31/10/2013 10:02 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

Thor: The Dark World - The Review

A bearded hero with a magical weapon on a planet of noble warriors clashes with an army of masked, laser-blasting invaders.

Thirty years ago Krull, a British mash-up of sub-Tolkien mythology and Star Wars-style effects was launched on an unsuspecting world.

Alas, the hero was rather bland, the cheap effects a bit rubbish (even for '83), and the likes of pre-EastendersTodd Carty, post-Carry On Bernard Bresslaw and a badly dubbed Lysette Anthony failed to make the project fly.

Fast forward to now, and in Thor: the Dark World, a bearded hero with a magical hammer on a planet of noble warriors clashes with an army of masked, laser-blasting invaders. Only this time Marvel (with a far greater budget admittedly) hits the blockbuster nail squarely on the head.

Chris Hemsworth is so perfectly cast as the eponymous Asgardian warrior it's hard to imagine anyone else filling those boots. The slightest smirk creates screen gold.

The god of thunder and charisma might be more on the money.


With a snazzy new Marvel logo, Thor 2 hits the ground running with an epic battle, and escalates from there.

Fans of the original should revel in the scale; director Alan Taylor exploits the skills learned on Game of Thrones to craft a 12A-friendly epic, hammering the various plot strands together to form a fun, frantic, dark, occasionally moving yarn.

Anthony Hopkins can be annoying when phoning in his performances, but here adds gravitas as Odin; 'One Broke Scientist' Kat Dennings delivers comic relief as Natalie Portman's sexy assistant Darcy; Idris Elba is given more screen time as gate keeper Heimdall, and the Warriors Three also return from film one.

As ever, Tom Hiddleston chews chunks of scenery as Loki; aside from Robert Downey Jnr's Tony Stark, few actors are as funny or mischievous in the Marvel universe.

(A Thor movie without Loki is as pointless as a Spider Man flick without Peter Parker).

Rounding out the regulars are Stellan Skargard as boffin Dr Erik Selvig, still a bit bonkers after being possessed in Avengers.

Christopher Eccleston is on good form as the malevolent big bad Malekith, spouting Elvish dialogue, while his ship is gloriously ominous and aptly hammer-like.

Assembling the multi-film plot strands from Thor and Assemble, this is huge fun.

There's little doubt Marvel have mastered the modern blockbuster, melding great heroes, villains and effects with the brio of the original Star Wars and JJ's Star Trek.

Okay, Thor 2.0 is not perfect. Portman looks gorgeous, but her character is too wholesome and sadly a bit dull. Maybe thunder-wielding Gods need partners that are safe and yawnsome.

I'd rather have seen Thor romance Darcy or Asgard squeeze Sif. (The latter's sub-plot sadly goes nowhere fast, but may pay off in Thor 3).

However, the third act is a superb, multi-dimensional masterpiece, zipping from one realm to the next, while thankfully avoiding the giant boss monster face-off that befell The Wolverine.

Seen at midnight in 3D D-Box, TTDW was a pre-Hallowe'en treat, ending with a couple of cracking credit cookies; the final one is rewarding and hilarious.

It made me delighted that I lived long enough to see the comic heroes of my youth given the big screen epics they deserve.

Roll on Captain America: Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, and let's hope we don't have to wait an age for the inevitable Dr Strange, Sub-Mariner and Silver Surfer movies.