Portman reprises her role as Thor's love interest with more enthusiasm than she showed in the first film. It's her turn to be the fish out of water as she visits Thor's home world of Asgard. Jane may not have the hand-to-hand combat skills of the other women in Thor's life, but she proves that intelligence can be a powerful weapon.

In fact, the only mildly boring character is Eccleston’s villain, Malekith. The former Doctor Who is so covered in makeup his normally expressive face can barely move. It doesn't help that Malekith's native language (Dark Elvian?) is a flat, ugly tongue subtitled in deliberately bad spelling that only acts as a distraction ("Kursed"? Really?).

The story rarely drags, the special effects are impressive, and the many battle scenes are more fun than gruesome. While the colors on the screen tend to tones of gray, that only makes Thor's red cape stand out all the more. In addition to all the eye candy, Thor: The Dark World is often flat-out funny. Groan-worthy quips are paired with sight gags like the mighty Thor meekly hanging his hammer on a coat rack, and some jokes are set up early only to pay off hours later.

Pick up some popcorn and prepare to enjoy Thor: The Dark World for what it is: an old-fashioned, good vs. evil story with a couple of nifty plot twists, a lot of laughs, and a bunch of enjoyable characters. But go easy on the soft drinks—if you leave before the very end of the credits you'll miss the final moments.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  A man takes prescription drugs, pulling them out of a bag of various medications. Inhabitants of Asgard are shown celebrating a victory with what appears to be alcoholic beverages and reference is made to epic partying in times past.
  • Language/Profanity: Only a few instances: the s-word comes up a couple of times, once paired with “holy;” the d-word makes an appearance; a couple of “what the he**” and a character tells another “see you in hell.”
  • Sex/Nudity:  Thor is shown wearing a low-slung towel kind of thing, but only briefly. A couple of kissing scenes. A man is shown (on television) running around naked but his private parts are blurred; he’s later seen wearing a shirt and tighty-whities. A reference is made to a woman who sleeps around.
  • Violent/Frightening/Intense:  Thor and his people are warriors so there is a significant amount of fighting of the basic cartoon action hero kind, but it’s not too gruesome and relatively bloodless. There are a few icky spots involving stabbings, but the camera never dwells on these things too long. A character is infected with a dark force and is later levitated in a manner reminiscent of classic possession-themed films. Limbs are severed from various characters but again, blood loss is minimal.
  • Spiritual Themes: Odin clearly states "we are not gods" but the inhabitants of Asgard aren’t exactly mortal, either. More than one character sacrifices himself for the greater good.

Publication date: November 7, 2013