Thor: The Dark World picks up where the 2012 movie The Avengers left off. In Asgard, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is imprisoned for his war crimes on Earth, while Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is busy fighting another battle to bring peace to the Nine Realms. 

Meanwhile, back in London, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is patiently waiting for Thor’s return, and of course, manages to get herself into some serious peril. What kind of peril? The kind that gets her teleported into another world, where her body is infected with a mysterious substance known as the Aether, an ancient weapon used by Odin’s (Anthony Hopkins) enemies that will eventually work to kill her.

Odin’s ancient enemy Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), who created the Aether, is awakened by its release. This leads to a series of battles between Thor, Loki and Malekith in a fight to save Jane’s life and ultimately save the universe. All the while, Thor wonders if Loki can truly be trusted, as an unlikely alliance between the two of them forms.

On its opening night, The Dark World grossed $31.5 million at the box office and earned an overall rating of 7.7/10 stars on IMDb and four out of five stars on Amazon. Those are some impressive stats, but other popular movie review websites have not given the movie such a glowing rating. Rotten Tomatoes, for example, gives The Dark World a rating of 65 percent which just barely gives the film a “Fresh” rating. 

User reviews and even professional reviews seem to lean strongly one way or the other about this movie. Tom Long of Detroit News griped, “Can we please cease and desist with movies where not just the fate of a person, or a family, or a city, or even a world but where THE FATE OF ALL EXISTENCE is at stake? Wouldn’t it be nice to see a superhero simply rescue a puppy sometime?” 

Similarly, Gary Walcott of Tri-City Herald quipped, “Thor’t of good. Decent effects but not that ab-thor-bing.”

On the other hand, Thor was a thrill for some critics. Kevin Carr of 7M Pictures said, “It’s the essence of what a popcorn comic book movie should be.” Mike McGranaghan of Aisle Seat gushed, “It recaptures that feeling of running home with a new four-color comic, opening the pages, and delighting in the out-of-this-world adventures detailed within.”

While the plot and characters are rightfully front-and-center, there is more to the film than just that. Special effects junkies will delight in the continuous action of flying hammers, spinning aircrafts and massive explosions.

If you see the film in 3-D, you can even more or less experience the debris flying right at your head while you munch on your popcorn from a safe distance. Invisible spaceships, wormholes and CGI monsters lurk just around the corner.

Music lovers will enjoy the action-packed soundtrack composed by Brian Tyler. With song titles like “Uprising,” “Battle Between Worlds” and “As the Hammer Falls,” you can expect plenty of battle music, complete with head-pounding drums and blasting minor chords.

So is Thor: The Dark World a must-see? It really depends on who you ask. If for no other reason, take reviewer Christopher Orr’s advice: “See it for the bad guy.” 

Please be advised that this film is rated PG-13 for adult language, suggestive content that includes a naked man running around a public tourist attraction, and violence, including hand-to-hand combat, sword-fighting and gun (and space bazooka) violence. Use discretion when deciding whether or not this movie is appropriate for your family. If you have young children, hire a sitter.

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