Thor: The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World (12A)

It’s Asgard, folks, but not as we know it.

Scenes of Asgardian warriors being blasted with lasers and funky bazookas means that this sequel to 2011’s Thor has got precious little to do with Norse mythology.

As for the latest nemesis, a dark elf named Malekith, his involvement reeks of Tolkien, Star Trek’s emotionless Borg and even Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising. That one also featured Christopher Ecclestone, here unrecognisable as the vengeful elf who seeks the ultimate weapon.

That weapon is called the Aether, which resembles evil ectoplasm. Suffice to say it’s nasty stuff. Soon Odin is worried and Thor commits treason by going against his father’s wishes. What’s more in a reluctant alliance he recruits brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to his cause.

Visually stunning – the destruction of London’s Greenwich is a high point – Thor: The Dark World is a revenge thriller wrapped up inside the pages of a comic book.

It is also a romance with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) seeking out his mortal lady-love (Natalie Portman as Jane Foster) not knowing she has been infected by the Aether and will bring it to the home of the gods.

Director Alan (Game of Thrones) Taylor and his band of writers – they include Robert Rodat, of Saving Private Ryan fame – tie together multiple interlinked storylines and flash back and forth between Asgard, Earth and the realm of Malekith.

That they manage to keep it all coherent is praiseworthy enough, but there is sufficient drama, trauma and humour to mark this out as a worthy entry in the annals of Marvel movies.

Fans should stay on after the credits roll for not one but two tasters of further adventures to come.

Star rating: ****

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