‘Thor 2’ will please fans of superhero movies

By Christopher K. Conner

Chris Hemsworth returns to the role of Thor in the Marvel Studios film “Thor 2: The Dark World.”

Accepted back into Asgard, Thor’s task of returning peace to the nine realms is nearly complete. Still, he does not seem to be fully accepting his role as the heir apparent of his father’s throne. Odin (Anthony Hopkins) tries to guide Thor into finding a companion in Asgard, but Thor’s heart is elsewhere.

At night, Thor goes to visit Heimdall (Idris Elba) to check on the welfare of Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) back on Earth. Dr. Foster is investigating a gravity anomaly and some apparent trans-dimensional portals when she is drawn into one. There she encounters a strange force and is briefly absent from Heimdall’s sight. Her disappearance causes Thor to return to Earth to find out what happened.

Now possessing a powerful alien weapon inside her own body, Thor takes Dr. Foster to Asgard in the hopes of curing her. Encountering the force that seems to be defending her, Odin recognizes the threat, but believes the race that created the “Aether” is extinct.  Only after the last remaining Dark Elf ship appears in Asgard does Odin accept that the race his grandfather supposedly exterminated actually survived.

Lead by Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) the last of the Dark Elf race hopes to recover the Aether and use it to destroy the universe, returning it to the dark that spawned their race. Thor manages to drive Malekith off, but knows he will return. Odin resolves to fight to the last Asgardian to make sure Malekith does not succeed, but Thor has another plan. Odin prohibits Thor to enact his plan, thinking it too risky.

Thor enlists the help of other Asgardians, including his distrusted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to get Dr. Foster, and with her the Aether, to the dark world.  There, he hopes to defeat Malekith, who will be drawn to him by his desire to claim the Aether. When that plan fails, Thor and Dr. Foster find their way back to Earth and attempt to delay Malekith before he is able to use a confluence of realms to magnify the power of the Aether and destroy the universe.

Hemsworth’s take on the comic book version of Thor that lives in the Marvel multiverse is pretty close to the mark. He seems perfectly stiff and somewhat haughty, delivering lines like the act of speaking is beneath him. That character makes the occasional comedic line all the more effective. There were a number one-liners that earned a laugh, and the best were from Hemsworth.

There may be some question of how many different threats the Earth or even the universe can be endangered by, but the Marvel multiverse has a near endless supply. As plots go, the threat in “Thor 2” is a bit different. Usually the threat comes from a desire to control. In this case the villain Malekith sees the universe as a mistake. He was there before it was brought into existence and wants to return to the way things were.

It is hard to find any kind of redeeming quality in that kind of villain. Unlike Loki, who has a certain amount of charm and even his own kind of likability, Malekith does not generate a bit of sympathy. Malekith is therefore a very superficial sort of villain and that makes for a weaker struggle between Thor and Malekith.

For action fans, though, none of that will matter. There is a suitable amount of destruction and mayhem to please fans of action movies, and there is little character interaction that breaks the pace of the film. It feels like everything takes place in a couple days time, so the pace was fast enough to keep my six-year-old son interested throughout.

That alone leads me to believe most fans of superhero movies will find something to like in “Thor 2: The Dark World,” if only because of the fight scenes. How much the film has for the average moviegoer will vary, especially if they look for complicated plots and lots of character development.

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