Picture from Thor: The Dark World
Overall B

Picking up the storyline after Thor and Marvel's The Avengers, this adventure finds the hammer-wielding superhero (Chris Hemsworth) trying to save Earth, the Nine Realms and especially Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) from the evil Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), leader of Svartalfheim.

Violence C
Sexual Content B-
Profanity B
Substance Use B+

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content.

Thor: The Dark World

Earth is about to get hammered--again

The reboot of the Marvel Comic Avengers characters has been a successful ride for Marvel Studios as they introduce a younger generation to their old superheroes. With eight movies in the can, and at least two more in the production or planning stages, these up-dated Avengers are getting plenty of screen time.

After appearing in Thor and Marvel’s The Avengers, the hammer-wielding hero from the city of Asgard (played by Chris Hemsworth), has been fighting marauders and restoring peace to the Nine Realms of the universe. Just when Thor thinks things are under control, he discovers his love interest on Earth, Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), has gone missing. Disregarding the commands of his father (Anthony Hopkins), he flies to the blue/green planet just as Jane returns from a ride down a wormhole. From all appearances, she looks fine. But when a group of London police officers try to arrest her, Jane sends them flying with the thrust of her arm.

Worried about the mysterious power that has invaded Jane’s body, Thor rushes her back to Asgard just as the evil Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) and his Dark Elves invade the city. Thor soon discovers that Malekith is there to retrieve Aether, the powerful force that now resides within Jane. Once he gets his hands on this evil weapon, Malekith plans to destroy the entire universe, including Earth. And unfortunately, even Thor’s heavy-handed fighting tactics aren’t enough to overcome such a villain on his own. So Thor goes down to the dungeon to solicit help from his imprisoned brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Of course he makes this visit without his father’s knowledge.

Don’t expect any deep messages or character development in this script. Thor might not be as hefty or gruff as the Hulk, but he’s not going to win any “man of the year awards” either, unless it’s at a hammer-throwing contest. Rather this film is about action—lots and lots of loud action. With what seems like even more battle scenes than the first Thor movie, there is an endless parade of swords, arrows and flame-throwing guns. Although it all remains fairly bloodless, the screenplay depicts some graphic stabbings and dismemberment.

While the storyline may be missing, the visuals and special effects it offers are impressive. The movie also refuses to take itself too seriously (a nice diversion for those of us who are not into the details of the comic book characters). The inclusion of humor, along with relatively few profanities and only a brief depiction of a nude character with particular body parts carefully pixilated, means the violence will be the biggest concern for families looking for an entertainment option.

Thankfully Thor learned about humility in his first big screen venture. This time he’s just dealing with invaders, familial trust issues and the looming reality of assuming his father’s throne. But that’s still quite a load to carry, even for his bulging biceps.

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