Thor: The Dark World (M)
THE TALE of Norse god Thor is Marvel's most mixed with its elements of medieval living and interplanetary reach. It's an ironic notion to think we're looking for some superior alien race, and Marvel have nothing to suggest that for much of it life is where Earthlings were 1500 years ago.
At the same time, Thor's story is most relatable with its focus on his relationship with brother Loki. The pair could not be more opposite (indeed on-screen representatives Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston are appearance-wise), representing good and evil while managing to keep a light head.
A parallel of good and evil is what this sequel first shows; while Thor is off fighting for peace within the nine realms Asgard rules over, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is still losing a two-year battle of heartbreak. Not even the bumbling charm of Richard (Chris O'Dowd) can improve her mindset.
Jane's work has led her to London, where her time as a singleton comes to an end after falling through a portal to an unknown realm and contracting the Aether. You'd be right thinking that's a bad thing - the Aether is a matter capable of destroying worlds and highly sought by exiled elf Malekith (Christopher Eccleston).
It's a triple whammy for Jane - she finds her love once more, gets to travel to Asgard and meets the parents (Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins). But the plan to be rid of a threat known previously to Thor only in childhood stories has the saviour in a real predicament.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe just keeps on giving with this fine continuation of the thread. The script from Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely is extremely entertaining, with plenty of unexpected twists and cracking humour delivered well by the cast. Everyone gets a go in contributing, and no one disappoints.
Importantly, the story continues the ongoing feud between brothers, founded from Loki's desire for the Asgardian throne and still fuelled by his view of supposed favouritism towards Thor. It's essentially Marvel's version of any given sibling rivalry, engrossing for its wave of positive and negative emotion as well as Loki's ability to keep everyone guessing.
Hiddleston has fun with his gleeful villain, creating the smallest bit of sympathy while still managing to exude a most evil interior. Alongside him, Hemsworth counters him nicely as Thor with his strong presence and good intentions.
The supporting cast all return, including a crazed Stellan Skarsgard, and new characters create unexpected sub-plots to add to the overall story twists.
As per usual within Marvel's realm, post-credit scenes give an insight of what's to come - and they won't disappoint. The first film delivered a good introduction, and now we learn Thor can withstand complex issues that concern Asgard and Earth. A great continuation not to be missed.
Rating: 4/5Now screening at Reading Cinemas