Dennings continues to be the comic relief and this time she has comedy with her own intern played by Jonathan Howard and Stellan Skarsgård's Dr Selvig is relegated to running around Stonehenge naked and being locked into mental hospital. Taylor does put his stamp all over Thor: The Dark World, making a visually darker movie by using dark cinematography and the art direction for Asgard is clearly influenced by Game of Thrones. Asgard has more of grounded medieval look in Thor: The Dark World then the grand look of Kenneth Branagh's film. Thor: The Dark World is a strong continuation of the Thor series and this is illustrated with the relationship between Thor and Loki. The characters have learned from each other and their experience and the relationship has evolved into one of banter between the brothers. Loki continues to be the most interesting villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and shows growth with his tragedy and pain. Former Doctor Who star Christopher Eccleston took on the villain and he does the job well, giving a professional performance as Malekith, He may not have the depth of Loki and his motivations are stock, but he does a great job. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and his large stature as Kurse gave Thor a big physical challenge that he needed and leads to a massive fight. Thor: The Dark World is far from deep or meaningful, but it's a fun ride and an entertaining fantasy adventure that raises improves on the action level and strong follow-up to the series.


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