Thor: The Dark World reunites the original cast. Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Rene Russo and others do Norse gods and mortals battling dark elves wanting to return the universe to darkness.
The story picks things up two years after Thor falls in love with Jane Foster. She's alternately broken-hearted and then angry he hasn't returned to Earth to see her. Thor has been busy bringing peace to the nine-realms, which just happen to now be converging into perfect alignment.
That perfect alignment means the dark elves can unleash a substance called Aether that will destroy light, all life and the hated Norse gods. The elves have a perfect plan until Jane accidentally steps through a portal to one of the nine realms and the aether enters her.
Jane ends up in Asgard and the dark elves attack. They want her and the aether. To save Jane, Thor has to defy Odin and ask his enemy brother Loki to help defeat the elves.
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The franchise has changed director and writers. Six writers -- two for the story and three for the screenplay -- and director Alan Taylor whose experience is directing TV stuff like Game of Thrones take over. He's competent. The effects -- as with all the Marvel comic flicks -- are terrific. Asgard is stunning, and you buy the hunky god with a hammer premise.
The story is where Thor suffers. It is poorly conceived and written, and combines Norse god gobbledygook with Star Wars. The mixture of modern spaceships and technology with gods of antiquity doesn't really work. And it doesn't work to the point that the actors seem bored. The only standout is Hiddleston, whose Loki at least seems to be having some fun.
Bad puns instantly popped to mind as the credits end, and the final important outtake is shown. To hammer it home, Thor is thort of good but the plot really isn't that ab-thor-bing.
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Director: Alan Taylor
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Kat Jennings, Christopher Eccleston, Jaimie Alexander, Isris Elba, Stellan Skarsgard, Rene Russo
Mr. Movie rating: 3 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes and violence. It's playing at Regal's Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.