|Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) join forces|
"She no more belongs in Asgard than a goat does at a table" -- Odin, referring to Jane Foster
In this sequel to Thor, a malcontent named Malekith and his friends return to life and want to take over the universe -- or something like that. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) again disobeys his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), and temporarily joins forces with his brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to take on the bad guys, but Loki always has a trick up his sleeve. There's little point in discussing the [lack of] plot as the film boasts some impressive scenic design and special effects and little else. As with the first film, Hiddleston and Hopkins offer the best performances -- Hemsworth has his moments as well -- and some of the comparatively minor characters from Thor are also back. It's one thing to have girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman of Black Swan) on board, but why do we need Dr. Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard, who doesn't even seem to be acting) and especially the annoying, collagen-lipped Darcy (Kat Dennings) -- they add absolutely nothing to the movie except pad the running time. With all of the fascinating villains that have appeared in Thor comic books for the past several decades, Malekith -- who comes off like nothing so much as a Star Trek reject -- is the least interesting they could have come up with. Rene Russo makes a good impression as Thor's mother, Frigga, and again Hiddleston almost walks off with the movie as Loki. There are only a couple of effective action scenes, most of which are not handled with any real panache, and the photography is often cluttered and unattractive.
Verdict: Read a stack of old Thor comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby instead. **.