November 8, 2013 -- This “Marvel Universe” offering is silly and over the top as well as being an entertaining romp through an epic adventure with the fate of the universe at stake.
Scientifically, all of this stuff about convergence, gravitational anomalies, people being instantly transported across thousands of light years of space, is all nonsense, but it is done with such flair and wit that it is very entertaining. The film is also paced very well, so that you never have time to think about the holes in the plot. It is all great fun.
The hunky Chris Hemsworth reprises his role as Thor. Natalie Portman returns to the role she created in the first Thor movie, Doctor Jane Foster, Thor's main squeeze. Also returning for an encore are a whole host of other actors who appeared in the first movie, including Loki (played with evil glee by Tom Hiddleston) Thor's evil brother. Loki, who was locked up in prison on Asgard after his attempt to conquer the earth in “The Avengers” is sprung from jail by Thor to help him save the universe.
One actor who gets to strut his stuff a bit more in this film is Idris Elba, who plays Heimdall, the stoic guardian of the Rainbow Bridge (actually it is an Einstein–Rosen bridge) on Asgard. There have been quibbles with having a black Norse god, but there can be no complaints about Elba's acting ability. He gets more screen time in this film, including his very own action scene. I like this guy. Another likeable character is the quirky and funny Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings, reprising her role from the first film). She also gets more screen time in this film.
A race of evil beings, called Dark Elves, thought to be extinct,led by Malekith (Christopher Eccleston, formerly “Doctor Who,” here made up to look sort of like Nosferatu) returns to capture some kind of dark energy stuff called Aether (sounds like ether). He plans to use the power of Aether to convert the universe, or at least a big chunk of it, into some kind of dark stuff he would like, but most others would not. In order to do this, the Aether energy must be applied at the precise moment of a rare conjunction of the nine realms and at a place that will tickle the Brits.
Dr. Eric Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård, reprising his role from “Thor” and “The Avengers”) has gone nuts, running naked at Stonehenge and yelling about the coming apocalypse. He, of course, turns out to be the only person who can figure out how to deal with the bad guys and the conjunction.
There are some rare sombre moments when characters die, but there are many more light touches in this film, which has a lot of jaunty energy to push it along. This is the kind of spectacle, carried off with panache, that Hollywood does supremely well. This may not turn out to be a blockbuster movie, but it ought to be. This film rates a B.
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