I confess that my initial response to news of Thor: The Dark World was something along the lines of another Thor movie? Really? An extraterrestrial Viking demigod with a magic hammer is not, after all, the most obvious subject for a mass-market film. Marvel Studios had already beaten the odds by introducing the character in the impressively guffaw-free Thor and then integrating him into the broader Marvel-verse in The Avengers. Why tempt fate?
But fate has been tempted, and remarkably it has once again been overcome. Though hardly a must-see, Thor: The Dark World is, if anything, better than the original: a looser, loopier hybrid of science fiction and fantasy powered by a pair of magnetic performances and leavened with a number of truly witty moments. Yes, the movie spends too much time in Asgard, which is (even by comic-book standards) an exceedingly silly place. But for fans of the superhero genre, the film is nonetheless a likable diversion.
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