It's not too long after the events of Avengers Assemble, and we're back in Asgard. The multi-dimensional gateway, known as the Bifrost, has been repaired, which allows Thor (Chris Hemsworth) to return peace to the other worlds, and his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been imprisoned by his father King Odin (Anthony Hopkins) for his war-crimes on Earth. Meanwhile, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) has discovered some very odd anomalies in London, which in turn have awakened an ancient evil, headed by the malevolent Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), who plans on destroying all life in all worlds, returning the universe to nothing but infinite darkness.
Thus we are set up for something that doesn't so much feel like a comic book movie, but more so an all-out interplanetary war movie, almost a sci-fi take on Game Of Thrones. This feeling isn't accidental, as director Alan Taylor is a regular of the hit TV show, and brings a grittiness that was lacking in Kenneth Branagh's original, overly-shiny take on the story. Taylor's movie also brings a massive sense of scale, delivering a true sense that we are travelling between distant worlds, with epic action set-pieces to match.
As far as the cast go, it's going to be VERY difficult to see anyone else play Thor or Loki once Hemsworth and Hiddleston hang up their respective cloaks. Portman is once again underused, too often just a source of Damsel-In-Distress-Syndrome, while Eccleston doesn't make much of a mark as the movie's bad-guy. In fact the entire villainous plot feels empty, with the reasoning given as to why these creatures want to destroy everything amounting to little more than "Just 'cause".
But when the rest of the movie is as fun as The Dark World turns out to be, you forgive these faults. Great performances, some absolutely killer action sequences, a fantastic sense of humour, one killer cameo, two end credit scenes; this has everything a Marvel fan could wish for and more. On the strength of this, we can't wait until Thor re-assembles with the rest of his Avenger buddies!