It’s hammerin’ time

The hammer of Thor gains momentum, charm and tolerability

The colourful domain known as the Marvel Universe is threatened with a singularly crepuscular gloom in Thor: The Dark World. In one of those convoluted plots peculiar to fantasy movies, the “nine realms” (including Earth and Asgard) are due for their once-every-5,000-years convergence. This makes them vulnerable to the dark energy of The Aether, which can destroy the universe by turning it into utter darkness. And, wouldn’t you know, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), the villain capable of engineering this feat, has just been awakened … and he’s in a pissy mood.

Luckily for us, hammer-hurling Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is on the case. Once again he is united with his Earthly ladylove, Jane (Natalie Portman), who – wouldn’t you know it? – just happens to be an astrophysicist with the skills and gear necessary to help gum up the diabolical plans of Malekith and his army of Dark Elves. So Thor defies Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and risks banishment to pursue a course that may be the only hope to save our universe. (Which, it must be said, has been needing a lot of saving ever since all these Marvel-ous movies have been clogging up the cineplex.)

Although Dark initially staggers from one battle to the next with a lack of imagination, it gradually builds up some of the comedic energy and charm that made the original movie tolerable fun. The returning cast add considerably to the entertainment levels. The CGI work is decent enough to render plausible all sorts of strange battles and alternate worlds. And fans in the audience cheered lustily at the end when a sequel became clearly inevitable.

Rating: ★★1/2

(Thor: The Dark World continues at the Odeon, SilverCity, Empire Uni 4, & Westshore).

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