Thor: The Dark World (2013) Directed by Alan Taylor. Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston. IMDB says: “Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.”

Thor: The Dark World is a good sequel, managing to surpass the first Thor film. Maybe it’s because this one isn’t bogged down by an origin story or maybe it’s because the filmmakers have found a solid footing with Thor after The Avengers, but this Thor film felt like it had more to offer. The story seemed more cohesive and the characters had more dimension.

Thor must fight a race of Dark Elves who ruled the universe thousands of years ago. These creatures were originally prevented from restoring the world to darkness by Thor’s grandfather. The enemy’s story is a little generic, but the Dark Elves look striking enough to be memorable. The uniforms of the soldier Elves are definitely freaky. They are after the Aether, a power source that happens to come into contact with Jane Foster and is absorbed into her body. Thor takes her to Asgard to protect her and figure out how to keep it away from the Dark Elves who have been reawakened by the Aether’s activity.

This was a good time to release a sequel to Thor because of Loki’s position after The Avengers. Perhaps it is because I have watched The Avengers a couple times since it left theaters, but Loki’s attack on Earth is still fresh in my mind. His snark also fills a void left by Thor’s serious attitude that was originally relieved by some of the other Avengers. This puts him in a good spot as someone you root for during the movie despite his questionable motives, adding a lot of depth to the story.

Again, the environments that were created for the film are magnificent. The scenery and the lore of the Thor really add a lot to the movie overall. Also, Anthony Hopkins seems more invested in his role this time around. Not to say he didn’t act well in the first film, he just seems more like his old self. After not seeing Natalie Portman in any movies since the first Thor it was nice just to watch her in something again. Her and Thor don’t have the most solid romantic base, but her and Hemsworth make it work. The film gives her a chance to put her scientist skills to work in the finale, so it’s not just Thor saving the world on his own.

Thor: The Dark World is one of my favorite Marvel movies. If you have enjoyed any of the other movies by the studio, I would recommend giving the new Thor a watch. It is a fun theater film and would’ve been right at home during the summer line up if Iron Man 3 hadn’t taken that spot.